By Phil Hecken
A couple weeks ago, I was approached by Luke DiVasta who pitched me an idea for a story that would look at, “A top five on most underrated jerseys in college football. We all know about Oregon and Arizona State, but plenty of schools have some very clean, sharp looking overall uniforms with multiple combinations.”
I thought it would make for a fun little bit on Uni Watch. Luke’s a freshman at the University of Alabama studying and majoring in journalism, and, being from a school where the uniforms are sacrosanct and I thought it was an interesting perspective. Luke’s focused on jerseys and helmets for his piece.
I’d hoped to run this a couple weeks ago, before the college football season ended, but other stories, a day off, and breaking NHL All Star Game jersey news has pushed it back to today. Hope this doesn’t sound too much like a BR article, but I wanted to present it as written. Here’s Luke with…
The Top 5 Most Underrated Jerseys in College Football
By Luke DiVasta
Every year universities around the nation try to find that “golden ticket” to lure top of the line recruits to their schools. When the sport began it was all about academia, whichever school would get you a real job when you left. Then it turned into who wouldn’t look at your grades as much so you could focus on the football. Today we see aspects like coach prestige and program prestige lure recruits, but for smaller schools that need everything and anything they can get, jerseys are the key. Here’s my list of the most underrated and overlooked jerseys by country.
1. Oklahoma State — Now the Cowboys from Stillwater, Oklahoma aren’t the most overlooked, but they are the most ignored for the quality they put out on the field every week. Currently they have around ten helmets, four jerseys and four pairs of pants that they perform in. The brighter orange color that they use for their logo is complimented well with anything black or grey. The jerseys themselves are very modest, not a ton going on besides the color, it’s the helmets that make them for me. The use of their alternate Pistol Pete logo, which is sometime enlarged or put on a horse is what pulls it all together, and is why I have them at number one.
2. Boise State — There’s something about a blue field and orange helmets that just has a special spot in my heart. Boise have a fantastic scheme with the orange, blue, white or black on either the pants, helmets or jerseys works very well. A fantastic new addition as of late has been the large bronco head on one side of the helmet, with the number of the player in a chrome font on the other. They also have a color fade within the number on the jersey which gives a nice effect. What recruit would want to spend the fall and winter in Idaho? I guarantee you a handful are drawn by the equipment alone.
3. Middle Tennessee State — The Blue Raiders may not have won very much in terms of college football history, but man have they made some strides with their uniforms. Their jerseys for the most part are standard. They have three “main” helmets silver, black and white with a triple stripe down the center and a logo on each side. They have jerseys that are set up very similar to Duke’s. But this season they pulled out a fantastic chrome helmet that went from a royal blue in the front to fade to the full chrome in the back. Not a very big school, and they won’t make any headlines but those helmets sure did stand out to me.
4. North Texas — These jerseys don’t exactly have the same sex appeal that the ones above do, but they have an edge to them. The Kelly green helmets definitely give an 80’s Philadelphia Eagles vibe. The black torso with the same green sleeves make for a solid looking uniform. They have also added a helmet with a shiny alternate logo that has a patterned black finish to it. Great look by the Mean Green.
5. Old Dominion — After just recently joining the FBS the Monarchs have added to their uniform library. The helmets that they have worn are very similar to the ones we saw from Navy two years ago in the Army-Navy game. They have that slanted cut down the helmet with a dull blue and chrome are filling it. The sleeves of their jerseys have a dotted fade out on of the stripes, and a nicely sized ”˜Old Dominion’ on the chest keeps it clean looking like the helmets.
As this college football season winds down, we await with anticipation the new looks that will be revealed over the summer and throughout next year’s campaign. There are always schools we know will put out new looks, it’s the ones that surprise you though that can make it even more interesting.
Thanks, Luke. Sounds like you are as into the helmets as the jerseys (and that’s OK — I’m pretty sure the designers plan it that way). Best of luck at Alabama (but don’t count on your school getting any new jerseys or flashy helmets anytime soon).
