2017 Uniformity – Week 9: Sparky re-joins ASU football for Homecoming

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The Sun Devils come home after recording a road win to face USC.

A Week in Review

For the first time this season, the Sun Devils have put together consecutive wins. After toppling then No. 5 Washington, Arizona State went on the road to Salt Lake City in a difficult environment and dominated Utah, exorcising their well documented road woes.

The Sun Devils looked great in their win, both in play and in uniform. There’s still a sense of disappointment as thus far in the season, there has been little to no room for creativity, but the gold/white/maroon combo they donned at Utah for the second time this year is an all-time great. The maroon and gold colors shone proudly and were assisted by the dominant play by the Sun Devils in all three phases of the game. Still, it would be nice to see some variety. The grade for last week’s uniform reflects a ding for said lack of variety, but still remains pretty high with the strength of a great road combination.

Gold/White/Maroon Grade: B

The Week to Come

Uniform

Tradition is a great thing. This column has been critical of the strict dedication to traditional colors in 2017, but there is still much to be said about it. It’s part of what makes college football so incredible. Children, students, and alumni from across a wide range of generations all have a connection to a university where they received higher education and shared similar experiences on campus or on game day. Nothing exemplifies that more at a university than Homecoming, which will be celebrated at ASU this weekend as the Sun Devils welcome USC to town. Sparky is a part of ASU’s tradition and he will once again return for Homecoming as the Sun Devils will once again don traditional colors, but with a nice touch of variety. The variety comes in the form of decals, as mentioned before, ASU will be wearing their Sparky helmets, and in pant color selection. ASU has worn the gold helmet/maroon jersey/gold pant uniform combination three times already this season, and that is also what would be expected with the Sparky helmet. However, the Sun Devils have opted to go with maroon pants making this weekend’s combination gold/maroon/maroon.

The maroon jersey features “Arizona State” in gold Sun Devil Bold font across the chest. The nameplate on the back of the jersey also utilizes the gold Sun Devil Bold font. On the front of the jersey near the right shoulder is a maroon and gold Pac 12 shield, a gold Adidas logo near the left shoulder, and at the base of the collar is the black PT*42 shield in honor of ASU Football legend, Pat Tillman. The gold player numbers are outlined in black on both the front and back of the jersey and the maroon pants have a prominent black pitchfork with gold trim on the left thigh.

Helmet

The gold helmet will feature a Sparky facing forward outlined in white on either side of the helmet and a maroon center stripe. It will also feature a maroon facemask as well as a 3D bumper on the front of the helmet that reads PT*42, also honoring the legendary Sun Devil, Pat Tillman.

The back of the helmet will feature a maroon Pac-12 shield, as well as a maroon outline of the state of Arizona with a small maroon pitchfork over Tempe. Also featured on the back of the helmet is a small Sunburst logo which will be on the back of ASU helmets all season long. On the decal above the Sunburst is text that reads “Frank Kush” which is completed with the phrase “Builder of Champions” underneath the Sunburst. The decals are completed with two mini Sparky decals on either side of the rear bumper of the helmet.

Cleats

The Sun Devils will again wear white cleats this week. The white, low top Adi-Zeros will be worn by the lighter, speed position players like wide receivers and the defensive secondary. They feature a metallic gold plating on the sole of the cleat and maroon accents. The Adidas Freak mid-tops will be worn by heavy, speed players like linebackers and tight ends. They too have metallic gold plating on the sole, but also boast gold accented toes and maroon accents. Finally, the Adidas Freak high tops will be worn by linemen on both sides of the ball, as they provide a great deal of support for the pressure and torque that the larger players put on their ankles and feet. The Freak high tops also have a gold accent that begins at the toe, but continues and is the dominant color of the sole. There is a small metallic gold plate accent on the bottom of the shoe as well. Just as with the other two shoe styles, the Freak high tops have maroon accents.

This week, the Sun Devils will be wearing gold socks to offset the maroon pants in the uniform combo.

Gloves

The Sun Devils will wear white base gloves this week, and as with the cleats, there are different gloves for different positions. In both pictures, the gloves on the bottom are Adi-Zeros and they feature a white pitchfork with maroon trim which can be seen when the two palms are placed together. The gloves on the top left are Adidas Freaks, worn by larger skill position players such as linebackers and tight ends. The gloves on the top right are Adidas Freak-Max, which boast extra padding on the heel of the palm for all of the contact that linemen endure throughout the course of a game.

Reaction

The tone in some of this season’s articles has been nothing short of critical of the over dedication to traditional colors, more specifically, not allowing any creativity within the maroon and gold palate. However, you will not hear a peep about it this week. The tradition of including Sparky and traditional colors for the Homecoming game is a great one, and I applaud it. Plus, even though the combination is comprised of traditional colors, there is a slight variation from the home combinations that have been worn earlier in the season.

It might be a small tweak, but adding the detail of the maroon pants with the Sparky helmet adds a nice bit of creativity and still allows the classic maroon and gold be the star of the show. This gold/maroon/maroon uniform will be the fourth “unique” combination that ASU has worn since first reintroducing Sparky back into the mix in 2014. In 2014, they wore a gold/white/gold combo on the road in the Territorial Cup; in 2015, they wore gold/maroon/gold Pat Tillman dedication 1996 throwbacks; and in 2016, they wore gold/maroon/gold again, but with their contemporary maroon jerseys.

The one thing that ASU has never done since the reintroduction of the Sparky helmet is win while wearing it. The Sun Devils have already beaten a top 5 team for the first time in 21 years and ended a road losing streak, perhaps this week they will exorcise another demon and win while wearing a demon. With the top spot in the Pac 12 South at stake, and a Stripe-Out crowd on hand for Homecoming, there would be no better time for the Sun Devils to notch their first victory in the Sparky helmet since the Pitchfork Era began.

Fantasy Combo of the Week

This week’s Fantasy Combo comes to us from Angel Brown, who you can follow on Twitter at @halobrown67. Angel’s fantasy combo is a gold helmet/maroon jersey/black pant combo. The gold helmet has a large maroon pitchfork with gold trim on one side, and gold player number decals on the other, which end to blend in, giving this helmet a Pittsburgh Steelers-esque asymmetrical look. The helmet also has a maroon PT*42 bumper and a maroon facemask. The maroon jersey features gold Arizona State text across the chest and gold trim on the sleeves. It also has gold numbers outlined with black. The black pants have a maroon pitchfork with black trim on the left thigh. All arm or leg bands are gold and the gloves are a maroon base with gold accents. The cleats are black with gold accents while the socks are a black and gold blend. Thank you for submitting such a creative combo, Angel!

If you would like to submit a Fantasy Combo of the week to me, please visit thedevilswear.com and take a screen cap or save the link to your final product and send them to me by tweeting me at @ASU_Uniformity or @sundevilcole7.

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