By Phil Hecken (aka “Skipper”)
It’s that time again — Bowl Season. And it’s time to preview the uniforms of all 70 teams (over two days) and to predict, using my not-so-foolproof forumla, the winners of each of the bowls, using the Las Vegas spreads.
Last year, you’ll recall I had a collaborator, Robert Marshall (aka “Shipwreck”), who is a far, far more knowledgeable sort, and a Bowl historian, to boot. In fact, he had come up with some pretty neat, non-corporate names for each of the Bowls (many of which were the Bowl’s actual original name — example, the
Chick-fil-a er, “Chicken Sandwich Bowl” was actually known as the “Peach Bowl” at one time). All that’s changed, now, and all but a few of the Bowls have taken on a corporate sponsorship.
Now, you’ll recall that Paul had issued a UW style guide for referencing each of the Bowls — and I’ll abide by that in all my writings except for today and tomorrow — for the names that Shipwreck used for each of the Bowls last year have been grandfathered in and will be used for the annual Bowl Preview. If you missed last year’s “back and forth” between myself and Shipwreck, here is Part I and here is Part II.
Unfortunately, Shipwreck is too busy for us to “team up” on the Bowl Preview/Predictions this year, so I’ll have to go it alone. I’m still going to make my predictions based on who has the better uniform, but I’m changing it up slightly this time around. In years past, I’d base my prediction on what I thought the teams would wear — and oftentimes that isn’t even close. So this year, I’m going to base my decision on the entirety of their 2013 uniform palette. Whomever I feel has the best OVERALL set of uniforms (whether it be two, like Alabama or Auburn; or 200 like Oregon or Baylor). Over the years, I’m slightly better than 50% picking winners (with the spread), so maybe my new strategy will pay off this year.
I’ll tackle the first 17 Bowls today, and the final 18 will be previewed tomorrow. Where possible, I’ll include factoids, history or other tid-bits to spice things up. For each Bowl, click the teams to see the uniforms worn during the season. Those will be followed by a date/time/location (all times Eastern). Bowl “previews” are included and the “home” team designation for each bowl can be found here.
OK? OK. And away we go:
“Branded Activewear Bowl” (“Corn Bowl”):
The first bowl of the season features the beautiful green and gold CSU Rams vs. WSU Cougars who wear crimson and gray. Here’s a pretty cool uni retrospective for the Rams. The teams have already revealed their jerseys & helmets. While WSU’s colors are fine, they’re no contest for those of the Rams.
The Pick: Give me the Rams and 4 and a half points.
“Automotive Lubricants and Fluids Bowl” (“Jazzy Raisin Bowl”):
Fresno State Bulldogs vs. University of Southern California Trojans
Designated Home Team: USC Trojans
Date/Time: Saturday, December 21; 3:30pm (ABC)
Spread: USC is favored by 6 points
The Jazzy Raisin Bowl matches up the 25th ranked USC Trojans in their classic cardinal and gold versus the #20 ranked Bulldogs, who have a plethora of uniforms. Here’s a look at the patch both teams will wear. I like the Bulldogs throwback helmets (which I believe they’ll be wearing) but theirs is no match for the Trojan look, especially if USC is the designated home team.
The Pick: I’ll take the Trojans and give the six.
“Tuber Bowl” (“Potato Bowl”):
The SUNY Buffalo Bulls sport royal blue and black, which is never a good combination, while the SDSU Aztecs are black, scarlet and gold. Neither school has a particularly attractive uniform, but that red helmet of SDSU is gorgeous (and I don’t normally like shiny things). They’ve also moved from fairly crappy uniforms with lots of bumperstickers to fairly classic looking unis with nice shoulder loops. That tips the scales in my book.
The Pick: I’ll take the Aztecs and the point.
“18-Wheeler Bowl” (“Pelican Bowl”):
The first night of the Bowl season concludes with a matchup of the UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns taking on the Tulane Green Wave down in New Orleans. There was a time when Tulane had great uniforms. Unfortunately, that time is not now, especially since they’ve gone GFGS on us. The Cajuns, on the other hand, have dumped the crappy uniforms and look presentable. It’s actually not even close in the looks department this time around. And, ULL will be wearing these blue dog decals ” in honor of Louisiana artist George Rodrigue” who passed away last Saturday. At “home” and getting points? Yeah, gimme those Cajuns.
The Pick: I’ll take the Ragin’ Cajuns and the four and a half points.
