By Phil Hecken
The College Bowl Season begins today, so that means it’s time to take a look at the teams’ involved and to try to pick a winner, based upon the uni. I usually go about .500 in picking bowl games by unis, and in the past, my strategy has been to try to determine which uni a team will wear in the game and make my pick (against the spread) based upon that uni. While some teams have already revealed what they will be wearing, some remain a mystery. I’m going to change up the strategy just a bit this year.
This year, I’m going to use an entire team’s body of work for the season, including multiple helmets, combos, and any special uniforms, to make my pick. What they wear on Bowl Day, whether known or unknown prior to the game, will not influence my picks. I’ll probably go .500 again this year, but what the hey.
For this fine Saturday, I’ll look at the 13 Bowls that will take place between today and this coming Friday — Part II will be next Saturday, when I’ll predict the final set of bowls.
For each game, you can click on the image to enlarge. Ready?
Let’s go bowling…
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. UL Lafayette (12/20, 11:00 am ET – ESPN)
Spread: Pick ’em
Nevada combines blue, white and gray and mixes them throughout the season. For a modern uni, it’s pretty restrained, all things considered, although it does seem to be a Nike template, with obligatory “claw” stripes on the pants. ULL, who in past years has really featured some awful/wild uniforms, has also dialed it back recently. Like the “pick ’em” spread, this is a tough call. Edge: ULL
The Pick: UL Lafayette
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs. UTEP (12/20, 2:20 pm ET – ESPN)
Spread: Utah State is favored by 10
Utah State, much like Nevada, goes with navy, white and gray, and these definitely have an old-school feel to them — nice pants stripes, no bells and whistles. Texas El Paso goes the other way — while they have a great orange and navy color scheme, they also fall prey to TNOL (team name on leg). It’s not a bad uni (as far as modern unis go), but it’s not good either. Edge: Utah State.
The Pick: Utah State -10
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs. Colorado State (12/20, 3:30 pm – ABC)
Spread: Utah is a 3.5 point favorite
As early bowls go, this is a good one, pitting the red and black Utes vs the green and gold (and orange) Colorado State Rams in a match-up of some pretty decent unis. Utah has a great color scheme, but added the “mountain range” shoulder inserts this year, and mix and match three colors of helmet jersey and pants pretty much at will. The Rams though, with their green and gold, remain fairly constant in their own uniform selections, and look better doing it. They’ll also be wearing their throwback green/orange helmet (although that has no bearing on my pick) for their game today. Edge: Rams
The Pick: Colorado State +3.5
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Air Force (12/20, 5:45 pm – ESPN)
Spread: Air Force is a 1 point favorite
This has the potential to be an ugly looking game, as the brown (and sometimes gold) and white Broncos will provide a color clash with the royal, gray/silver and white Falcons. Neither team has particularly attractive uniforms, and WMU seems stuck with an older style template. Air Force, who had worn some cool, if wild unis in past years, has kept it mellower this year — although they have played around with their helmets. It’s not going to be a feast for the eyes, but not every bowl can be. Edge: Air Force
The Pick: Air Force -1
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green (12/20, 9:15 pm – ESPN)
Spread: South Alabama is a 3 point favorite
The WHAT Bowl? Yeah, I never heard of it either. Must be new. Or something. Anyway, the South ‘bama Jags with their templated unis in red, white and blue (I mean, they are “USA” right?) are actually not that bad, and Bowling Green is pretty basic in their orange (with slight brown accents). For a school with “Green” in their name, the color scheme has always thrown me. But orange and brown, especially when brown is an accent, work together. This is actually a pretty close uni-matchup. Edge: Bowling Green
The Pick: Bowling Green +3
Miami Beach Bowl: BYU vs. Memphis (12/22, 2:00 pm – ESPN)
Spread: Memphis is a 1 point favorite
Two schools with blue and white. Two schools with a BFBS uni. Two schools with multiple helmets (though Memphis gets the edge in number here). It should be a good looking game, as these teams will match up well, color-wise — BYU has the slightly more “traditional” looking uniform and if they go with either of their standard looks, will look really good. It’s an easier choice here. Edge: BYU
The Pick: BYU +1
Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois (12/23, 6:00 pm – ESPN)
Spread: Marshall is favored by 10 points
