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PROVO — In its matchup against Utah State this week, the BYU football team will be wearing retro royal blue uniforms. Through most of the glory days in the LaVell Edwards era, the BYU football team was easily recognizable by its jerseys and colors.
Sure, there were minor changes to the uniforms from year to year — some years had stripes down the pants, etc. But the basics remained intact with the iconic block 'Y' on the side of the helmet and the basic color schemes of white and royal blue.
In 1998, the Cougars added black to their uniforms and a black stripe down the middle of the helmet. The addition of a color was literally the biggest change in the uniforms for decades.
Then came 1999. Desperate to generate more revenue off of merchandise, BYU became Nike's guinea pig. The result was a switch to the more common navy blue with tan outlines and the dreaded bib uniforms. While the bibs mercifully only lasted one season, the navy was here to stay.
While navy might be more lucrative in terms of merchandise, the Cougars lost something arguably more important: they lost their brand. Even when the Cougars, under the direction of coach Bronco Mendenhall, brought back the traditional block Y on the helmet, the team lost out on its uniqueness. When fans across the nation think of navy blue and white, they are most likely to think about Penn State. Heck, BYU isn't even the first team in the state to wear navy blue and white.
How many teams off the top of your head wear royal blue and white? No football powerhouse to be sure. If the Cougars really want to make an impression on the nation as they claim they so desperately do, the time is right to ditch the navy and go back to BYU blue.
Dylan Cannon is a regular contributor to KSL.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @DylanCannon11.