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2021 Iowa State Football Uniform Predictions

Let’s take a crack at what threads Iowa State might be wearing for each game this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 14 Big 12 Media Days Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before the 2019 season, I wrote an article predicting the uniform combinations we’d use for each game that season. For the sake of quantifying the results, I applied a simple points system.

If my “favorite” was used, that’s worth one point. A “dark horse” being used is worth half a point since that was sort of a backup guess. However, a correct “Why Not?” guess is going to be worth two points since that was basically a hail mary with an unusual combination. Twelve points (one ppg) would be considered a perfect score.

Even though I have no historical data to back this up, six would seem like the baseline for a “success,” given that the 0.5 ppg average would mean that I averaged guessing the correct uniform for every game. If we were TOE fans, anything less than probably ten or eleven would be a disappointment, but if we were Oregon fans, six would feel like a miracle. I think Iowa State falls in a nice sweet spot between the two when it comes to the number of possible combinations.

If anyone else wants to play along, leave your predictions in the comments, and we can tally them up after the season and see who had the best average.

2019 Uniform Prediction Scorecard

Game Favorite Dark Horse Why Not Actual Uniform Points
Game Favorite Dark Horse Why Not Actual Uniform Points
UNI R-R-R R-R-W R-R-B R-R-W 0.5
Iowa R-R-R W-R-R B-B-B R-R-R 1
UL-Monroe R-R-W W-R-W B-R-R W-R-R 0
at Baylor W-W-W W-W-R R-W-B W-W-W 1
at WVU CR-W-W W-W-W W-W-B R-W-R 0
at Texas Tech W-W-R CR-W-B B-W-W R-W-W 0
at Okla. St. CR-B-B R-R-R R-R-B B-R-R 0
at OU W-W-W W-W-R B-W-B W-W-R 0.5
Texas B-B-B New Uni CR-B-B B-B-B 1
Kansas R-R-R W-R-R R-B-R R-R-R 1
at KSU R-W-R W-W-W B-W-W CR-W-W 0

Well, I didn’t hit the six-point mark I arbitrarily defined as a success, but I don’t actually know if that’s a reasonable benchmark to shoot for, so I’m not going to beat myself up too much. Let’s take our crack at the 2021 season.


Two years ago, Iowa State wore red-red-white in a game that was WAY too close for comfort, and nearly made a disappointing season even worse right from the start. From what I can tell Campbell and the players are at least mildly superstitious about uniforms, given the patterns of wearing similar uniform combos against the same team and how many times they wore black last season.

There are two schools of thought you can use to predict this one. Either they’ll come out in all-red since it’s the first home game of the season, or they’ll have at least one white or black piece so they can wear all-red against Iowa and not wear the same uniform two weeks in a row.

Given that this is the first game back with a full crowd, I have a feeling Iowa State will come out in its “standard” home reds to greet all of the excited and anxious Cyclone fans for the first game of the most anticipated season in school history.

Iowa v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

Even if we don’t see the all-reds for the first home game of the season, I really don’t see the Cyclones straying too far into the unusual. I suppose they could wear the same red-red-white they wore in 2019, but I think they’d be more likely to switch it up a little and use the white-red-white combo we saw last year at home against Texas Tech.

I really don’t think we see any black in the uniform for this game since we saw it so much last season (five occasions by my count, including four of the last five games), so if we don’t see either of those two, I like the idea of going with the White-Red-Red we saw against Kansas in 2018, though we haven’t seen that combo since the 2019 UL-Monroe game.

The Favorite: Red-Red-Red

The Dark Horse: White-Red-White

Why Not?: White-Red-Red


This is such a tricky one to pick because the temptation to pick something less common or entirely unique is extremely tempting, given that lots of eyeballs will be on this game. But nothing Iowa State has worn in the CyHawk game since the new group of uniforms came out in 2018 has been particularly adventurous. 2018 was red-white-red, 2019 was all-red, and obviously, there was no game last year.

Would it be awesome if Iowa State wore black against Iowa? Yes. But wearing all-gray in 2017 is completely different than wearing all-black this season, and I don’t know if Campbell is willing to push the black uniforms that far. Lots of people love the black uniforms, but some are still only lukewarm at best on them specifically because Iowa wears black, so wearing black against the Hawks would probably really upset some people.

