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As Northwestern Basketball Butchers Taste and Decency...Should the Rest of the Big Ten Follow Suit?

The Wildcats’ Chicago-themed jerseys are an abomination, it an idea the rest of the Big Ten should follow? Here’s what that’d look like:


Well, in their quest to remind you they’re “Chicago’s Big Ten Team”, the Northwestern Wildcats have thrown taste, decency, and the color purple out the window in their latest senior-designed jerseys:

This is a yearly thing for the ‘Cats, who have gone with ‘90s NBA-themed outfits in past years, but it’s jarring to see (1) no purple at all on the jersey and (2) Northwestern aspiring to look like the UIC Flames.

Look—I get it. The jerseys aren’t for me. I’m an old, and if the kids like ‘em, the kids like ‘em.

But let’s not leave everyone else out of the fun, then.

If Northwestern’s going to chase the dream of being “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” and unveil something in line with the NBA’s City Series, then why can’t the rest of the Big Ten?

Introducing: The Big Ten City Series

All jerseys and designs in this article —even those based on real flags — are entirely fictional. All attempts at graphic design are impersonated ... poorly. The following article contains terrible photoshops and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone.

Illinois Fighting Illini — Champaign

Tough one right off the bat. The home cities of the Illini—Champaign and Urbana, Illinois—don’t have great seals. Thankfully, there’s a whole Reddit community dedicated to vexillology, and one member designed a simple flag idea for Champaign:

u/abasixt, r/vexillology

We, however, believe in the territorial integrity of a city. And, thankfully, when we don’t have a flag, a city seal will do! As such, we’d like to pay homage to the true agricultural nature of Champaign with this new Illinois jersey:

Indiana Hoosiers — Bloomington

Bloomington actually has a decently cool city flag that would look good on a jersey. I added the IU logo to the middle of it, for some reason, but it would be great as a standalone. Please actually do this, IU:

Iowa Hawkeyes — Iowa City

The beauty of small college towns is that most have an extremely low-budget city flag.

Behold, the Iowa City Series design:

Tell me that, if this was a bro tank, you couldn’t picture the McCaffery Brothers wearing them and getting into fights at an outdoor music festival.

Of course, we don’t want to deny Iowa the opportunity to associate with the larger cities in its area — let’s do a special edition for the City of Five Smells, in honor of the UNI-Iowa neutral city game the Hawkeyes are too chicken to play in Cedar Rapids:

Maryland Terrapins — College Park

Imagine: the Maryland flag, but half as shitty.

I give you:

Best part is they can probably just borrow the jerseys from the campus Quidditch team (or QuadBall or whatever they’re calling it now). You just saved some money, Terps!

If you want to go the Northwestern route, sure, you can steal from Washington, DC:

Ho hum, now you’re the Capitals. Or Wizards. Or Bullets. Whatever, I can’t be bothered.

Michigan State Spartans — East Lansing

Cool potential in this one, I think. The city seal’s design is a little intricate, so it doesn’t pop great on this jersey, but I don’t hate it, actually:

Ditch the houses, maybe, but keep the tree. That’s a sweet logo.

Michigan Wolverines — Ann Arbor

I really loathe that I like the Ann Arbor editions, whether the Reddit mockup or just the superimposition of the existing flag:

It’d look REALLY good with the white background turned blue, and I hate that. If Nike comes out with these I will be livid that I like them and also will demand royalties.

Michigan BONUS Edition — Detroit!

I made this, so you have to look at it:

I am not sorry.

Minnesota Gophers — Twin Cities

The U has campuses spanning Minneapolis and St. Paul*, meaning we’re going to hit up both those flags—including Minneapolis’s awful triangular logo. Maybe a reversible jersey for the Gophers, like you had to wear back in AAU days?
* Really just Falcon Heights, but (1) one parking lot and some family housing cross the border into St. Paul, and (2) I’m not figuring out how to superimpose the Falcon Heights logo on a jersey. It’s just a falcon. FIND A NEW SLANT.

Minnesota Golden Gophers — BONUS EDITION!

Since we’re just mocking up flags for nearby cities as well AND The U has a branch campus in a nearby city with a legendarily so-bad-it’s-good flag design, well...




Rochester, Minnesota:

Now to figure out how to superimpose Goldy’s head on the geese...

Nebraska Cornhuskers — Lincoln

BRT tells me that Lincoln recently redesigned its flag:

“The winning design, entitled All Roads Lead to Lincoln, was created by Ed Mejia, a local art director and graphic designer who immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. His design was inspired by the sight of Lincoln’s skyline emerging on the otherwise flat horizon as he first drove into town. He drew inspiration from art deco architecture and native artwork displayed inside the capitol building and used intersecting lines to capture the interconnection of technology, agriculture, and commerce that have drawn people to Lincoln throughout our past, present, and into the future. The beacon featured in the center of the design symbolizes the hope and optimism that the people of Lincoln are known for, as well as our reputation as a safe harbor for those seeking to make our community their home.”

The result is a really cool Art Deco logo that belongs on all sorts of merchandise, but might be a little highbrow for The Vault:

Ohio State Buckeyes — Columbus

Finally out of the silliness and into good, old-fashioned flag design: three colors in vertical stripes with a dumbass seal in the middle.

You might be thinking “Those colors don’t work!” and I would respond “Have you seen what scarlet and gray look like together?”

Penn State Nittany Lions — State College and/or Centre County

See: the Iowa City dilemma. I’m thrilled that both the above include black-and-white logos in such low resolution online that they’re effectively meaningless, much like Penn State basketball:

I’ll give Penn State fans one for free, though:

The seal’s not a bad look. Hell, blow up one of those horses and really go for an Ed Hardy vibe.

Purdue Boilermakers — West Lafayette

Both Lafayette AND West Lafayette have their own city flags, but Lafayette’s looks like a city council tried to hump an American flag and got mess everywhere.

Instead, we turn to West Lafayette and the Purdue City Series jersey, which goes much more for a “Failed UN Peacekeeping Mission” kind of vibe:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights — Piscataway

You think 1869 is old, college football fans? Try Piscataway Township, founded by Sven Piscatawaysson in 1666, back when this was still basically* New Sweden.

“Beating someone with a jagged arrowhead” is also Steve Pikiell’s approach to coaching defense.

* New Sweden, which was subsumed by the British in 1655, is addressed in my class as “there were some Swedes who settled in New Jersey and Delaware. That is the literal last time we will ever mention Delaware in this class.”

Wisconsin Badgers — Madison

A generically “not bad” flag, and I resent Madison for that:

BONUS EDITION — Indiana State Flag Edition

I made these for Indiana and Purdue. The colors got a little wonky. Whatever—this is City Series Edition, not State Flag Edition:

Tell me (1) how bad the Northwestern uniforms are and (2) which of these uniforms you’d actually buy and why it’s the Rochester City Series jersey.


Which of these would you buy?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    None of them, dear God.
    (77 votes)
  • 5%
    Just my own team’s, as this is clearly an exercise in homership and not a stupid Big Ten blogger doing dumb things to avoid grading finals.
    (9 votes)
  • 4%
    Uh, the Northwestern ones are Cool, Actually, because loving a city that doesn’t care about you is really really fun in this article I will
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Illinois: Reddit edition
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Indiana’s Bloomington flag
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    Maryland Quidditch
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    Michigan State Trees
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    The Michigan one, actually
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Saint Paul
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    (11 votes)
  • 11%
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    (20 votes)
  • 5%
    (10 votes)
  • 10%
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    A totally different one, and I’ll tell you in the comments
    (3 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now