When it comes to uniform designs, few conferences have as eclectic a mix of traditional and new-age designs on the road as the Big Ten. The Big Ten is home to some classic road looks like Penn State’s all-white uniform and Nebraska’s red pants and white top. But the Big Ten has seen more uniform innovation and fashion trends when its teams hit the road than ever before.
But who has the absolute best uniform when on the road in the Big Ten? Is it one of the bluebloods with a traditional look, or is it one of the programs looking to mix things up a bit with their respective uniform designs?
For the purposes of this ranking, we are only looking at the standard road uniform for each of the Big Ten’s 14 current members. No alternate uniforms are considered here, nor are alternate helmets. We will note, however, that some Big Ten teams will rotate their uniform elements somewhat regularly from week to week, so some editorial control was used in determining what the standard road uniform should be.
So here is how the Big Ten’s road uniforms stack up against each other. Interested to see how the home uniforms rank? We have you covered with our ranking of the Big Ten’s home uniforms.
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Northwestern may have an underrated home uniform, but the road look needs some work. For starters, removing the stripes across the middle is essential. Sure, it’s unique, but it looks dumb.
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These next two schools were ranked alongside each other in our ranking of the home uniforms. Rutgers once again comes in a low spot with a rather bland road look. Adding the “R” on the pants isn’t helping here. Perhaps a silver helmet would help?
Indiana comes in just ahead of Rutgers thanks to doing a little bit less than Rutgers and having a slightly cleaner look overall. The helmet is still underrated, but it does feel as though Indiana’s look is far from unique.
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Illinois may be ranked unfairly here, but this particular road look suffers from the same issue as its home uniform. Outlining the numbers in a thin blue could do wonders for this look. Blue pants generally look better for the Illini, but adding a touch of blue to the uniform could overcome that.
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When Minnesota keeps things simple, it just works so well for them. The maroon helmet is massively underrated, but the Gophers probably look better in maroon pants instead of the white pants and white jerseys.
Minnesota will keep you guessing weekly, but the Gophers don’t need to overthink things for a solid road look.
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The biggest detriment to Wisconsin‘s road look is the same biggest detriment to its home uniform, which is the number font. It’s unique, but the Badgers would look better with a blocker number font. Remove the “W” logo from the bottom of the neckline and Wisconsin has a clean road look.
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Say what you will about Penn State‘s road uniform, but there really isn’t much that can or should be done to it. It is their identity now and it is nearly impossible not to know Penn State is playing on the road when you see this all-white look come on the screen. Even as more and more teams are adopting all-white alternate looks, there is still something special about Penn State’s signature road look. It’s as basic as it gets, which is why it sits in the middle of the pack of this ranking.
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Michigan State can hit you with green pants if it wants and they would still be looking pretty sharp on the road. Michigan State’s road look is fantastic with the green helmet and white Spartans logo. The unique number style of the jersey really helps Michigan State stand out a bit with its road look.
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Purdue is a bit of a wild card on the road, and arguments to have them ranked lower will be entertained. But this is an underrated road uniform in the Big Ten the Boilermakers are sporting these days. The train track-style helmet stripe may be a drawback, but everything else is well done.
In a conference with three other schools wearing red and white, Nebraska‘s road uniform stands out the best. The red pants being the standard helps the Huskers in a big way here, as everything else Nebraska is doing is pretty classic. And around these parts, we appreciate that traditional look from a historic program like Nebraska.
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Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but Maryland’s devotion to its state pride is to be commended with Maryland’s road look. Much like the home uniform, the road uniform featuring the state flag of Maryland continues to be a design that has grown, matured, and been refined to near perfection over the years. Haters are probably gonna hate, but Maryland has figured things out.
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The Big Ten West program with the best road look is the Iowa Hawkeyes. As mentioned in our ranking of the top home uniforms, the Hawkeyes do the Pittsburgh Steelers better than the Steelers (sorry, not sorry Steelers fans), and that carries over to the road games as well.
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Michigan‘s recent return to a more traditional and basic uniform design has done the program wonders with its road look. Michigan experimented with bringing white pants back for road games, which was OK, but the yellow pants are what we expect to see from the Wolverines. Michigan’s road uniform is easily among the best in the nation.
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You will have a tough time convincing me anyone has a better road uniform than the Ohio State Buckeyes. In a conference with multiple schools with red and white, Ohio State once again has the luxury of having silver to rely on, which is the main feature of the pants and helmet just like at home. But even when Ohio State swaps out to its road white uniform, the Buckeyes have a consistently strong uniform away from Ohio Stadium.