Marshall got new unis this year, and after a few weeks with those awful gradient numbers on their greens, got the problem fixed. The numbers weren’t illegal — just close to illegible. NIU looks pretty solid with their red and black combos, although they did wear those salute to corn or whatever it was jerseys to open the season. NIU likes many helmets, Marshall likes to memorialize the 75 killed in 1970 on theirs (but not all season). Another tough call, because I actually like NIU’s unis, but not that difficult. Edge: Marshall
The Pick: Marshall -10
San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. San Diego State (12/23, 9:30 pm – ESPN)
Spread: San Diego State is a 1.5 point favorite
Despite the switch to UnderArmour, Navy actually had pretty respectable uniforms this season, including some gorgeous ones for their season opener (the “summer whites”), and the costume they wore for the Army/Navy game (which I believe they’ll be wearing for this game) was OK. SDSU actually has some very attractive uniforms, in a nice, classic template. They don’t go crazy either. That’s good enough for me. Edge: SDSU
The Pick: San Diego State -1.5
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky (12/24, Noon – ESPN)
Spread: WKU is a 3 point favorite
So, yeah. Christmas eve brings us the “Bahamas” bowl (another new one), and it’s actually being played in the Bahamas, so that’s a nice trip for both teams (although I’ve been to Nassau in late November, and it can be cold…but still warmer than 90% of the USA). Anyway, the maroon and gold of the CMU Chippewas is a nice combination, and their template isn’t too bad (of course, they do have the adidas treadmarks, but whatever). WKU has the more modern Russell uni set, and it wouldn’t be so bad if not for the TNOL, which kind of ruins the whole overall look. That’s enough for me. Edge: CMU
The Pick: Central Michigan +3
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice (12/24, 8:00 pm – ESPN)
Spread: Rice is favored by 1.5 points
I think at one time I may have said I liked Rice’s uniforms, because they were classic. But as time has gone on, I now find them boring (and not in a good Penn State way, either). But at least you know what you’re going to get, and that’s not a bad thing. Fresno State on the other hand has the modern template with the obligatory claw marks on the pants, and many combos. This is actually a tough call. Edge: FSU
The Pick: Fresno State +1.5
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech (12/26, 1:00 pm – ESPN)
Spread: La Tech is favored by 6 points
Illinois got outfitted with a new (and pretty nice) uni set this past season, although the promised “blue” part of the set never materialized (this is apparently not due to Nike oversight, but the school simply spent its budget on the white and orange sets — hmmmm). But they did manage to wear the gray “Galloping Ghost” one-off. Louisiana Tech boasts ‘merica colors, UCLA “stripes” and a nice set overall. It shouldn’t be this easy a call, but it is. Edge: La Tech
The Pick: Louisiana Tech -6
Quick Lane Bowl: Rugters vs. North Carolina (12/26, 4:30 pm – ESPN)
Spread: UNC is a 3 point favorite
Oh boy. Two modern Nike templates and teams who both have a BFBS fetish. Rutgers really pisses me off because they share an identical template with UCF (apparently if you have “Knights” in your name you get collar horns, pseudo shoulder loops and “sword” stripes on your pants). On the other hand, UNC has a nearly identical uniform (save for the number font), except instead of collar horns, they get a neck plate, and instead of the sword stripe they get the wraparound. Ugh. UNC has like, the most awesome blue and they choose to go BFBS a good amount. Shame. This one is a real tough call, and not in a good way. Edge: UNC
The Pick: North Carolina -3
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl: NC State vs. UCF (12/26, 8:00 pm – ESPN)
The Spread: UCF is favored by 1.5
I like UCF, but I’m not a fan of their templated unis (see Rutgers, above) and I really don’t like when they wear their light gold jersey as a “dark” — that would be much better suited as a “light” jersey, but apparently that’s not the way the NCAA works. When they go black over gold, that’s a nice set. NC State has some wonderful red and white uniforms, but they added that bizarre black uniform with the scratch marks on the shoulders and funky helmet. But that was a “special” uni. Is it enough to turn me off the whole package? No. Edge: NC State
The Pick: NC State +1.5
There you have it — the first week of Bowls — nothing particularly spectacular in the way of match-ups or uniforms, but that’s the way it usually is in the first week. It whets our appetites for what is to come. And those will be some good contests. I’ll have the rest of the previews and picks next weekend.
