Teams certainly tried some different things in the ACC this year, though admittedly, many of those experiments (Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina) just didn’t work. Instead, we’ll focus on the positive here, highlighting the conference teams that sported the best looks in 2012.
10. Duke Blue Devils Home Jersey (Black Pants, Black Helmet): I might be in the minority, but when Duke unveiled its various helmet combinations this year, I actually commended the addition of black to the color scheme. For a school looking for an identity, that “dark side” ended up being a perfect fit and it looked slick on the field, too.
9. Miami Hurricanes Road Jersey (Orange Pants): Admittedly, I’m more partial to the color orange than most, but Miami‘s orange and green — as long as it’s done as subtly as it is here — works extremely well. While not the classic looks from the early 00s or 80s, it’s undeniably “the U” you’re seeing on the field.
8. Pittsburgh Panthers Home Jersey (Gold Pants): More often than not, I’m of the opinion that the most basic uniforms can also be the best ones. Pitt, more than most, captures this concept perfectly with their traditional blue and gold, despite the Pitt Script‘s extended absence from the uniform set.
7. Boston College Eagles Home Jersey (Gold Pants): BC might have lost some of its luster on the field these last few years, but that doesn’t mean the uniforms fall short. Despite a few logo iterations for the team, this set’s been a constant, and it hasn’t lost a step through all that time.
6. Florida State Seminoles Road Jersey (Gold Pants): FSU’s uniform set gives us everything — unique displays of pride, a tolerable novelty font and a basic two-color scheme. Like BC’s set, Florida State‘s maroon-and-gold shines on the field, with touches like tribal markings on the neckline setting it apart.
5. Syracuse Orange Home Jersey (Orange Pants): I gave similarly positive feedback last year, but it’s worth repeating: After a decade of bouncing through uniform styles, these last few years have settled on a no-frills, yet impressive scheme. Harkening back to the glory days of Donovan McNabb, Syracuse‘s set buries the Greg Robinson days for good.
4. Virginia Tech Hokies Home Jersey (White Pants): This look is evaluated even higher when you consider the awful looks Virginia Tech trotted out on the field this year. Foghorn Leghorn, bird tracks and camouflage all ended up being black-eyes on the resume of a school that had to this point established itself as one of the country’s better looking groups (three of top four sets last season).
3. Florida State Seminoles Home Jersey (Gold Pants): Same deal as the road jersey evaluation you saw at no. 6 — the Florida State set is a timeless one, conveying a pretty imposing attitude and harkening back to the school’s glory days in the 1990s. I prefer home jerseys, admittedly, though I know I’m not alone there.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels Road Jersey (Navy Pants): The Heels were dead-set on trotting out horrendous uniform combinations this season. And while their red, white & blue helmets supported a good cause, it’s hard to say they looked all that great. This set — a perfect display of North Carolina‘s signature color scheme — is one of the ACC’s best though, despite all the other, lesser options they wore.
1. Clemson Tigers Home Jersey (White Pants): Orange. Just accept it. Clemson‘s stark contrast between their primary color and white pants creates a great-looking set, highlighted further by the double-orange piping down the side. The color orange, though brash, may not be all that rare in the ACC (especially next year), but it’s worth commending when teams pull it off extremely well.