As we ring in the New Year, the best of the best will come together to crown an undisputed champion in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship — a true quest to become untouchable. The competing schools, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Oregon, represent four of the most highly regarded programs in college football today, and though individually unique, each has a long and storied partnership with Nike Football.
Nike’s relationship with each school spans several decades, each a significant and continuously evolving partnership simultaneously dedicated to tradition and innovation. Three of the four schools — Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State — have claimed national titles, and together with Oregon, the quartet has competed for a championship 11 times in the past 16 years.
Whether it's Alabama merging tradition with laser-focused performance innovation, Florida State pushing the limits of innovation while honoring their unique relationship with the Seminole Tribe, Ohio State advancing both design and innovation combined with a nod to tradition, or Oregon helping set the pace for college football through their own unique style and relentless pursuit of speed, Nike has been entrusted to bring each team's identity to the field.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Nike Football has outfitted the University of Alabama football program for over three decades. Both Alabama and Ohio State were two of the original Nike college football programs commencing with the 1981 football season; and, since 1995 Nike has served the Crimson Tide as their all-inclusive on-field partner — celebrating three national championships under coach Nick Saban (2009, 2010, and 2012) during that span.
Since the days of legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Alabama Football has become untouchable on the football field. Although the team honors its deep-rooted traditions, innovation shines through in the Tide’s training, style of play and high-performance uniforms on the field.
While the crimson and white colors remain consistent, Alabama’s uniforms have continuously evolved technically. For the College Football Playoff, the Tide will wear Nike’s new Mach Speed uniform chassis, built for optimal speed and ventilation. The team will also wear the new Nike Pro Combat Hypercool Baselayer incorporating an elephant pattern composed of team mantras, and the game-changing Nike Vapor Untouchable cleat.
Florida State Seminoles
Nike’s 32-year relationship with the Florida State Seminoles is a special one, with the partnership coming full circle in 1998 with both footwear and apparel. The Seminoles have a proud football tradition and a strong commitment to their student-athletes, ensuring their uniforms are as technically advanced as any in college athletics.
From Bobby Bowden to Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles have celebrated several national championships wearing Nike Football uniforms, most recently in 1999 and 2013. This past year, Florida State Athletics partnered with Nike designers to create a more streamlined look incorporating a symbolic reflection of their official association with the Seminole Tribe of Florida – a partnership based on mutual respect and honor. This unique relationship is highlighted visually on the uniform sleeves through the Seminole Tribe-inspired pattern, incorporating symbols for an Arrow, Man on Horse, and Fire. In addition, the new font called UNCONQUERED connects to the collective heritage of the university, tribe, and state at large, stoking new energy in the grand traditions of the storied program.
Specifically for the College Football Playoff, the Seminoles will wear new Nike Vapor Untouchable cleats, Nike Vapor Jet gloves and a new Nike Pro Combat Hypercool baselayer design incorporating the same black Seminole-inspired pattern containing tribe-inspired symbols.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State’s relationship with Nike began in 1981 as one of the original Nike college football programs to be outfitted in footwear. Since 1995, the brand has officially partnered with Ohio State’s football program as apparel provider as well. In that time, the team has been on the cutting edge of both design and innovation — constantly looking to modernize tactics, training and on-field apparel. In the recent past, the Buckeyes have partnered with Nike designers each year to create distinct rivalry uniform designs, typically honoring a past championship team with a modern interpretation of the Buckeyes’ classic look.
For the College Football Playoff, Ohio State will wear uniforms that pay homage to legendary coach Woody Hayes and the team’s 1968 National Championship. The updated presentation maintains a firm foundation in the program’s storied past and honors Coach Hayes with specific details. The new jersey sleeve features the same 10-stripe pattern from the 1968 version and the Nike Pro Combat base layer graphic incorporates a literal print of one of Coach Hayes’s chalkboard sessions. The design is truly indicative of the partnership between the Buckeyes and Nike Football: considered evolution rooted in a heritage of game-changing design and innovation.
Nike’s relationship with the University of Oregon Ducks Football program spans nearly four decades — a unique partnership based on the relentless pursuit of innovation, a shared foundation for the school’s athletic history and a combined reciprocal trust.
The advancement of the Oregon Ducks football program mirrors Nike’s technical progression in apparel, footwear and equipment. Decades of testing new innovations in footwear and uniform design are matched by a mindset aimed at providing athletes with solutions to help them perform at their highest potential.
The Ducks were the first to wear nearly every Nike Football uniform and cleat innovation over the past decade, including the current Nike Mach Speed chassis that the team debuted for their 2013 bowl game. And it’s hard to miss the fact that the Ducks have never worn the same uniform combination twice.
Alongside all four College Football Playoff teams, Oregon also led extensive testing of the new Nike Vapor Untouchable cleat. Oregon student-athlete feedback also aided the naming of the cleat. Throughout countless hours of cleat-testing, Oregon student-athletes consistently provided feedback that the Flyknit cleat upper construction, combined with Nike’s most innovative cleat plate design, made them feel “untouchable.”
College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff begins on Jan. 1, 2015 when the Oregon Ducks face the Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl Game, and the Alabama Crimson Tide take on The Ohio State University Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl. On Jan. 12, one team will emerge untouchable — winner of the inaugural College Football National Championship Game.
The unique partnerships between Nike and the four schools competing in the College Football Playoff embody a long-standing commitment to the advancement of tradition and innovation. For decades, these programs have held a joint aim: to become untouchable. Each institution has a heritage of excellence on the field, and each has reached the pinnacle of sport through a legacy of legendary coaching, pursuit of innovation and relentless focus on preparation.