That said, if the players want to wear black, then it would not shock me to see Iowa State roll out in black on September 11th, but I still think it’s quite a longshot that we see that happen.

The other factor at play here is if there’s a special uniform anywhere on the docket for this season. I haven’t heard any rumors at all about anything of the nature, and given the COVID-related budget shortfalls, I’m guessing we won’t see any special uniforms this season (outside of maybe a new combination or new helmet sticker, both of which are much cheaper than an entire new uniform).

In the end, I don’t think Iowa State gets too crazy with the uniform for this game. This is probably the most important CyHawk game in history for Iowa State, and they’ll likely want to project brand power as best as they can in this game, which means red,

Since I picked the all-reds for the UNI game above and I don’t think they’d wear that combo two games in a row, I’m going to go with the red-red-white combo we saw against UNI in 2019 and Akron in 2018.

Northern Iowa v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

The Favorite: Red-Red-White

The Dark Horse: Red-Red-Red

Why Not?: Black-Black-Black


The first road game of the season means the first time we’re going to see a white jersey. The question is which road uniform we will see. We’ve seen virtually every combination of red and white pieces (all with a white jersey) that’s possible with the current known set of uniforms.

Where this gets interesting is the fact that it’s in Las Vegas at a brand new NFL stadium and thousands of Iowa State fans are expected to make the trip out to the desert to watch the game. It’s also worth noting that UNLV debuted new uniforms last season that are pretty heavy on dark gray and black.

In my mind, the combination of the atmosphere and UNLV’s uniforms screams for a combination that’s heavy on white. The all-whites are a really sharp, clean combo that looked great under the lights in the Alamo Bowl, and would surely do the same in Allegiant Stadium. I think the all-white look makes way too much sense here.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Alamo Bowl - Iowa State v Washington State Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If all-white isn’t the pick, then I think we still see a combo with two white pieces and a red piece. My guess would be the white-white-red we saw at Oklahoma State in 2018 and at Oklahoma in 2019, though the red-white-white we saw in 2019 against Texas Tech would probably be an option as well.

If we’re going to see a new uniform this season at all, this could potentially be one landing spot for it. Obviously, we’ve worn some combination with black at home plenty, but we have yet to see black on the road, partially due to the fact that the white jersey has cardinal numbers with gold trim, and would look weird with the black pieces we’ve already seen.

I don’t see the Cyclones sporting a lot of black, but an all-white uniform with black numbers and names, and the black stencil logo on the white helmet like we saw in the 2019 TCU game could be in play. That uniform would almost surely be dubbed the “stormtrooper” uniform and would look very sharp in that stadium.

The Favorite: All-White with standard colorization

The Dark Horse: White-White-Red

Why Not?: All-White with black numbers, letters, logos, etc.

at Baylor

Two years ago, our Cyclones wore their all-white uniform combo during an absolute scorcher and played an absolutely terrible game. If anything tracks based on my theory that someone involved with picking the uniforms is at least a little suspicious, I would guess we don’t see the all-whites, especially if the team already wore them against UNLV.

I think this is where we see the red-white-white combo from Texas Tech in 2019 or Texas in 2020. It’s combo Iowa State has gone to at least once every single season under Matt Campbell, and this seems like the game we’ll see it.

Iowa State v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

If we don’t see this combo, we could see a combo I mentioned earlier in the white-white-red combo we saw against Oklahoma State in 2018 and at Oklahoma in 2019. In a scenario where we don’t see either of those two, this gets quite a bit more difficult to predict, assuming an all-white uniform is no longer in play.

Could I take the easy way out and just put an all-white uniform as my “Why Not?” and all but guarantee myself a point? Probably, but that’s no fun. If we’re going off the beaten path a little bit, we could see a revival of a uniform we saw at Oklahoma State all the way back in 2017, which featured a white helmet and jersey and grey pants.

Iowa State’s black pants might look a little out of place with two other uniform pieces that don’t feature any black, but it’s just about the only other option besides a tri-color uniform, which Iowa State has not worn since 2017 when they went with a red-white-gray getup at Texas Tech.

