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Who Wore It Best? Khakis Edition

Jim Harbaugh, our favorite khaki-obsessed rival and Big Ten coach will be back in town this weekend for another White Out clash under the lights.

Harbaugh has been the subject of constant jokes and memes from the media about his passion for khakis, and his insistence of wearing them at all times — whether he’s at work, the gym, or relaxing at home. Harbaugh even has a graduate assistant act as a khaki intern:

Harbaugh might have the strongest passion for khakis we’ve ever seen in college football, but he definitely isn’t the first or the last college coach to religiously don khakis on Saturdays. Here’s how he has stacked up against Penn State coaches:

Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh has had a transformation of sorts with his khaki wear after trading in his $10 khakis from Walmart and using his Michigan money to upgrade to $128 LuluLemon khaki pants.

SB Nation writer Spencer Hall reviewed Harbaugh’s Walmart brand pants back in 2014, and boy, did he have takes. On another note, if you’re looking for more material to point and laugh at Jim Harbaugh this week, SB Nation has a tag called “Jim Harbaugh Is Weird” on its website featuring tons of articles about Harbaugh’s oddball tendencies.

Hall claims that even though the pants Harbaugh tried on were a size too short for him, the pant legs still “flopped down onto my shoetops like harem pants.” The photographic evidence of Harbaugh during his tenure with the 49ers supports Hall’s thesis:

Wow. This right here is a BRICK of a fit. Bell bottom khakis weren’t even cool back in the 70s. These pants are so wide, Hall claimed to have “put a soccer ball into them just to see how far it would get down the pants leg,” and it stopped just below the knee.

However, Harbaugh seemed to find the error of his ways over the years, as his Lululemon khakis, worth 10x as much as his Walmart pair, offer a much more flattering boot cut:

These new pants matched with Harbaugh’s fresh J’s give the milk-chugging head coach a much cleaner look when he’s throwing tantrums on the sidelines.

James Franklin

Look at that crease! Does that man have an iron in the locker room?

Unlike Harbaugh, Coach Franklin will occasionally rock sweatpants during practice and while walking around campus, because hey, there’s nothing wrong with comfort. But on gameday, Penn State’s dad is all business and always correct with a fresh pair of either khakis or chinos to go along with his Nike dry-fit shirt and running shoes.

Not much is known or said about Franklin’s khaki game, probably because he wears them like a normal human being, and doesn’t, oh I don’t know, dive into swimming pools while wearing them multiple times.

Joe Paterno

While Harbaugh and Franklin put in valiant efforts with their pantwear, they both missed one crucial touch. The gold standard of khakis — and I believe the only right way to wear khakis and look crisp — is simple: roll them jawnz up like a storm is coming.

JoePa Made Khakis Great Again. Throw on a pair of Nike Cortez’s and boom, you’re ready to go out and become the winningest coach in college football.

Eat your heart out, Jim Harbaugh. Sure, you’re trying to make khakis and milk your brand, but until you start cuffing your pants, you can’t play with the big cats.

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About the Author

Matthew Ogden

Matthew Ogden is a senior double majoring in Marketing and Journalism. He resides in South Jersey and is the cohost of Onward State's podcast, Podward State, and the blog's preeminent expert on Kanye West. Email him your favorite Spotify playlists to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MattOgden98.


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