The state of Arizona was once known for the Five Cs: copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate. All things considered, the football program made the right choice in which to honor with its new, alternative helmet.
Ryan Finley reported on The Daily Star Wednesday night that the Wildcats would wear a copper helmet at some point next season, adding that Nike could unveil a uniform to match. Perhaps this could be UA's first foray with the ever-popular Combat Pro series.
And no, this is no hoax like the baby blue marble lid UCLA was briefly rumored to have via a tweet last fall. The UA helmet was confirmed on ArizonaWildcats.com. Included in the release is the following:
Copper is not only associated with our great state’s mining history, but it has influenced architectural design on our campus, including our athletic facilities – most notably the ring at the top of the McKale Center, and the future North End Zone Football Complex.
A part of Arizona's copper legacy includes the Copper Bowl, a postseason affair played in Arizona Stadium from 1989 to 1996, before becoming the Insight Bowl and moving to the Valley. UA's defeat of NC State in the inaugural Copper Bowl is among my earliest Wildcat football memories.
Uniforms are becoming an increasingly significant part of recruiting. As such, merely unveiling something new is not enough to stand out -- everyone has new gear. AD Greg Byrne put it best in Finley's column: "Anybody can do black.
Originality is key, and the copper helmet is certainly that. From the image shown in the stories linked, it manages to be unique yet retain subtlety. Other schools have gone the opposite direction, like Baylor and Louisville's retina-incinerating neon duds debuted for the NCAA tournament. So intent are some teams on sporting something fresh, I'm surprised we have yet to see Swarovski crystals or Pauly D #SWAGGs make their own onto uniforms.
Without seeing its uniform combination, the UA helmet is somewhat reminiscent of the hat Michigan State wore with its Combat Pro last season vs. Michigan.