“Embarrassingly Named Restaurant Chain Bowl” (“Cigar Bowl”):
A mid-week, mid-day bowl featuring the ECU Pirates and Ohio Bobcats usually doesn’t generate the interest of the earlier (and later) bowls, but they will still play it. Now, I don’t the distaste for purple that Paul does, but I’m still not a big fan of the all purple look. And they did go BFBS. Now, Ohio has some really nice white and green unis (and they will wear a green jersey in this bowl), but they too had a blackout AND they wore those, um…brick things. This a tough call. In a nod to the beautiful green & white over the purple & gold, I’ll take the ‘cats.
The Pick: Gimme the Bobcats and the 13 and a half points.
“Hotel Bowl” (“Poi Bowl”):
With the Beavers as the home team, we might see a very bright matchup in Hawaii, and we never know what we’ll get with Boise, as they could wear white, gray or maybe even go color vs. color. Who knows. We know is they’ll be wearing this patch, and OSU will break out a new combo of black/black/white. That’s why I’m picking the unis in totality: and while I actually like Boise’s look, their penchant for BFBS and GFGS eliminates them from consideration. The Beav’s got new unis this year, and while those facemasks are brutal, the rest of the uniform isn’t bad at all. Makes it easy to pick OSU.
The Pick: I’ll take the Beavers and the field goal.
“‘Pizza’ Bowl” (“Cherry Bowl”):
Boxing Day features two bowl games, and the first is Bowling Green vs. Pitt. The unis are actually pretty much of a draw here, although it has always annoyed my OCD that a team with “Green” in its name wears orange and brown. Still, until Pitt returns to script and mustard/royal, I’ll always have to hold it against them in the uni department (they’ll be wearing their white jerseys in the bowl). It’s a squeaker, but I’ll hope the Falcons fly.
The Pick: I’ll take the Falcons and give the 5 points.
“Credit Union Bowl” (“Poinsettia Bowl”):
The second game of Boxing Night pits the NIU Huskies and Utah State Aggies in beautiful San Diego. I was a big NIU fan during the season, and really hoped they’d end up being a BCS buster, but alas, they got crushed by BGSU wearing special costumes; they also wore some flag desecration unis as well. That’s all I need to know. The Aggies got a new set of white, gray and navy blue unis this year, and they actually don’t look too bad. Easy call here, gotta be Utah State.
The Pick: I want the Aggies and I’ll take the point and a half.
“Military-Industrial Complex Bowl” (“Congressional Bowl”):
Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Maryland Terrapins
Designated Home Team: Maryland
Date/Time: Friday, December 27; 2:30pm (ESPN)
Spread: Marshall is a 2.5 point favorite
The “Congressional Bowl” matches up the Terps and Herd in a game which is basically in Maryland’s back yard. But the uni matchup here completely favors the Herd (who look like they’ll be wearing a green jersey). UMd actually as a couple unis I like (the “white ops” and “black ops”) but their overall portfolio is just a mess (although they may be wearing their White Ops unis). Still, it’s an easy call here, as it’s Marshall in a (uni) rout.
The Pick: Gimme the Thundering Herd and keep the points.
“Texas Bowl” (“Bluebonnet Bowl”)
The second game of the day pits Minnesota and Syracuse and it could be gold and orange…or it could be maroon & blue. Syracuse would have had a slight edge in the uni department had it not gone with this this two color helmet mid-season. Ugh. Interestingly, despite being the home team, we know Minnesota will wear this white helmet, so they’d better go with white pants. It’s close, but the Gophers get the nod.
The Pick: I want the Golden Gophers and will give the four points.
“Fight Hunger Bowl” (“Fight Hunger Bowl”)
The third and final bowl of the day features the Huskies and the Cougars, and again, the uni differences are stark. BYU is conservative and classic, with Northwestern stripes and only two colors (navy and white) while Washington goes with purple & gold (and really shiny gold, and black). No contest, really. Both will have this beautiful patch. The uniform battle goes to BYU (and we may get a really bad combo for UW).
The Pick: I’ll take the Cougars and the field goal.