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
I’m pleased to introduce a new colorizer to you folks today, but it’s someone you know from his WONDERFUL stories and anecdotes on the WFL, mostly about his pop (King Corcoran) — Jimmy Corcoran. He’s got a colorization (and almost as importantly, some great stories) for us today. Click any of the following 3 photos to enlarge. Then just sit back and listen to Jimmy talk about … the King (sorry for the length, but trust me, it’s worth it!)
How are you Phil,
One of my favorite things on Uni Watch is when your readers colorize the black and white photos, I decided giving it a try myself. I just have the basic photo enhancements that came with my computer so I wasn’t able to get the detail that I wanted and after I finished I brightened it up a little to give it a pop art kind of look. I had no idea it took this long, just to put the creases in the pants took a couple of hours. I almost did the wrong team, I wasn’t born until my father’s junior year at Maryland so unlike the Pottstown Firebird and Philadelphia Bell stories that I was there to see in person, I have to rely on my mother for the Maryland stories and my memories of what the King told me about his time with the Terps. I thought this was South Carolina but my mother told me no, I attended this game and it was against SMU.
The King told me he got his first life lesson about football when he arrived at Maryland, and that was never believe what the coaches tell you. He told me when he was recruited to go there the coach told him they were going to redesign the offense around his quick release; he arrives at College Park and was doing calisthenics and said, “Hey coach how are you doing?” The coach screamed ‘shut up Corcoran and get in line!’ The player next to my father was laughing and asked him what position he played and my father said “I’m a quarterback” the guy said, great, now we have thirteen of you on this team. At the time he was still Jim and not The King so he didn’t speak about himself in third person like he did later, but he just said to himself “I am not digging this!”
There are two stories of how he became the King and both are false — one has him causing a riot in high school and coming out with a clean uniform and everyone chanting “King, King!” He made this story up himself. Then in the original NFL Films Pottstown film he says, “I started dressing up and I started being supercool, I became the King!” That is partly true.
He came from a very low income family and had almost nothing; he arrived at Maryland with one suitcase with a couple of shirts. By his sophomore year there he was considered the best dressed guy on the campus. Though he had no money he was able to use his charm and charisma plus his celebrity status on the campus to build himself an impressive wardrobe. He always loved clothes and it bothered him a lot that he grew up poor in Jersey City and sometimes had holes in his clothes. By the time he was with the Bell he had a hundred suites, onetime he asked me “Jimbo, who has better garb, the King or Elvis Presley?”
When I was in high school in the early 80’s I worked in a clothes store in Rockville Maryland, one of the salesman came up to me and said he used to own a small clothes store by the University of Maryland and that he gave my father a couple of sports jackets for free, I said “Why did you do that?” and he said because he was The King, I knew he had no money but I wanted to help him out because I never met anybody like him, he would walk into my store like he was rich.
The King actually got that name while at the University of Maryland, he was at practice one day and was throwing a lot of TD’s, one of his teammates said, “Jimmy, you were like a King out there today!” He said, you know Mike, I really dig that name. He called my mother to tell her that his new name was The King, she asked him if he was joking?, and he said “no, from now on I am The King.”
My Mother met him at the Jersey Shore the summer after his senior year before he left for Maryland, she was working at an ice cream parlor, and she said he strutted in wearing his New Jersey all star jersey with a couple of his teammates and acted like he owned the place. This was a description that I would always hear from people, that he acted like he owned the place, or I had never seen a guy with that level of confidence in himself. He asked her out on a date and even though she thought he was way too cocky she thought he was good looking and there was something about that wise guy charm of his.
One of my favorite Maryland-era King stories was the one my late Grandfather told me about the very first time he met him. My grandfather was a barber and was not much of a football fan, some of his customers told him my father was one of the better QB’s in New Jersey and would be playing big time college football. My father arrives at my Mother’s house to pick her up for a date. No one in his family owned a car at the time so, The King borrowed one from one of the guys in the neighborhood. My grandfather told me he walked in with a very cocky demeanor and he didn’t like him.