Raptors Get New Logo
Interesting news out of Toronto yesterday, with first the leak, and then some speculation, and finally confirmation that what is posted above will indeed be the new logo for the Toronto Raptors, beginning in 2016.
It all started when the team leaked a glimpse of this new logo in a TV spot released yesterday…
… then the Raptors posted the color version to their Facebook page before taking it down. It was then confirmed.
Here’s the logo complete with official ball colors – black, red, silver and gold:
Several Uni Watchers were all over the news, including @teeford, Patrick O’Neill, and Mike Guterman, who explains “The Toronto Raptors are in the middle of a re-branding that the rapper Drake is spear heading.” Before the logo with the red circle was confirmed (and only the black and white was on the Facebook page), he said, “The logo is actually pretty good on my opinion in just hoping it’s in red not white as this version is too similar to the Nets logo on my opinion.”
Eric Koreen, whose confirmation tweet is above, and who writes for Canada’s National Post, explains further:
It is part of the “We The North” marketing campaign, which the Raptors collaborated on with creative services firm Sid Lee. During last season’s playoff series against Brooklyn ”” hold that thought ”” and select home games this year, the a giant black-and-white “We The North” banner has been passed around the lower bowl of the Air Canada Centre. The logo, which depicts a claw mark across a basketball, has been in place for the past “four or five months” according to a Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment spokesman. The new uniforms and colour scheme will be unveiled sometime in the new year. Expect black, silver, white and red to all be involved.
Obviously we can’t tell anything about what the uniforms will look like based upon just a logo, but that doesn’t mean no one has tried (h/t to UW favorite Conrad Burry for the mockup). Conrad also tried his hand at mocking the new logo in purple and red — which looks much better, IMHO.
With “black, silver, white and red” expected for the new unis, I am wondering just what that could mean — will it be more Spurs/Nets-ish, or will the red have a more prominent role? Perhaps this article (scroll down) gives us a partial answer: “Once you see the (actual) uniforms, it looks nothing like Brooklyn’s,” [Raptors’ GM Masai] Ujiri told a few media members before Toronto took on Detroit Friday night.” Only time will tell. (H/T to Megan Ann Wilson for the “official” logo.)
Classic Ballpark Scoreboards
I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.
Here’s Gary (click on image to enlarge):
Classic Football Scoreboards – Fourth in a Series
by Gary Chanko
I’ve previously noted the prodigious football stadium building spree that occurred in California in the 1920s. The Rose Bowl Stadium was an important part of that construction binge.
Just like its Coliseum cousin, about 15 miles south, the Rose Bowl Stadium has hosted an array of diverse sporting events and concerts, including five Super Bowls, venues for two Olympics, and major soccer tournaments. Like the Coliseum, the Rose Bowl Stadium, is best known for college football, especially the Granddaddy of them all – the Rose Bowl Game.
Rose Bowl Stadium
Home of: The Rose Bowl game (1923 to present), UCLA (1982 to present), Caltech (1923 – 1993)
First Game: October 1922, Cal 12 – USC 0
First Rose Bowl in new stadium:1923, USC 14 – Penn State 3
Although there is an ample amount of photography covering the Rose Bowl construction and early twentieth century game action, I wasn’t successful in finding scoreboard imagery from the Stadium’s initial years.