“Baseball Cap Bowl” (“Gotham Bowl”)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Designated Home Team: Irish
Date/Time: Saturday, December 28; 12:00 noon (ESPN)
Spread: Notre Dame is a 15.5 point favorite
Brief Bowl History
Saturday’s opening game matches “home” team Notre Dame vs. Rutgers at Yankee Stadium. While the Irish have fallen a bit under adidas’ spell in recent years (busting out several one-off costumes), they have remained fairly true to their roots. Even the shiny gold dome is a nice addition. Rutgers, OTOH, features a modern Nike design that tries a bit too hard for that “knight in shining armor” battle scarred look, and has too many special unis. This tips the scales towards the Irish, who will be wearing blue tops and should have NOB (a bowl tradition). If you’re heading to this game, be sure to pick up a cap (not).
The Pick: I’ll take the Fighting Irish and give the 15 and a half points.
“Department Store Bowl” (“Queen City Bowl”)
This bowl between UNC and UC is taking place in Charlotte, giving the Heels the “home” field advantage. They’ll need it. Neither team has particularly attractive unis, and UNC has worn some particularly brutal combos this year. Cincy has stuck with white, red and black and I’ll give them an ever-so-slight edge, due to UNC’s BFBS (they claim the “black” comes from the “tar heel”). Both teams have either hinted at or displayed unis and it might not be as bad as possible — looks like it will be color vs. color as well (UNC will have their Carolina blue top and the Bearcats will be red/black/red, with a new helmet look). Tough call, uni wise, but I’ll go with Cincy.
The Pick: I’ll take the Bearcats and the field goal.
“Sportswear Bowl” (“Zombie Tangerine Bowl”)
You’d think the uni matchup of the Canes and Cards would be close in my eyes, but it’s not. Cincy was never very ‘bumperstickery’ but they’ve come to adopt a very nice pattern for their unis, giving them a very “uniform” look. Miami, has been all over the map in recent years, but has seemed to settle into a “look” (and some think their “butt stripe” pants look a bit like the state of Florida). However, they did introduce a new “smoke” uni so that’s another strike against them. I’ll go with Louisville here.
The Pick: I’m taking the Cardinals and giving the three and a half points.
“Sports Bar Bowl” (“Copper Bowl”)
In previous years, a matchup of KSU and UM would have tipped in favor of the ‘cats, since Michigan had fallen prey to the multi-uni parade, but this year, the Wolverines stayed classic. Their home uni is still iconic, but their road uni loses ever-so-slight points for the wavy maize line on the chest. Other than that, they’re tremendous. K State unis are modeled after the Dallas Cowboys, and have remained basically unchanged for several years. A tough call, but the Wolverines, with only two unis this year, get the edge (barely).
The Pick: Gimme the Wolverines and the 4 points.
“Helicopter Bowl” (“Bastard Oil Bowl Classic”)
The clash between MTSU and Navy takes place before noon — and the Middies are used to rising at dawn (right?), so that should give them at least a psychological advantage. But what about the unis? The Blue Raiders’ seem to have a penchant for BFBS, and when you have “Blue” in your name, you probably shouldn’t wear black, right? Right. Navy’s kept the “special” unis to just their Army/Navy special this year (although they’re wearing Navy pants in addition to the gold they usually sport). Solid either way. Gotta lean toward the Middies here.
The Pick: I’ll take the Midshipmen and give the six points.
“Mortgage Broker Bowl” (“Music City Bowl”)
Down in Nashville, Ole Miss and the Ramblin’ Wreck will meet for the Music City Bowl, with Tech designated as the home team. Not that it matters, since GT pretty much always wears white. They did have a beautiful throwback they wore this year, and they’ve really gotten away from the crappy unis of years past. Ole Miss also has some great unis, so this one is a tough call, but I’m going to lean towards the Rebs, who’ll be wearing red jerseys.
The Pick: I’ll go with the Rebels and give the 3 points.
And that’s going to do it for Part I. Feel free to disagree with my picks (or tell me my choices are great) or whatever. And if you want to post your own picks for some head-to-head action, bring it on! Back with Part II tomorrow.
In case you weren’t aware of it, yesterday the Oregon Ducks unveiled a pair of new uniforms, one of which (probably the white) will be worn during their bowl game against Texas. Before we go any further, lets have a look see (it’s a slideshow, but if you can’t view it on your device, here’s a link to the set) at what Phil Knight hath wrought:
Nike’s press release includes a lot of Nike-speak about the tech specs of these unis, which they’re calling “the latest Nike Pro Combat “Mach Speed” uniform, the most innovative Nike Pro Combat system of dress to date.” Read that at your own discretion.
