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Rose Bowl intangible? New Oregon Ducks helmet

Nike and Hydro Graphics' design ready to take wing in Monday's spotlight
by: Courtesy of Nike Inc. Nike’s new Pro Combat system uniform that the Ducks will unveil in the Rose Bowl features a new silver-winged helmet that shimmers under the lights.

LOS ANGELES - It shimmers, but will it shimmer too much in the sunlight of Southern California and the lights of the Rose Bowl?

The new Oregon helmet for the Rose Bowl - silvery metallic, reflective - resembles a mirror. You can see yourself in it.

Could this cause distraction or disorientation, therefore rendering it illegal? One guesses not, as the Ducks plan to wear it.

"Dang, this is really their face mask?" an admiring Wisconsin center Peter Konz said Friday. "I'm going to have like metallic stains on my jersey. Wow. That's pretty cool, though."

Nike, Hydro Graphics Inc. and Riddell helmets collaborated on the helmet, and nothing like it has been worn before. The helmets are to be worn with UO's Nike Pro Combat uniforms.

"If they are (distracting), you've got to deal with it," Wisconsin safety Aaron Henry says. "I don't think it'll be a problem."

"I don't think it'll be a concern," UW linebacker Kevin Claxton adds. "The ball is the main focus. I don't think the helmet will be an issue. I don't see anything wrong with it."

Says QB Russell Wilson: "You know where guys are, you know where they're going to be. Won't be a problem."

Yes, but the Wisconsin players have not seen the helmets in the sunlight or under lights.

Coach Bret Bielema is confident that the powers-that-be that run the Rose Bowl and BCS have checked into the legality of the helmets, and that his own administration has signed off on it.

Nike has been innovative with its uniform and helmet designs, and Oregon has been one of its showcase teams.

So, what's next, an invisible ensemble, akin to a stealth spy drone?

As traditional as college teams get, Wisconsin has branched out by working with Adidas on its Rose Bowl uniform, which incorporates figures of the rose petal into its red numbers and lettering.

"Subtle, but classic to what Wisconsin is," Wilson says.

"We're not as wild as Oregon," Claxton adds, "but it's different. It's nice."

Claxton says the Badger players are proud to wear traditional uniforms and helmets.

"These uniforms have been worn for many years by many great players," he says. "We try to embrace what we have here. Not many other schools can stick to what they're doing. That's what makes us: We stick to what we're doing."

Bielema says the Badgers won't be going the way of Oregon and its uniform/helmet fashion, "as long as I'm the coach at Wisconsin."