An aerial photo shows both the north and south end scoreboards in place for the 1928 Rose Bowl game. This 1936 Rose Bowl game photo shows an early scoreboard configuration along with an analog time clock.
The scoreboard’s architectural style, with its Spanish tile roof, has remained basically unchanged thought the decades. The scoreboard facade was often modified and upgraded over the years. The analog clock appears to have been replaced with a digital overlay sometime in the late fifties or early sixties.
The Rose Bowl played host to many memorable games on New Year’s Day. The illustration captures the North end scoreboard for one of those games – the 1969 Rose Bowl clash between Ohio State No.1 and USC No.2.
A Few Things to Know
• The Rose Bowl stadium design was inspired by the Yale Bowl built in 1913. Construction of the horseshoe shaped stadium was completed in 1922 at a cost of $272,198 with a seating capacity of 57,000. The southern stands were added in 1928, making the stadium a complete bowl.
• The stadium is both a National Historic Landmark and a California Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
• In 1942 the annual Rose Bowl game on January 1st wasn’t actually played in the Rose Bowl! Think Blue Devils.
• The recent Stadium upgrades included state-of-the-art LED fueled scoreboards supplied by Daktronics. The south end scoreboard, however, retains the vintage architectural design including an analog clock. The scoreboard layout even mirrors past design with elements such as “down,” “yards to go,” “ball on,” and “quarter.”
The series goes on Christmas vacation next week and will return in few weeks with another classic football scoreboard. Happy holidays ya’ll.
If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.
U.W.F.F.L. News — Division II Games
By Andrew Seagraves
Over many a uni matchup of current lore,
While the coffee settling in, fully groggy, suddenly came a sensation,
Of my heart palpitating, palpitating my chambers four.
Watching the totals of yonder score while my mind screamed
“JUST ONE MORE! JUST ONE MORE!”
~ Edgar Allen Poe… or maybe me
That was more than likely not found in Edgar Allen Poe’s lost writings.
Ehh… that was me trying to be clever.
The UWFFL DII and Premier league season is down to its final two regular season weeks with designers scurrying to make final tweaks, adjustments, and choices to make that final push into the postseason. Just like in many-a-league around the world, the UWFFL DII leagues are experiencing their own playoff log jams to see who will be crowned their respective league champ and promotion into the Bigs. For other squads, they are doing all they can to stave off relegation and possible dormancy.
Let’s dig into the playoff races before we introduce this week’s DII Featured Fray.
Two teams from the Eastern Association have punched their ticket to the post-season while four units do what the can to overtake the final two spots. And it is going to be a tough climb for them. Staten Island and Youngstown are sitting pretty going into January play as they both stand at 10-1. Toledo (7-3-1) and St. John’s (7-4) are in spots 3 and 4 respectively while Swisshelm (5-5-1), Brooklyn Mariners (5-6), Harrisburg (5-6), and Montreal (5-6) are currently on the outside looking in.
In the Metro South, things are looking a bit muddier. Charleston (10-2) have punched their ticket to the big dance while Missouri (8-2-1) and Little Rock (8-3) will both jockey for position this weekend to see who gets the second seed in Little Rock. The fourth spot currently has a three way horse race to see who will get in as old-standards Carolina (7-4) and Florida (7-4) with upstart Greenville (7-5) all battling for position. Last season’s Eastern Association runner up, Raleigh (5-6-1), would need an epic meltdown by the three squads in front of them to secure a spot in the postseason.
Pontiac currently sits atop the Central League standings with a 9-1-1 (help! sorry, couldn’t resist) record as Dallas (10-2) and Iowa (9-2) are in a footrace for the second rung on the ladder. The logs start to jam up for the fourth spot as Oklahoma City (6-4-1), Rapid City (6-5), Duluth (5-5-1), San Antonio (5-6-1), and Wichita (5-6) all are one or two games away from dancing or sitting.