My Grandfather tried to make some small talk with him and said, I understand you are a pretty good football player? My father looked at him and said “Pretty good? I’m the best, I’m going to the University of Maryland in the fall and after I break all the passing records there you will be watching me on TV playing in the NFL”
It was all downhill from there for the next 25 years, my grandfather couldn’t stand him. What was ironic was in August 1974 The King won WFL player of the week and received a nice plaque for it. My Grandfather asked him if he could hang it in the barbershop and my father said no. I asked him why he said no, and the King said he always thought I was trash and now that I am a star he wants my award? No chance, besides, I have to keep it in the trunk of my Lincoln to show my fans when they come up to me. Though most people outside of Philadelphia, New Jersey and Maryland would have no idea who he was, he was like a local celebrity in those areas.
My father told me when he went to Maryland his goal was to break all the passing records, be an All-American and a high draft pick, the only record he broke at The University of Maryland was getting kicked off the football team the most times. At one point he was kicked out of the athletic dorm and was living in a room under Byrd Stadium, my mother went to visit him and said he didn’t have a closet he would hang his clothes on the pipes. She said this place is awful. Ever the optimist The King said, “Hey, it’s not that bad, at least I don’t have to share a bed with my brother Raymond like I had to in Jersey City.”
Another time he had no place to live and a fraternity took him in. He said he loved living there because the scrambled eggs were great! He used to eat at a Hot Shoppes restaurant near campus and would always walk out on his check. In 1970 we ate at that same restaurant and the same waitress was there who he used to walk out on in 1965. After we ordered she made him pay for the food up front, she said “you’re not running out on me this time King!” He said, I’m with my family, I have $125,000 contract now, he said he was sorry for running out on his checks and gave her some money to make up for it.
At the University of Maryland my father had not developed the whole King persona that I knew as a kid. The swagger was there but he still had no money and no possessions, just the attitude. By the 1970’s he had his custom Lincoln and his house with a pool in the backyard and his beach house and his Tom Jones style wardrobe and in his eyes he made it. This was almost 20 years before he became the overweight Indian character at the end of his life.
Thanks Jimmy — fantastic colorization(s) and even better, I (and I’m pretty sure most of Uni Watch) just love hearing your King stories!
by Rob Holecko (artwork by Andrew Seagraves)
Today in the UWFFL there’s a full slate of Premier League games as Anchorage tries to stay undefeated and other action including a big matchup between St. Louis and Detroit. Head on over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com for full coverage and to vote on today’s games. We’ll see you next week.
for the Ticker
It isn’t too often we have TWO “Too Good For The Tickers” in one weekend, much less in the same day, but this one (which segues nicely from the “Colorize This!” segment above to the other TGFTT below) is the first of two.
The first one comes from another E-mail I received from Will Scheibler, who had sent in several gorgeous photographs of the baseball Toronto Maple Leafs back in December, and which ran in this article (scroll down) in the “TGFTT” section of that day’s post.
Will has followed up with the following:
Sent some Maple Leafs Baseball pics that ran in Uni Watch back on Dec 27/14
Though the exact picture of Miss Toronto 1937 from that photo shoot wasn’t colourized it looks like another one very likely taken in that shoot was recently colourized by Canadian Colour.
Their website doesn’t really have the pic except in a twitter link there:
— Canadian Colour (@CanadianColour) January 17, 2015
Sadly their Facebook and Twitter contains more photos than their actual website. Since not everyone is on Facebook and I hate dealing with anything Twitter, here’s a link to a huffington post canada article with some of Mark Truelove’s (Canadian Colour) pics (some sports ones include: Edmonton playing drinking from 1956 Grey Cup, player from 1930 Vancouver Lions (PCHL) hockey team, 1914 Vancouver hockey team (Millionaires), Dai Nippon Tokyo Baseball Club 1935, etc.)
