Some stories seem so obvious, you wonder why they never popped up before. That was my reaction when I recently got a note from reader Benjamin Guest. I’ll let him tell the tale in his own words:
Auburn University recently released their schedule for the 2008 season. Scanning over it, I realized there was a team I knew absolutely nothing about, the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. So I went to their website to scope out their uniforms.
Shocking stuff awaited. They appear to be wearing Auburn’s uniforms. Every stripe is exactly the same, the team name on the chest is identical in shape, type and placement. Here’s their quarterback, and here’s our quarterback, Brandon Cox. Their road whites match Auburn’s whites, too. So next year’s match-up at Auburn should look a lot like the annual A-Day game that ends spring practice.
The obvious difference is Auburn’s Under Armour logo vs. UTM’s Russell logo. But here’s the thing: Auburn, due to its proximity to Russell headquarters, wore Russell uniforms until the 2006 season. Here’s Brandon Cox in 2005 wearing a Russell jersey — perhaps the exact same jersey the Skyhawk QB is wearing in that other photo.
Did Russell just have piles of unused Auburn jerseys? Did they rip “Tigers” off the chest and sew “Skyhawks” in its stead? Apparently this is the first season that they’ve been copying our style. Last year they were outfitted by Nike and wore lots of royal blue. And after poking around on their web site, it looks like all their teams wore royal last season.
One really odd thing about all this: seeing long-retired Auburn numbers back in action, like Bo Jackson’s number on a Martin player.
Fascinating stuff. We’ve seen plenty of examples of a team being forced to wear its opponent’s uniforms due to a luggage snafu or some similar special circumstance, but are there other examples of two opposing teams whose standard designs are more or less identical? Seems like we would have seen this come up before, but nothing’s coming to mind.
Also, does anyone know more about how Tennessee-Martin ended up with this Auburn-esque design? Benjamin’s theory about Russell simply dumping a lot of surplus Auburn gear on UTM sounds depressingly plausible.
Next-to-Last Will and Testament, More or Less: Tomorrow morning I have to undergo what promises to be a rather nasty round of oral surgery. That is not code for oral sex, or tearing into a big-ass steak, or throwing darts at Orel Hershiser — it’s your basic periodontal torture session staring me in the face, and I’m told it will be exactly zero fun. There’s still about 24 hours for me to be run over by a truck or struck by lightning before the procedure commences, but with my luck that probably won’t happen. Dang.
Anyway: Depending on how miserable and/or looped on painkillers I am afterward, it is possible — not likely, but possible — that we’ll have to run an open thread on Thursday or Friday. It’s also possible — again, not likely, but possible — that I’ll enjoy the painkillers so much that I’ll just stay in bed with a big, goofy smile on my face until the prescription runs out. So if things are a little weird over the next few days, blame it on the dental profession.
Uni Watch News Ticker: I think this was originally supposed to read, “Free Mike Vick jerseys available at the merch table on Level 2,” but they ran out of room. ”¦ Decal maven Chris Willis checked in regarding the Bears’ chronically torn helmet logos: “Don’t know what’s going on, but we’re going to try to find out. As the decals get colder, they tend to get brittle — my Canadian guys tell me that sometimes the decals get so cold up there that they just shatter.” ”¦ Southern Illinois had some uni number problems over the weekend (with thanks to Drew VanNess). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Willis McGahee’s “Ravens” chest wordmark was missing once again on Sunday. ”¦ Forgot to mention yesterday that Minnesota’s two starting CBs both wore solid white socks, which made them look like ballet artists, as you can here (with thanks to Wayne Yeung for the overhead shot). ”¦ Rob Ward reports that the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL will be wearing jerseys to honor the Boise State Broncos football team. Details here. ”¦ Serious typo the other day at UW-Milwaukee, where Jineen Williams’s jersey read, “Milaukee” (with thanks to Jerre Schlax). ”¦ Reprinted from last night’s comments: Byron Leftwich has been wearing a teal undershirt, presumably left over from his Jaguars days. ”¦ Also from last night: Bob Sanders of the Colts had some helmet stripe problems on Sunday night. ”¦ Indiana will be wearing two helmet stripes at the Insight Bowl. … While researching last night’s Brooklyn Dodgers presentation, I came across this photo. Check out the guy who’s very out of uniform at the far left. Dem Bums? Dem buns!