Finally, the Pacific Coast Conference is once again top heavy at the end of things with teams clearly above .500. Las Vegas (8-3), Salt Lake City (8-3-1) and Cheyenne (7-3-1) are vying for not only fourth but one of them, with a few lucky bounces of the ball, could conceivably sneak into third. The Great White North is being well represented on the top fourth of the table as Yellowknife (10-1), Calgary (9-1-1), and British Columbia (8-1-2) are one, two, and three respectively.
And this now brings us to our DII game of the week as we head to the Log Camp of Victoria, BC where the British Columbia Lumberjacks will host the Lumberjacks of Yellowknife for the renewal of the Big Brown Axe rivalry.
These two squads competed well in the Spring D-League and were promoted to the second tier of the UWFFL. Along with promotion, both sides also revamped their look as the level of competition they would face has intensified.
The visiting Loggers from The Knife had a bombastic look going into D-League play as their plaid pattern played a prominent part of their TV patches, leg striping and helmet center stripe. The team’s tartan has been relegated to their helmet and pants stripe as they have simplified their TV patches, cleaned up their number and name fonts, and reduced their color pallete. For their foray into the Vancouver Island frontier, they are going with their Rosewood Red Lids, Custard cream tops with Rosewood TV patches, and Rosewood britches.
The BC Timbermen came into their Fall campaign with simplified red home and white away jersey, White lids and green pants compared to their White lids and pants, and jerseys sporting a complex shoulder striping pattern. For their matchup with Yellowknife they are debuting Green jerseys with Red numerals, Silver pantaloons and White lids with a new axe head symbol on the side.
Other key matchups for this weekend will have the Toledo Snipers traveling across Ohio to take on the Youngstown Bobcats, the revamped Tampa Terror trying to take down the mighty Florida Geckos, Duluth Frost Dragons trying to freeze the Iowa Corn yield, and the SLC Spikes squaring off against the Seattle Kings.
You can head over to http://www.uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on this weekends matchups and follow the league’s happenings on our Google+ page. You can also introduce your own concepts for Spring D-League competition at our Prospective UWFFL Teams Google+ page.
WHEW! That was a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. Make sure to come back tomorrow for our look at the Premier Game of the Week and the happenings from around the rest of the UWFFL.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Apparently (if you read yesterday’s lede), biting uniforms is not unique to hockey. Brice Wallace notes, “In 1973, Reds’ Pedro Borbon took a bite out of a Mets cap he mistakenly wore momentarily after the NL playoff brawl. It’s buried in this piece. Read on. He apparently bit a player once, too.” If that’s too long, here’s the pertinent section: “When order was restored, an enraged Borbon reached down to grab a cap on the field. When he realized that he had mistakenly grabbed Capra’s cap, he yanked it from his head and proceeded to take a bite out of it.” … Matt Kemp (not surprisingly) will wear #27 in San Diego (thanks to Brady Phelps). He’s also a pretty funny guy. … Amazon is listing an ’86 Era Mets replica as a ’69 Mets replica (from Matthew J. Heffernan).
NFL News: An interview with the Detroit Lions’ Cassius Vaughn yielded some interesting uni-related banter, including this nugget: “Best uniforms definitely have to go to Seattle. Seattle’s got the dopest uniforms in the league, hands down. They’re unique. They left their traditional style, and got more in the age that players like. They’re more player-friendly uniforms, with the all-grey, the green, you can definitely swag out their jerseys a lot better than other people’s.” So, maybe it’s not just the tween & teen market (and potential recruits) the uni makers are appealing to with these new-fangled unis — some current players like them too. … I’m just gonna leave this here: “Forbidden Love at Ralph Wilson Stadium” (thanks, Paul).
