Imagine South Carolina donning those special battle gray jerseys and camouflage pants that the Gamecocks wore earlier this month in last Januarys Capital One Bowl.
Think about USC beating Nebraska for its school season-record 11th win in matted-gray helmets where the palmetto tree and crescent moon of the state flag replaced the traditional Gamecock logo.
Those suggestions were made by Under Armour, the schools apparel supplier, USC deputy athletics director Charles Waddell said. However, the school rejected the ideas.
The school has a say on what its football players wear, and the Gamecocks agreed to use the battle gray uniforms this season at LSU a game that USC lost. That loss put South Carolinas record while wearing camouflage uniforms at 0-3 since 2009.
Still, the outfits are a crucial selling point to recruits in their teens and likely will continue to appear.
Look at what Oregon is doing, Waddell said of the No. 2 Ducks, who change their highly stylized uniforms frequently. The kids love this stuff. They love the edgy uniforms and wearing something different.
Older fans, including coach Steve Spurrier, say they favor more traditional jerseys.
Is this something (Spurrier) would have designed? Probably not, Waddell said.
The Gamecocks battle gear generated some unflattering reviews.
South Carolina unveiled the worst football uniforms in the history of football uniforms against LSU Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King wrote in his weekly column.
But the uniforms won rave reviews on Twitter, dominated by younger fans, though a few quibbled with the camouflage pants.
Grey Gamecocks jerseys look great, wrote @DarkKnightC6R. The pants look like they are from Elton Johns new hunting clothing line.
Waddell doesnt blame the Gamecocks special camo outfits for the losses, but he said Under Armour does not force the school to wear the unique duds. South Carolina chose to wear the battle jerseys, Waddell said. The schools six-year, $12.3-million agreement with Under Armour does not include a requirement that USC must wear whatever the apparel maker wants.
The Gamecocks can ask Under Armour to make changes or reject ideas, Waddell said. USC, for example, nixed any changes to its helmets. Theres something more sacred about that.
The battle uniforms were shown to the athletics staff, USC president Harris Pastides and Spurrier, who gauged interest among USCs players.
The team loved it, Waddell said.
While the Gamecocks passed on the battle uniforms for Januarys bowl game, they agreed to wear them this season though not at home.
We like our garnet, Waddell said.
The team decided in the spring to wear the battle gear at LSU, where the Tigers would be wearing their traditional white jerseys for a SEC game, he said.
Under Armour has pushed the envelope on uniform design, especially with Marylands helmets based on that states multi-color flag.
Everyone thought they were horrendous except for the kids, Waddell said.
Under Armour officials were not available for comment.
South Carolinas battle uniforms were not part of the Wounded Warrior Project.
As part of that program, the Gamecocks have worn camouflage-infused jerseys that later are auctioned to aid veterans and their families. USC has worn those jerseys at home in 2009 against Florida and 2011 against Auburn both losses.
The Gamecocks have made no decision about going with a special uniform or Wounded Warrior jersey next season, Waddell said. USC could bring back the battle gray uniforms but nothing has been discussed, he said.
Some fans just dont care what the Gamecocks wear.
Put em in a pink leotard and a dirty Myrtle Beach tank top for all I care, one fan wrote on a GoGamecocks.com forum. Just win baby!