The Favorite: Red-White-White

The Dark Horse: White-White-Red

Why Not?: White-White-Black


There’s only one notable combo of red and white left for home games (white-red-white), but I don’t know if we’ll see it for this game. We also could see combos with black and red, but black seems to always be reserved for a particularly important opponent. which Kansas doesn’t really qualify as.

The logical remaining conclusion is the all-red uniforms for the second time in the 2021 season, which is the same thing Iowa State wore at home against the Jayhawks back in 2019.

Kansas v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

If not the all-red combination, then I think we could very well see that white-red-white set I mentioned before, especially since it would be a unique uniform at that point in the season. Otherwise, keep an eye out for the black-red-red combo from the 2018 Baylor and 2019 Oklahoma State games, though I think that set is more likely to appear later in the season against more marquee opponents.

The Favorite: Red-Red-Red

The Dark Horse: White-Red-White

Why Not?: Black-Red-Red

at Kansas State

The last two Farmageddon games to take place in Ames saw Iowa State win in the all-black uniforms, but the 2019 disaster happened in a chrome red-white-white uniform, the same from the 2018 disaster at TCU. For those and other reasons, I think it’s unlikely we see the chrome red helmets again during a game anytime soon.

There are only two common road combinations we have yet to see in our 2021 season up to this point. I think we’re going to see the red-white-red combo from the 2018 game at Iowa and 2019 game at West Virginia.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 Iowa State at West Virginia Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The only other unused combo is the white-white-red combo from 2018 at Oklahoma State and 2019 at Oklahoma, which I’ve mentioned previously, so that’s certainly also in play here. If you need one from completely out of left field, how about a black-white-black combo with a colorized logo on the helmet?

The Favorite: Red-White-Red

The Dark Horse: White-White-Red

Why Not?: Black-White-Black

Oklahoma State

In the 2019 loss at home vs. the Cowboys, we saw a black (with colorized logo)-red-red combo, the same we saw against Baylor at home in 2018 and in the Camping World Bowl. If Campbell is superstitious about this uniform combination at all, I would guess may not see it for a little bit, even if it really is a nice look.

This is a critical game for Iowa State, so it wouldn’t surprise me a ton to see them go with the all-black this game. It’s homecoming weekend after all, and the program may want to show off the black uniforms against what will probably be a nearly-sold out crowd. It’s worth noting that Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State have been a thorn in Iowa State’s side for the last few seasons, so this will be a particularly important game to win.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Iowa State Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

If we don’t see the Cyclones don the all-black uniform, I think we’ll see the white-red-white combination we saw last season against Texas Tech. We haven’t predicted that uniform to be used yet in this projected season, so this may be the game they use it.

If we’re gonna toss a Hail Mary out there, we could reasonably see the black-red-red look again. It’s an undeniably cool look for Iowa State, it won’t have been used at this point in the season, and it would allow Iowa State to use a black piece without having to use the black uniform two home games in a row should they want to wear it against Texas.

The Favorite: Black-Black-Black

The Dark Horse: White-Red-White

Why Not?: Black-Red-Red

at West Virginia

In 2019, we saw a red-white-red combo in Morgantown. They could realistically just use it again since that combo has been successful on the road and it includes two red pieces, which Iowa State tends to use on the road if it’s not a special occasion. Not that this isn’t an important game, but there’s a more important road game in a few weeks that I have a feeling we’ll want to use the all-white uniform for.

I’ve already used it as my dark horse pick a few times, but if it hasn’t been used up to this point, then I think it’s almost a lock that we see the white-white-red combo that we saw against Oklahoma State in 2018 and Oklahoma in 2019.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

If not for this combo or another sighting of the red-white-red combo mentioned before, I think there’s an opportunity to use a new combo. A black helmet with the colorized logo and white jersey and pants.

The Favorite: White-White-Red

The Dark Horse: Red-White-Red

Why Not?: Black-White-White


I know I predicted we would see the all-black look against Oklahoma State, but that they might want to use a different combo so they can use the all-black uniform against without repeating combinations. However, as we saw last season, the Cyclones aren’t afraid to repeat combinations at home, especially the black uniforms when it comes to winning big games.

