Monday, September 2, 2019

The "Nightmare" uniform (Unlucky combo update 2015-2019)

Oregon made only a few changes to its uniform this summer, but one interesting development was the lack of a black set. Instead they showcased a dark green that they call "Nightmare Green" They wore it in their opening night loss this season. 

The last time Oregon sported a dark "Thunder" green was 2014 during the Mariota years. All of Herbert's 3 previous years have been wearing the pretty and bright "apple green"

This is especially interesting since black has been a major element of the uniforms for the last decade. In my unofficial count of color combos since Chip Kelly started in 2009, the Ducks have played 44 games with at least one of the three main parts (helmet/jersey/pants) being black. And that is not even counting dark gray, silver, etc. So if they averaged 12 games each year, that is 36% of the time!

Last year they wore black on 4 occasions, three of them being MONO black! During the Helfrich years, black was used a lot: two of his seasons they wore black in 5 games. But in 2011-12, the Ducks were black in 7 games!

So how about the combo they sprung on us this last weekend, during a high profile season opening at a neutral site? It was supposedly dark green and white, but to my untrained eye it looked REALLY dark, bordering on black.

August 31, 2019. Oregon loss to Auburn. Register Guard photo

As I mentioned in my week one post, the last time this dark/white/dark combo has been used:

  • If you consider this green: 2017 week 3 (that time was apple green)
  • If you consider this black: 2015 week 11 
  • If you consider this dark green: 2013: week 6
  • If you consider this a Frankenstein hybrid: 2011 National Championship (another heartbreaking loss to Auburn)

Updating the Unlucky Uniform game

One of my very first posts as Ducktracker in September 2015 was a post about how the Ducks tend to tank on the big stage when they don't wear school colors. That "laundry list" started with the infamous Boise State punch game loss. (all white) and rounded up the 13 losses from 2009-2015. Spoiler alert: Many of them came wearing non green/yellow uniforms. 9/13 of those losses came wearing no green/yellow.

It got me thinking that I need to update that list. I had the luxury of "only" 13 losses in 5 years, but the last 4 years have been less kind. So here's looking back at 4 years of losses from Sept. 2015-Sept. 2019:

2015 (Mark Helfrich)

September 12, 20155:30 p.m.vs. #3 Michigan State#5Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MIESPNL 28–31  

September 26, 20155:30 p.m.vs. #18 Utah#13Autzen Stadium, Eugene, ORFOXL 20-62

Getty Images photo
October 10, 20153:00 PMWashington StateAutzen Stadium • Eugene, ORL 38–45 2OT 
Getty Images photo

January 2, 20163:45 PMvs. No. 11 TCU*No. 15Alamodome• San Antonio, TX (Alamo Bowl)L 41–47 3OT 
Getty Images photo

2016 (Mark Helfrich's last season)

September 17, 201612:30 PMat Nebraska*No. 22Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, NEL 32–35  
USA Today photo

September 242:30 PMColoradoAutzen Stadium • Eugene, OR
L 38–41  

October 16:30 PMat Washington StateMartin Stadium• Pullman, WAL 33–51  
USA Today photo

October 84:30 PMNo. 5 WashingtonAutzen Stadium • Eugene, OR (Rivalry)L 21–70  
AP photo

October 217:30 PMat CaliforniaCalifornia Memorial Stadium • Berkeley, CAL 49–52 2OT 
BANG photo

November 54:00 PMat USCLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum• Los Angeles, CAL 20–45  
USA Today photo

November 261:00 PMat Oregon StateReser Stadium • Corvallis, OR (120th Civil War/Platypus Trophy)L 24–34  

AP photo

2017 (Willie Taggert's only season)

September 237:00 Arizona StateNo. 24Sun Devil Stadium• Tempe, AZL 35–37  
AP photo

October 75:00 p.m.No. 11 Washington StateAutzen Stadium • Eugene, OR
L 10–33  
Oregonian photo

October 148:00 No. 23 StanfordStanford Stadium• Stanford, CAL 7–49  
AP photo
October 211:00 UCLARose Bowl • Pasadena, CAL 14–31  55,711
Pac-12 photo

November 47:00 No. 12 WashingtonHusky Stadium• Seattle, WA(Rivalry)
L 3–38  
Statesman Journal photo

December 1612:30 p.m.vs. No. 25 Boise State*Sam Boyd Stadium• Whitney, NV (Las Vegas Bowl)
L 28–38  
Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

2018 (Mario Cristobal's first season)

September 225:00 p.m.No. 7 StanfordNo. 20
  • Autzen Stadium
  • Eugene, OR
L31–38 OT
AP photo

October 204:30 No. 25 Washington StateNo. 12 L20–34
Oregonlive photo

October 277:30 ArizonaNo. 19 L 15–44
AP photo

November 102:30 Utah L 25–32

So, what's the trend over 4 years of losses?

In 21 losses during 2015-2018 a vast majority were on the road, so the jerseys tended to be white. But a large proportion of those occasions also had no major green/yellow, but instead opted for whiteout or lots of silver. The times they lost at home tended to be the most cartoonish of uniforms: The Lewis and Clark commemoration, the blue Webfoots Oregon flag set, and the orange-socked Duck mascot version—all combos that have now become imfamous, much like their "grellow" helmets from 2006.
  • 11 losses where no major background color was green/yellow
  • 7 losses had uniforms that sported ONLY white, gray, black, silver or blue
  • 14 losses used helmets that were not green or yellow, with a preponderance of the chrome helmets being worn in losses.
What next?

Not to say any set is "cursed" but I might avoid going on the road without much green or yellow to offset the white jersey, and stick with nice solid home sets. While Oregon got the whole chrome helmet trend going, it might rethink it. Revolutionary advice, I know


  1. Sadly, when Oregon plays in big road games, the main point is to highlight the next season's uniform template for Nike orders. I thought the Oregon Trail set was when Oregon jumped the shark on special uniforms. FWIW, don't you think the 2019 uniform set is a fauxback to 2009?

  2. NOTABLE BIG GAMES THIS DECADE (neutral site out of conference/postseason) -

    2010 Rose Bowl: White/Green/White - LOSS
    2011 National Championship: Grey/White/Grey - LOSS
    2011 Opening Game vs. LSU in Dallas: Black/Black/Black - LOSS
    2011 Pac-12 Championship Game: Green/Green/Black - WIN
    2012 Rose Bowl: Silver/Green/Green - WIN
    2013 Fiesta Bowl: Green/White/Green - WIN
    2013 Alamo Bowl: Green/White/White - WIN
    2014 Pac-12 Championship Game - White/Green/White - WIN
    2014 Rose Bowl: Green/Green/Green - WIN
    2015 National Championship: Silver/White/Silver - LOSS
    2015 Alamo Bowl: White/White/White - LOSS
    2017 Las Vegas Bowl: Silver/Green/Green - LOSS
    2018 Redbox Bowl: Yellow/Green/Yellow - WIN
    2019 Opening Game vs. Auburn in Dallas: Black/White/Black - LOSS

    When wearing green/yellow: 7-2
    When wearing no school colors: 0-5

    I love that the Ducks were really the first school to branch out and become "cool" with their uniforms, and I don't mind not wearing school colors for a game here or there. But on the national stage, when your brand is shown to the world, you gotta be wearing school colors. And the "lack of school colors" jinx is quite astounding. When will we learn...