At some point, Nike has to hit a point of diminishing returns with its creativity on Oregon football uniforms, but if there is an inevitable end, it will not be this Saturday. Nike co-founder Phil Knight's alma mater will unveil its "Oregon Pioneers" design at home against Washington State.
Like most Oregon jerseys, there is a lot going on. So much so with these new gray-based jerseys that every uniform is actually different. From the chest to the waist, each Pioneers jersey features a unique portion of the Oregon Trail, stretching from the northeastern to southern part of the state. Lucky players will get parts of Eugene and Mt. Hood.
Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark make it to both sides of the helmet. Lewis is seen looking through a telescope, with the Oregon Duck pointing west in front of the them.
Thomas Jefferson's hand makes a cameo on the front bumper of the helmet. The handshake depicted is the same design as seen on the Thomas Jefferson Peace Medals the nation's third president presented to Lewis and Clark.
"The handshake signifies both what Nike was built upon (with the agreement between Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight) and what Thomas Jefferson wanted to advance as the Corps of Discovery traveled west," says Paul Sullivan, Nike NCAA football art director and lead University of Oregon designer.
Has Nike discovered a new frontier we do not know about?
The back of the helmet contains what appears to be a standard American flag. However, the image includes only 33 stars, representing the U.S. flag in the two years between Oregon's acceptance to the union as the 33rd state in 1859 and Kansas' admission in 1861. The lines that wrap around the helmet represent the 2,200-mile-long Oregon Trail.
Other pioneer-specific details of the jersey include the Lewis and Clark-inspired Duck pointing west on the socks and the words "Salute The State" on the inside collar.
In less-exciting Nike jersey news, No. 1 Ohio State announced it will wear its first black jersey Oct. 17 when it hosts Penn State.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.