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Which Game(s) Will Ohio State Wear Alternate Uniforms?

There's a rich history to the Ohio State alternate uniforms. The game vs. Iowa was announced as an alternate game. Will there be more?
ohio state alternate uniforms

Perhaps among the most divisive concepts among the Ohio State fanbase is the utilization of alternate uniforms. The Buckeye faithful prides itself on tradition and the belief that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The traditional scarlet home jerseys and white away jerseys are among the cleanest in all of college football.

Throughout the years, Ohio State has utilized a handful of alternate jerseys. From modern throwbacks to color swaps to brand-new fabrications, the Buckeye brand has seen some different looks. To date, Ohio State has run out 14 different alternate uniforms. Some look similar to the normal garb. Others have been creative deviations.

Recruits seem to love the different creations, so the Buckeyes like to switch it up when the high schoolers are in town. There are 12 games on the 2024 schedule and any of them could feature some Ohio State alternate uniforms. So, which ones will it be?

When Will the Ohio State Alternate Uniforms Be Worn?

Already Confirmed: vs Iowa on October 5

As kickoff times trickle in, so do special events for games. Announced alongside the other seven special events for the home games, the October 5 game against Iowa will feature the all-gray alternate uniforms.

This will be the second time the Buckeyes will rock the all-gray edition of the kits. Last year, Ohio State beat Michigan State, 38-3 in the debut.

To date, Ohio State owns a 47-15-3 record over the Hawkeyes. The last time these two teams faced off, Ohio State came away victorious, 54-10. In games not involving Ohio State, Iowa allowed fewer than 10 points per game in 2022. In the matchup before that, Iowa was the one rocking the alternates and pick-sixed its way to a demoralizing 55-24 win in 2017.

Next Best Bets: vs Marshall, vs Nebraska, vs Indiana

Of the three marquee matchups on the Buckeyes’ schedule, two are on the road. Thus, there are few options for the Ohio State alternate uniforms to come out against high-profile opponents. Even then, if the Buckeyes are going to change it up more than once, there are a few options.

To start, Marshall is not exactly the matchup that many have circled. These two programs have faced off just once and it resulted in a narrow 24-21 Ohio State victory in 2004. The Buckeyes needed a 54-yard field goal from Mike Nugent with 17 seconds remaining to win. This year, the matchup with Marshall is dubbed the “Scarlet and Gray Game.” Thus far, there has been no explanation as to what that entails. However, that could mean some different aesthetics on the field.

Next, the Buckeyes host Nebraska for Homecoming. Normally, this wouldn’t be an opportunity to switch it up. However, along with Homecoming, Ohio State announced “Scarlet the Shoe.” Last year, the Buckeyes held the same event with Penn State coming to town but wore the standard home uniforms. Two years prior, they debuted scarlet pants to go with the traditional scarlet top. Could that be the plan for Nebraska?

Finding a third option was tough. It was honestly between Indiana and Western Michigan. It’s unlikely that Ohio State would burn an alternate on a non-conference foe. If the Indiana game is slated for a non-noon kickoff, this could be an option. The Buckeyes could shake it up a week before their big matchup with Michigan.

Probably Not: vs Akron, vs Western Michigan, vs Purdue

Some games are less likely than others, to say the least. To start, the Akron game is Week 1. While the game is already cemented to be a 3:30 P.M. kickoff, Ohio State is not going to feature alternate uniforms in its season opener.

The 7:30 P.M. kickoff for the Western Michigan game does give some pause. A night game against a team the Buckeyes are expected to roll over? Prime option. However, as much fun as it would be to see one of the different combinations under the lights, there are better options.

Finally, the game against Purdue is dubbed “Military Appreciation” week. For a while, the Boilermakers have been a stick in the Buckeyes’ craw. Since 2000, only Michigan (five times) has beaten Ohio State more times than Purdue (four times). As Iowa did in 2017, Purdue rolled out alternate uniforms against Ohio State in 2018 and rolled, 49-20.

Please No: vs Michigan

For some reason, of the 27 regular-season instances of Ohio State wearing alternates, seven were in games against Michigan. While paying homage to past greats is commendable, maybe using them against the one true rival is missing the mark. Of those seven, two were throwbacks, one was a throwback/College Football Playoff top with a different throwback helmet, three were “Rivalry” alternates, and the final was a white version of the out-of-left-field “Land of the Wolves” concept.

As sharp as all of these were, The Game is not the place. Considering that the 2017 matchup was the last time Ohio State wore anything other than its traditional uniforms, perhaps it’s been nipped in the bud. If anything is worth changing in this rivalry, it would be to switch it up to mimic what USC and UCLA do. Imagine a scarlet vs. blue matchup on the Saturday following Thanksgiving each year.

It would be art.

Look Good, Feel Good

Ohio State alternate uniforms are like your favorite candy: moderation is key. One or two pieces are good. Anything more is gluttony.

There is still a minute chance Ohio State breaks something different out for a road game. Nine of those 27 regular-season switcheroos were on the road. Additionally, each of the Buckeyes’ seven CFP games has featured a modernized version of the 1968 throwbacks with the Nike Diamond Quest template.

In the Ryan Day era, Ohio State has worn alternates nine times. However, the Buckeyes have never suited up multiple times during the regular season. Since 2019, alternates have been worn just once per regular season. There is a very real possibility that the all-gray alternates against Iowa will be the only alternates worn.


ohio state alternate uniforms
Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch


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