The Nike hegemony in the College Football Playoff is over. With Notre Dame’s bid as the 3 seed the little private school in northern Indiana becomes the first Under Armour partner to participate in the national semifinals. To mark such an occasion, the Fighting Irish will be sporting special uniforms when they take the field against #2 Clemson in the Cotton Bowl on December 29th.

Titled “Rush 4 Gold” the new uniform set features a shiny metallic gold trim and raised textured blue material on the numbers and sleeve monogram, the tag-line on the inside collar, Cotton Bowl patch, with green gloves and footwear accessories.

For the first time in modern history* Notre Dame will wear its 5th different football jersey in a single season. Here are some comments and questions about this unique offering from Under Armour.

Why the Green?

It’s not entirely clear (it rarely is for these things) why this set features green gloves and cleats. The jersey seems overwhelmingly popular but the green seems to have everyone scratching their heads.

It makes me wonder how far in advance Under Armour and Notre Dame were working on putting something like this together. The team has worn green gloves and cleats in the past so they’re not new in that sense. The metallic gold outsole on the cleats is definitely fitting the theme, though. You have to think with all the taped wrists and ankles that the green really won’t be that visible but it’s still a curious choice all the same.

When news broke late Thursday that there would be a special playoff uniform many fans immediately were drawn to the 1992 Sugar Bowl uniforms but especially the white uniforms worn in the 1978 and 1979 Cotton Bowls. The latter seemed like a layup throwback in Notre Dame’s return to the Cotton and would’ve meant basically swapping out the blue on the uniform for green.

Blue Version?

The higher seed in the playoff is the home team which means if the Irish and Oklahoma are victorious in the semifinals then Notre Dame would have the right to wear blue. I’m sure Under Armour is guessing Alabama will win or that the Irish would possibly choose to wear white again in a possible National Championship Game.

But, let’s say Under Armour has a blue jersey version of this uniform. What happens if the Irish lose to Clemson? What do they do with those uniforms? Do they have them ready sans-Cotton Bowl patch to be used as the standard uniform next year (I’d be okay with that we’re heading towards the 10th year without any modest change to the jerseys), is there something else entirely planned for a blue jersey if necessary, or would the Irish wear nothing different if they needed to be in blue? No way is green available for the championship, right?

For Sale?

For the consumers out there it’s a bummer that these jerseys are unlikely to be sold to the public. The school already has a collection of playoff, Cotton Bowl, and “Rush 4 Gold” gear ready for sale without the jersey available.

For one, the school doesn’t sell jerseys with bowl patches. Strike one. The team will presumably be wearing nameplates as per tradition in recent years and they don’t sell those either. Strike two. If you’re really committed you could always get those accessories sewn on yourself.

However, it’s very unlikely the school will mass produce the jerseys with the unique and quality numbers/monogram. A replica version wouldn’t accurately reflect the metallic trim (remember the 2012 Shamrock Series replica jersey?) and an authentic version wouldn’t shock me if it was pushing well over $200.00 when the normal jerseys of the same kind cost $120.00 today. This might be one of the few times in history where Notre Dame declines an opportunity to make more money.

If Notre Dame beats Clemson these game-worn jerseys could fetch quite the price on the secondary market. Some day we’ll see a guy tailgating with one and he will be winning.

*Technically, a few other years would qualify for 5 in a season:

2011: Standard home and away, Under the Lights throwbacks, Shamrock Series green & Champs Sports Bowl patch on the home jersey.

1979: Truly a schizophrenic year including, a plain green jersey with yellow numbers, the same jersey with collar trim, the same jersey with collar trim and nameplate, road white with no nameplate, and road white with nameplate.

1977: The first schizophrenic year with standard blue home and away, green machine homes, and a pair of white road sets with green numbers, one with nameplates and one without.