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Ranking every bowl game uniform matchup

Breaking down what’s important

Syndication: Arizona Republic Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s officially bowl season! Games begin this week, so it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of breaking down each game....’s uniform matchup.

Yep, who cares about who wins, we wanna know which pairings will look the best on our TVs. To be clear, this isn’t just a team having the best uniforms, it’s about the two uniforms complementing one another. So teams who have a great uniform in a vacuum may appear lower in this list because they clash with what the other team will be wearing. Or perhaps they’re just too similar to the other team (nobody wants a bowl game that looks more like a spring game). Granted in most instance one team will be wearing white, but that doesn’t do away with clashing color potential all together.

With that, let’s get to ranking.

42. Quick Lane Bowl
Bowling Green vs. New Mexico State

Bottom line, neither of these uniforms are good. Bowling Green has a decent template, but those Browns-inspired colors just don’t look good. Terrible, F.

41. TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina

Both of these uniforms are kinda fun on their own. But I feel like it’s gonna be pretty busy when you combine the two.

40. Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Maryland vs. NC State

Two teams who have never heard the phrase “less is more.” Very busy uniforms that could end up a cluttered mess when viewed together. The lack of color variation only makes things worse.

39. Cricket Celebration Bowl
Jackson State vs. NC Central

I actually like Jackson State’s uniforms, but NC Central...not so much.

38. Capital One Orange Bowl
Clemson vs. Tennessee

In theory, two orange teams playing in the Orange Bowl sounds fun. And these two uniforms on their own are fantastic. But these two shades of orange don’t look particularly great together. If Tennessee wears all white this game could be salvaged, but it has the potential to be an eyesore.

37. Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl
Fresno State vs. Washington State

A true spring game special. Granted Wazzu has a lot of gray uniform options that could make this watchable, but at the end of the day, we’re just likely to see a ton of red.

36. Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Missouri vs. Wake Forest

Both teams wear black and gold, but one wears vegas gold (Wake) and one wears old gold, or even more of just a yellow (Mizzou). The potential for some awfulness here.

35. Boca Raton Bowl
Liberty vs. Toledo

Nothing bad here about either of these uniforms. Just nothing particularly exciting either.

34. R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
South Alabama vs. Western Kentucky

Another red vs. red game. Yawn.

33. Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Pitt vs. UCLA

The yellow vs gold and blue versus similar but different shade of blue matchup has catastrophic potential.

32. Camellia Bowl
Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern

I actually love Georgia Southern’s simple set. If Buffalo complements it well this one could actually end up looking good.

31. SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Memphis vs. Utah State

Probably the first uniform matchup on this list I’m actually looking forward to. Both teams do a good job of having simple uniforms that still look distinctive.

30. Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
LSU vs. Purdue

Sorry LSU, you didn’t do anything wrong here. But Purdue is just a mess over there. Way too much going on.

29. Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin

The orange vs. red is a bit garish. If we get Wisconsin in all white or OSU in predominantly black it could be salvaged though.

28. Radiance Tech Independence Bowl
Houston vs. Louisiana

Gonna be so much red. The only reason it’s this high on the list is because I do like each uniform on their own. While not a beautiful matchup it won’t be offensive either.

27. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Georgia vs. Ohio State

CONTROVERSY! Are these both great uniforms? Of course. Will they look particularly good paired with one another? Not really. Both teams wearing some combination of red/back/gray.

26. ReliaQuest Bowl
Illinois vs. Mississippi State

Definitely a “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” situation. Neither one of these sets is particularly fantastic, but should create a good-looking product on the game day.

25. HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl
Miami (OH) vs. UAB

A red and green matchup less than two weeks before Christmas. That gets you in the top 25.

24. Duluth Trading Cure Bowl
Troy vs. UTSA

Not gonna lie, this one is mostly riding on how much I like UTSA’s look. Troy is nothing special, but also doesn’t do anything to drag it down.

23. Bad Boy Mowers PinStripe Bowl
Minnesota vs. Syracuse

Two teams who generally look good, and will look good against one another, with enough contrast existing between the burgundy and the dark blue and the yellow and orange.

22. Myrtle Beach Bowl
Marshall vs. UConn

Two very complimentary color combos, so I’ll forgive that we’re likely getting two white helmets.

