The University of Oregon football program is known for its devoted fans and its creative uniforms. A decade ago, the university–in a move that other teams would follow–teamed with Oregon-based Nike (naturally) to help it create a brand image that would penetrate the national consciousness. Yesterday University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was awarded the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious of all college sports awards. It is the first time in history that a player from the University of Oregon has won the Heisman. (More info on Mariota at heismancentral.com.)
Oregon (12-1) is the No. 2 seed in this year’s inaugural College Football Playoff. The Ducks will play Florida State (and last year’s Heisman winning quarterback Jameis Winston) in the first round on January 1. Last year Oregon built a luxurious 145,000 square foot Football Performance Center for the team, paid for by a donation from Phil Knight, Nike founder and Oregon alum. Oregon embraces the nickname “The University of Nike.” But each of the teams in this year’s College Football Playoffs will be wearing new Nike uniforms designed specifically for the playoffs. None of the athletes will be paid for any of this.