Appreciating and understanding graphical design concepts is not my strong point, and I suppose these NIU uniforms look OK. They'll look better if they win, I'm sure. In fact I'll admit only to myself and you fine souls that the numbers on these uniforms is actually quite excellent.
Having said that ... I was watching one of the bowl games last night and Brian Griese was the analyst. They flashed back to his playing days with Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Their uniforms looked exactly as they do today (or at least are supposed to). And it felt correct, being able to compare one generation of football with this one.
Some of this speaks back to what I wrote a few months ago: new uniforms create non-uniform memories. If they showed up with their usual road whites, then here's the statement it would make: we're the same team you haven't watched all season, and here's what you missed. A new uniform aesthetically detaches this Orange Bowl game from their incredible 12-1 season. (If they lose to Florida State by 30, maybe that's a good thing.) If they want to have special uniforms, then perhaps go back to the early 2000s drop shadow craze, signifying and honoring where this program once resided and celebrating men like Joe Novak and Michael Turner who bridged the gap between futility and excellence. But if the pro sports teams can handle wearing their same jerseys for playoffs, then college ought to keep their heads in check and try to win with the garbs that got them here.
In reality, I understand why they have new space-age uniforms: primarily because Adidas wanted to, and because everyone else is doing it. Far be it from Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl to change the way we do football uniforms, but most of the special alternates are already starting to blend together. Whatever. At least they got the color scheme and logo in there.