But when you get through the tech-speak, there are two actual grafs describing the unis:
The new 2014 uniform design updates the traditional Duck wing pattern to cover the entire shoulder and arm panels. This bold, directional split-wing pattern update spreads out from the center of the chest helps to provide increased abrasion protection across the shoulders. The pant design showcases strong graphic embellishments, reading “Oregon” on the right leg and “Ducks” on the left. Oregon’s latest helmet design features a split wing pattern that mimics the shoulder design.
Steel silver wings that transition to lightning yellow at the armhole highlight the black uniform. Both the baselayer top and sock match this lightning yellow color and the uniform’s black helmet features a steel silver wing mimicking the shoulder. Fighting Duck Green takes center stage atop the white uniform, coloring the shoulder wings and highlighting the baselayer. A carbon fiber helmet embellished with lightning yellow wings finishes the white uniform look.
While some of you may be concerned with “optimal thermoregulation,” “Nike Chain Maille 2.0 mesh” and “Laser perforated mesh,” I’m more concerned with how it looks.
As of now, there are only two iterations, a black and yellow and a white and green version. They’re actually not all that different from the current uni set, and it looks to me like the number font and helmet are basically unchanged. What is definitely new is the pattern of the “feathers” on the shoulders, the TNDL (Team Name Down Leg) and now there is no pattern pattern on the facemask. It’s tough to tell, but the shade of green may be new as well.
I really didn’t have the time to super-analyze these, since most of the changes appear to be technical/cosmetic rather than in the overall appearance of the uniform. Maybe that’s for the best. I’m not a fan of the TNOL, but otherwise, these two particular combinations aren’t much different that their current set. I’m sure when these are introduced full time in 2014, we’ll get another unveiling and a whole host of new colors. The GFGS that Oregon popularized will likely be back, and obviously there is the ubiquitous BFBS uni now.
Also, in case you missed it, Paul had his own review on ESPN (which I didn’t see until I wrote the above). Always nice to have additional perspectives.
Those who want to delve deeper into these are more than welcome to in the comments below. I’d love to hear your take.
U.W.F.F.L. Playoffs Week 2
By Rob Holecko
It’s now Week 2 of the UWFFL Playoffs, and San Diego hosts Miami in the second Wild Card game this weekend. In last week’s playoff game, Detroit defeated Atlanta in a mild upset, 136 to 111. Thank you to all who turned out to vote! Next week the semifinals will begin, and the top-seeded New York Sharks will face the lowest remaining seed of the two wild card winners, while Minnesota will face the other in two weeks. Then the semifinal winners will meet in UWFFL Bowl XIV on January 11.
Now here’s this week’s playoff game.
The San Diego Storm were 9-5 and the Western Division Champions and are the third seed, and the Miami Cougars finished third in the Eastern Division, the sixth seed at 8-6. These two teams met way back in Week 3 in Miami in a “throwback uniform” game. The Storm wore their 1930s inspired “Gale Force” throwbacks, while the Cougars wore a 1970s-ish Art Deco “Heritage” throwbacks. In the lowest voting turnout week of the year, the Storm prevailed 12-9. This time the teams are playing in their more typical uniforms, a nice color-vs-color matchup the Storm in their teal over gray uniforms, while the Cougars are wearing the blue over white version of their new uniforms, in which they’ve gone 6-2 since switching from their original uniform set.
The minor league teams are quickly headed to their conclusion as well, only a few weeks to go and teams are jockeying for postseason position in all three conferences. We have a new number one team as the previous #1 Dallas lost to Vancouver, and the Birmingham Vulcans, at 11-1-1, are the new number one. Another minor league matchup sees the Hartford Whalers take on the Connecticut Convicts in leg two of the Connecticut Cup.
Hartford soundly won their first meeting 35-6, however, Connecticut has been on a roll lately, having unveiled different uniforms throught the season and gotten themselves back into the post-season race. Be sure to head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to cast your ballot for this and all of the other minor league matchups. Like every week, voting ends on all games at 8 AM Monday, however if there is a tie in the playoff game, we will extend voting in 24 hour periods until there is a winner.
Check it all out at http://www.uwfantasyfootballleague.com.