College Football News: Here’s some interesting uniform tracking for the Utah Utes (via Jalen Thomas); previously, I received tracking for Stanford and Cal (from JediASU), who had much earlier tweeted at me the uni tracking for ASU. … With the news that MSU will be wearing white for the Orange Bowl, some are hoping Georgia Tech will wear gold and not blue, as has been rumored. … Oops — not a good start for the Camellia Bowl — they have the wrong helmet logo for the USA Jags (great spot by Clint Richardson). … The Utah Utes have unveiled their uni combo for today’s Las Vegas Bowl. … The Washington Huskies will be wearing gold/white/white for their 1/2/15 Cactus Bowl game against Okie State. … Great football program cover from @GrayFlannelSuit — Can you identify the teams? Twitter had a hard time too, until it was finally ascertained it was the 1979 Garden State Bowl between Cal(!) and Temple. I’m kinda embarrassed I didn’t recognize the teams, since those same teams were a ticker item (scroll down) just over a year ago.
Hockey News: The Colorado Avalanche had a little fun last night, posting this picture on Instagram, does team captain Gabriel Landeskog’s sticks look better with or without serifs? Says submitter John Muir,
There are worse ways to engage fans on non-game nights.” … The Missouri Mavericks, a Minor League hockey team, will be the next to wear Star Wars-themed sweaters.
Soccer News: For those of you who like XBox (or the Seattle Sounders), good news: Microsoft has extended their sponsorship with the team throughout next year (thanks, Paul). … “My beloved Bayern Munich Football Club played their final match of the calendar year on Friday and once again wore their all black third strip, a uniform that is now their second most common choice, having worn it in every road match since November 29th, even though it is officially categorized as the ‘Champions League kit’,” writes James Roberts. “During that time winter weather has hit Germany and star players Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben have been giving the Saints’ leotards a run for their money by doing some pioneering work in the athletic full body catsuit, complete with mismatched team branded gloves with subtle Adidas logo creep.” … More weird unis from Europe: “In case you haven’t seen it yet, SK Brann (a soccer team in Norway) are wearing rubber unis this season (think rubber boots),” says Daniel Wittels. “They claim they’re supposed to help keep players dry during the windy and wet conditions of Norway.”
College/HS Hoops News: In a
purely marketing move to “honor” Native American heritage, the Florida State Seminoles will wear their turquoise N-7 uniforms against USF on today to “raise awareness for bringing sport to Native American and Aboriginal youth.” Scroll down for that news (thanks, Paul). … The CBS Sports Classic begins today, and this just might be the most cluttered court (or the ugliest) ever (thanks to Brandon Owen for the shot). … On Thursday evening, UAB brought out new “Birmingham” jerseys for their home game against LSU. “Almost certainly a statement about the termination of the football program,” says Caleb Weaver. … Wonder if it’s cold in that gym? The Nashua South high in NH has hooded shooting shirts. Says submitter Michael Abelson, “Never seen that before.” If you follow the progression of the tweet, apparently these are not a new thing. … “You know you’re in the Midwest when you see these warm-ups,” writes Jeff Whitener. These are worn by the Windsor Owls men’s varsity high school basketball team from Imperial, Missouri. “I didn’t detect any blood on them from deer season,” he adds.
Grab Bag: I’d usually hold off on this news and save it for a “Colorize This” segment, but here are some black and white photographs of unis that could really use some colorization (thanks, Paul). Here’s a link to the article referenced in the tweet. … This is pretty cool: John Taylor writes, “I weld for a living and I just wanted to send you pictures of my welding hood. I just completed it today, I’ve been working on it for two years, it’s 100% hand painted.”
And that’s going to do it for today, folks. Enjoy the first 5 Bowl games today (you know you’re going to watch them all…). Thanks to Gary & Andrew for their parts and to all you fine Uni Watchers for reading and your contributions. Catch you all tomorrow!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken
“And seriously”¦ ‘WE THE NORTH’?”