21. VRBO Fiesta Bowl
Michigan vs. TCU

This is as good a place as any for my to air my grievance about Michigan essentially removing yellow pants from their arsenal. The all blue set looks good but the blue jersey with yellow pants is iconic. TCU wears a ton of sets so difficult to know exactly what they’ll trot out but safe to say this will be a very traditional uniform and a very modern one.

20. Military Bowl presented by Peraton
Duke vs. UCF

Duke always looks good, if a bit Colts-inspired. UCF wears a lot of different looks, and does a decent job of always maintaining their identity. This one could be an A+ and at least caps out at a B-.

19. Allstate Sugar Bowl
Alabama vs. Kansas State

Two classic uniforms. Not sure about the purple and burgundy together, but both teams always look good and this should be no exception.

18. Lending Tree Bowl
Rice vs. Southern Miss

I’ve always liked Rice’s understated look, and the bold colors of Southern Miss should provide a nice contrast to that.

17. TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
Notre Dame vs. South Carolina

The Gamecocks have seemed to lean more into their matte black helmet under Shane Beamer, which is a shame. Give me their traditional white helmet and I think this could be a top 10 uniform matchup.

16. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State

Two great color schemes. I just don’t see a scenario where this one doesn’t look great.

15. TaxAct Texas Bowl
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech

Ole Miss would do well to wear their lighter blue in this matchup to maximize contrast, but no matter what I feel like this one is gonna look good.

14. Wasabi Fenway Bowl
Cincinnati vs. Louisville

Theoretically two red and black teams, but Cincy’s tendency to wear all black or all white means this one could actually end up looking quite nice.

13. EasyPost Hawaii Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs. San Diego State

Two rock solid uniform sets. Middle Tennessee’s is more classic, while San Diego State seems to always be trying something new and fun. And the blue against red is hard to top.

12. Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Ohio vs. Wyoming

Wyoming has one of my favorite looks in all of college athletics, so all Ohio had to do here was not look awful. Mission accomplished.

11 SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Florida vs. Oregon State

Lots of orange, to be sure. But I feel like we’re gonna get a good-looking pairing here.

10. Cheez-It Bowl
Florida State vs. Oklahoma

We’ve entered the top 10, and I feel like this is where things really start getting great. Two iconic sets here. The gold and crimson helmet in particular should look absolutely fantastic paired against one another.

9. AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Arkansas vs. Kansas

Hard to not love red against blue. Also I can’t mention this matchup without linking to this Vine.

8. TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Iowa vs. Kentucky

If this matchup feels familiar, it’s because they just played each other in a bowl game a year ago. But nonetheless, the black and yellow of Iowa and the blue and white of Kentucky pair so well together that we’ll forgive them for getting together again.

7. Valero Alamo Bowl
Texas vs. Washington

I may hate Texas, but it’s hard to argue that this uniform matchup won’t be elite.

6. Rose Bowl
Penn State vs. Utah

Another red vs. blue beauty. It’s hard to imagine any uniform combination these two could trot out that won’t end up looking awesome against one another.

5. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Air Force vs. Baylor

This is a matchup that is betting for a color-vs.-color matchup, as the blue of Air Force would work well with pretty much whatever uniform combination Baylor wants to trot out there.

4. Frisco Bowl
Boise State vs. North Texas

Both have bold color schemes, but they complement each other so well that it doesn’t matter. As said above, it’s hard to imagine a combination (and both schools have a lot of them) that wouldn’t look good).

3. PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl

Two of my favorite uniform sets in college football. Might they end up looking similar to one another? Yes. But both are so good that I don’t think it will matter.

2. Goodyear Cotton Bowl
Tulane vs. USC

USC has one of the most iconic uniforms in college football, and Tulane has one of the most unique, from the green and powder blue color scheme to the angry wave on the helmet. Put them together and you get an absolutely wonderful uniform matchup (and one we aren’t likely to see again any time soon).

1. SDCCU Holiday Bowl
North Carolina vs. Oregon

You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like. Even this absurd all Carolina blue versus all candy green pairing would work (even if it isn’t my first choice). Bottom line: UNC is a top five uniform for me (love the argyle), and Oregon consistently trots out stuff that looks good while continuing to push the uniform envelope (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they give us something new for the bowl game). A truly deserving 2022-23 bowl uniform rankings champion.

Tell me why I’m completely wrong in the comments below.