The ever-evolving Ducks face the tradition-rich Buckeyes on Friday in Pasadena.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Green jerseys with silver feathers on the shoulders, topped by white helmets.
That appears to be the answer to perhaps the most-asked question of Rose Bowl week: Just what will the fashion-forward Oregon Ducks wear for their first postseason trip to Pasadena in 15 years?
“We expected them to do something wild and crazy for coming back to the Rose Bowl,” said a vaguely disappointed Ohio State defensive lineman Doug Worthington. “We’ll go out there and look at it for about 30 seconds, and then we’ll forget it.”
There’s no such mystery around Ohio State, which will wear the latest version of the white-and-gray ensemble that has suited the Buckeyes since well before their last Rose Bowl 13 years ago.
“But we care about this part the most, and I think they do, too,” Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman said Wednesday, pointing to the Rose Bowl emblem on his jersey’s shoulder.
Beyond that patch, the ever-evolving Ducks (10-2) and the tradition-rich Buckeyes (10-2) seem to have little in common in their approaches to offenses, uniforms and everything in between. Their many contrasts could make for a compelling game Friday in two powerful programs’ overdue returns to the Rose Bowl.
“We’ve all heard about how much being in this particular game means to our fans and our alumni,” Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. “Everybody knows this is your real goal every season when you’re a Big Ten or a Pac-10 team. It feels good to be part of that tradition coming back.”
Oregon has its well-deserved reputation as Nike’s laboratory, with its innovative fashion sense and impressive facilities. Most of the No. 7 Ducks, who largely hail from California, cite that connection as a reason for choosing the school.
“Our tradition is no tradition,” Oregon left tackle Bo Thran said. “We’re always changing things up, trying new approaches. We want to make our own, and that’s what we’re doing this season.”
The approach couldn’t be much more different in Columbus. Ohio State places a heavy emphasis on its decades of football tradition enjoying a revival under Jim Tressel, the genteel coach who wears ties on the sideline and shepherds his players’ every move.
“Everybody who comes to Ohio State knows what we stand for and what we try to accomplish,” Coleman said. “Coach Tressel has a vision for what he wants to happen in this program, and we respect everything that got us to this point, all the guys who came before us.”
Several Ducks were surprised this week to learn that for all the Buckeyes’ success in recent years under Tressel, No. 8 Ohio State hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl since 1997.