Well, this is the biggest home game of the season to this point (and maybe overall if the matchup with TCU at the end of the season isn’t for a berth to the title game), Iowa State took down Texas two years ago in the black uniforms, and the team probably has a little extra motivation this season to beat them given the all of the realignment stuff.

NCAA Football: Texas at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

If the all-blacks aren’t used, it stands to reason that we could see that black-red-red combo mentioned above from the Camping World Bowl, 2019 Oklahoma State, and 2018 Baylor. It would be a way to incorporate black into the uniform without having to go to the all-black combo for the second home game in a row.

If not one of those two, I’d love to see a uniform combo that’s never been used, but one I’ve suggested before: black-red-black.

The Favorite: Black-Black-Black

The Dark Horse: Black-Red-Red

Why Not?: Black-Red-Black

at Texas Tech

Iowa State has yet to wear any black uniform piece against Texas Tech, and I can’t imagine this changing on the road, where the Cyclones have also yet to wear any piece of the black uniform. I really can’t imagine that trend changing. Two years ago, the Cyclones wore red-white-white and won comfortably in Lubbock, and I would guess we see that combination again in 2021, especially since we haven’t seen it since the Baylor game in this projected season.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The alternatives to the red-white-white are fairly predictable. We recently used the white-white-red at West Virginia, which leaves the red-white-red and all-white combinations barring any weird situation like KU in 2018 when Iowa State wore a home uniform on the road because of a special KU jersey. I don’t foresee them using the all-white getup in favor of adding a red piece, but it’s not impossible.

The Favorite: Red-White-White

The Dark Horse: Red-White-Red

Why Not?: White-White-White

at Oklahoma

Two years ago we saw the Cyclones wear white-white-red down in Norman as the nearly took down the Sooners in their own stadium for the second time in a row. This time, the stakes might be a lot higher, with a playoff berth potentially on the line. I think Campbell & Co. sees the all-white uniform as their Big Road Game kit, which is exactly what this game is.

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Iowa State vs Washington State Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

I really think the all-white uniform combo is the heavy favorite for this game, but if for whatever reason it isn’t used, I think we only see a maximum of one red piece, given OU’s home uniforms. Since we just saw red-white-white last week against Texas Tech, this would mean a return to the white-white-red we saw in 2019.

However, if Iowa State was going to do a road uniform in the black and white color scheme, this would be the other game to do it besides under the bright lights of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The aforementioned all-white uniform with black numbers, logos (likely to be nicknamed the “Stormtrooper” uniform) would be super slick.

The Favorite: White-White-White

The Dark Horse: White-White-Red

Why Not?: All-White with black numbers, letters, logos, etc.**

** I reserve the right give myself a half point if a white jersey with black numbers is used, but black pants and/or a black helmet are used instead of an all white combination.


Two years ago at home, we saw a brand new combo completely out of left field with a white-black-white combo that featured a black stencil logo on the helmet. I’m sure there were some people that didn’t like it, but I thought it was really cool, and the Cyclones put on a dominant performance in their new uniform combo.

This time around, the game could be quite a bit more meaningful, as TCU is expected to challenge Iowa State and Oklahoma for a spot in the Big 12 title game. So what does this mean? I would put money on seeing at least one black piece. How that manifests is the entire question. I don’t think we see the all-blacks for a third straight game, though.

For my money, I think we’ll see the black-black-white combo from the Baylor game last season. It didn’t get much attention, but I think it’s every bit as good as the all-black uniform.

Baylor v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

I don’t think we’ll see the white-black-white twice in a row against the same team, but one other combination we have not yet seen in this new batch of uniforms is the white and black helmet from 2019 TCU with a black jersey and black pants. I think it could be a pretty cool option to keep switching up the black uniform pieces so they don’t get stale.

I know I’ve suggested it a few times already as both a primary and secondary option, but if it hasn’t been used to this point, I think the black-red-red combo would be fairly likely as a way to add a red component.

The Favorite: Black-Black-White

The Dark Horse: Black-Red-Red

Why Not?: White-Black-Black

If you want to take a crack at it and see how you do, you’re absolutely encouraged to leave your guesses below in the comments. We’ll tally all of them up at the end up the season and see who gets the highest score.