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Which College Football Playoff Team is Your Sun Belt Team? Georgia State Is Oregon

It's the uniforms, man.

Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Welcome to the depths of the off season. As of this writing, we are a full 129 days past signing day but still a long 82 days before kick-off. In this desolate waste land of football news, you've got to get creative if you're not just going to stare down a countdown clock for few more months. So when I was asked if I'd be interested in comparing Georgia State to one of the playoff teams I thought, "Awesome, why not?"

Sure, But In What Way(s)?

First thing was to decide which playoff team most resembles GSU and in what way. My first thought was to compare and contrast program histories: with just under four centuries of football between the four of them, it sounded like a decent enough place to start. But it turned into a dead end quickly. None of the playoff teams had had a particularly rough go of it their first few years in existence, and cherry picking a few down years to show similarity with GSU's short history just felt lazy.

Maybe the current roster and staff would provide more fertile grounds for comparison? Close, but not there yet: take, for example, coaches Trent Miles and Urban Meyer. By now you know that Meyer was tasked with righting the ship at tOSU after the Buckeyes posted their worst season in over a decade. And if we're being totally honest here, let's state things bluntly: with the history and resources available at Ohio State, Meyer's job was more of a slight course correction than the full-on rebuild that Miles has undertaken. Sure it's a similarity, but it's not enough to justify declaring OSU as Georgia State's playoff team doppelgänger.

Thinking Outside Of The Proverbial Box

With no good parallels between histories or personnel, it's time to start thinking outside the box. That's when it hits me: uniforms. Three of the playoff teams (Alabama, Ohio State, and FSU) are very conservative in their jersey selection, wearing the same uniforms their grandparents would have taken the field in. And then there's Oregon; with the advantage of counting Nike Founder Phil Knight as an alumnus, OU has set the standard for inventive uniforms. A standard State is trying to follow.

From Adidas To Nike

GSU football first took the field rocking Adidas gear. The design was not complex: blue tops and white bottoms for home games, and white tops and bottoms for away games, and two stripes along the sleeve and the ever-present blue helmets with white face mask. The helmets were emblazoned with a white GSU underlined in red. The jerseys bore the word panthers in all caps across the chest. It was a solid yet simple look worn with little variation.

State began by making a few small changes the first year under Nike. A small dose of the changes to come

Then came Nike athletic. Since cutting ties with Adidas in 2011, the Panthers have gradually started pushing the envelope with the team's Game Day attire. The changes were subtle during Nike's first year, with the choice of font being the only noticeable change. However, in its second year as the school sponsor, Nike disposed of the "PANTHERS" written across the front of the jersey in favor of "Georgia State" along with adding the Nike combat designs around the collar. Next to go were the two stripes on the jersey sleeves that were replaced with stitched numbers and a blue fringe at the bottom of the sleeve.


Heading for the coin toss against Alabama in the redesigned jerseys.

In 2013, black was introduced as an alternate color; naturally, the team's "cool" factor went up as a result because at home and away, the black pants just look good. And the black fringes and number outlines give a sharp look to the blue and white color scheme. The much debated anthracite helmets were also added, completing State's journey to the darkside.

The helmet logos didn't escape the design overhaul, as three new designs have come out. There's the anthracite with the blue and white Panther head logo on either side. A second anthracite helmet featuring the word "Panthers" spelled out in white cursive writing. Personally, I would love to see a Boise State style blue panther head logo outlined on the anthracite helmet but as yet, the marketing department hasn't asked for my opinion. (The day is coming, I'm sure.) Then, there's the new slanted ‘GSU' design sans the red underline. It is worn on the classic blue helmets either in white writing or in blue writing shadowed by black.

Variety Will Arrive In Due TIme

Though State has yet to try alternate patterns, such as Oregon's diamond plate metal print or shoulder wings and feathers, give it time. After all, the designs for this fall haven't debuted yet.

To those who are leery of this kind of wardrobe flexibility, I say what's the harm? We have a program in its infancy that isn't yet handcuffed to one uniform design. It's an opportunity to experiment and see what works and what feels right representing the school. Sometimes, what represents the school best isn't one unchanging uniform, but a smorgasbord of different designs and color combos. That's certainly been the case for Oregon, and who knows, it may continue to be the case for GSU.

What do you think, Panthers fans? Agree/disagree? Let us know in the comments below and vote in our poll. Read the rest of this series here.