…For the Ticker
UW wire service photo guru Bruce Menard (whose efforts were featured in yesterday’s lede) shot us another genius find, and it is, quite simply, too good for the ticker. I’ll let Bruce explain:
I just remembered a pic I’d discovered last year of Harvey the Mechanical Rabbit being laid to rest:
I never knew the exact date/story until just now, I found an SI article about it:
From May 3, 1971
“Coming from a team that was supposed to be filled with promise, the alibis were almost as upsetting to Oakland fans as the A’s being shut out on opening day in Washington, the first such Senator win since 1962, and the improbable loss of their own home opener, or openers, namely a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox. The year before, the Sox had played 21 doubleheaders and swept exactly one of them. So bad were things in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that Harvey, the annoying mechanical rabbit that faithfully dispensed balls from his subterranean lair behind home plate, expired. He was laid to rest beneath the stands with lilies spread on his chest.”
Although it’s b&w, you can see a lot of details on him. He looks pretty chipped-up. Anyways, I was going to post it in comments, but then I though maybe Phil would want to run it for a small follow-up bit this weekend. Thoughts?
Thanks Bruce — Great stuff as always.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Not a lot of submissions from yesterday, so it’s Old School ticker today.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson will sport an ‘old school’ look for Winter Classic (thanks to Dan Kennedy). … “It’s Friday before Christmas, so I’m staring at the wall,” says Jim Walaitis, “and I notice something in a picture of The Cell: a Cubs logo on the first base dugout. I couldn’t find a good picture on Google, but it looks like they put the logo of whatever the visiting team is up on the dugout. I’ve seen this on on deck circles, but never on a dugout.” … Check out this article on D1 outdoor hockey in Rochester NY – lots of stripes! (great spot by Gretchen Mittelstaedt). … “Scroll down to the image of the collection of stickers left in the Candlestick Park visitor locker room,” says Brice Wallace. “Great stuff. Never seen the Bengal stripes looking like that.” … Also, barring a play-off game, this Sunday’s 49ers game marks the last game ever to be played at Candlestick. Patrick O’Neill sends the SF Chronicle’s own list of its 54 greatest pictures taken there. Great stuff in there! … Trevor Williams notes, “Algeria made the World Cup. Senegal didn’t. To put these kits in perspective, in a word – underwhelming.” … CBS Sunday Morning has given it’s take on the number 3, notes David Firestone, “and I agree with everything they said.” … Tim Bogdansky found of a package of PAC-12 mini helmets sold at Dicks Sporting Goods. He asks, “USC being replaced by Indiana?” … The New York Rangers have unveiled their Stadium Series jersey on video (thanks to Ed Westfield). And here’s a write up on that from Chris Creamer. … Speaking of Stadium Series unis unveiled yesterday, the Blackhawks unveiled as well (thanks to Tom Currie). … Potential new Bauer Logo? That comes from Chris Fraterrigo, who writes, “Was watching the new OD1N videos on Bauer’s site and noticed that what at first looked like their logo was sightly different, where the ‘B’ is now more pronounced.” … Ken Tobler was watching the Texas State Championship and says there are “Few things as irritating as two teams with the same stolen logo playing against each other.” … The new uniforms for Arena Football’s LA KISS “are certainly original” (h/t to Neil Bisman). … Four 1974-minted dimes were frozen in ice in Minnesota this year to commemorate the MN 1974 Championship Team (h/t to Eli Swanson). … C-Belt is no longer with the Cardinals, but Nicholas Schiavo says it’s cool to see the Cardinals still stich the players names on the front of the jerseys. … Just wow. … Check out these pretty sweet sweaters for Michigan Tech who are playing an outdoor game at Comerica December 27 & 28th. … Yowsa! Look at these hockey uniforms that Eden Prairie has (h/t Joel Fowler). … “Thought you might like to see the 75th year anniversary patch for Little League for 2014,” writes Andy Enright. Indeed, it’s a beaut! … The Knoxville Ice Bears will be joining the ugly sweater brigade tonight. That’s a beaut too! … And speaking of “ugly” sweaters, Paul was at a party last night and thinks some team needs to base a sweater off this design. … Today, the FSU Seminoles will be wearing their turquoise unis “to raise awareness of bringing sport to Native American and Aboriginal youth.”
Whew! OK, boys and girls, that is all for this fine first day of Winter (for those of use in the Northern Hemisphere). You’ve got FOUR bowl games today (including one on free TV *coughJimVilkRobertMarshallcough*), plus those other leagues are in full gear as well. I’ll be back with much much more tomorrow (including Part II), so be sure to check back then.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Anybody else see a martini glass where the flywire collar used to be on the Ducks new uniforms? I really hope that construction doesn’t get applied to every new uniform Nike rolls out.”