Thanks, Will — great follow up!
for the Ticker
Got an e-mail from Kiechel Valentine, who sent a rather long e-mail with several photos. Rather than try to edit it down, I’ve shared it below, with pics inline. You can click on most images to enlarge:
I am a long time reader of the blog and even longer reader of your espn.com columns. I have enjoyed World Cup soccer since 1994 when the U.S. was the host country and have recently started following the Barclay’s Premier League as my understanding of the game has grown from my kids playing the game.
With jersey kit sponsors occupying the prime real estate on the jersey, the club’s logo/crest/badge is relatively inconspicuous compared to baseball, basketball or hockey jerseys (acknowledging that at least in the U.S., none of these have sponsor ads on them).
The one exception that I have noticed is UNAM of the Mexican Liga MX. The Pumas logo has long been the most prominent part of the jersey. Don’t get me wrong, they have plenty of ads on there, but the Pumas are the only club that I can think of like that.
Are there other clubs, either currently or in the past whose jerseys have had their logo take up almost the entire front of the jersey like that instead of a much smaller badge?
Good stuff, Kiechel — thanks for sharing!
OK, now onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Check out this “really cool old bumper sticker my local dry cleaner has on the wall,” (sent in by Chris LaBella). I totally agree with the sentiments expressed therein. … There’s probably nothing in this article we don’t already know (or haven’t already covered on Uni Watch), but here’s an article on the evolution of the baseball uniform. … Great shot of the 1901 Detroit Tigers; note that it’s the first year of the new American League, and Kid Gleason still has his NY Giants jersey from 1900 (great find/shot by Bruce Menard). Our friend Todd Radom follows that up by nothing the 1901 Tigers were first MLB club with an image of team’s nickname on caps. … There’s a new Cubs logo for Wrigley Field as construction continues throughout the season (h/t @WrigleyBlog), and it’s pretty punny. … Did you know that Willie Mays played shortstop at Shea Stadium? Yep, that’s the Say Hey Kid playing for the Giants during the course of an eventual 23-inning loss to the Mets in 1964 (great find by @UniformCritic). Must have occurred during a double-switch or because they ran out of position players. … Following up on yesterday’s TGFTT section on pocketed BP jerseys, Travis McGuire writes, “The Rockies also wore them, but I’m not sure which season. I happen to own one from my time working with the Portland Rockies, Colorado’s former short season team. If I had to guess, it’d be around 1995 or earlier. … Also, @ClevelandRocks tweeted me with photo of an Indians’ pocketed BP jersey.
NFL News: Here is some audio of the Browns President talking about new unis (from Tony Crespo). The uni part starts around the 10 minute mark, “think we have struck the balance of linking back to the tradition of the Browns and also pushing the Browns forward.”
College Football News: Looks like UNLV may have a new helmet (they just got a new coach, so maybe there are some more changes in the works). Thanks to El-Squid for the heads-up.
NBA News: Here’s what the on-court shooting shirt (which will go along with the Heat’s new “black tie uniforms”) will look like (thanks to Conrad Burry for the image). If you missed the shots of the “black tie” uniforms, look here.
Hockey News: Penn State introduced a new third uniform yesterday (here’s an additional look. (Thanks to several submitters). William Yurasko adds, “with all the 409 fetishism going on something has been missed – the $60 million fine will be now be distributed to combat child abuse in Pennsylvania. That’s way more important than what the NCAA records say. I hope it is scrutinized to make sure it is being well-used.” … “Saw this during Friday night’s Nashville/Washington game,” writes John Muir. “The Predators’ equipment manager sporting the CR patch for Chicago’s late EM Clint Reif, who passed away just before Christmas. Classy for a division rival to keep the memory alive.” …
Gorgeous sweater alert HOLY TOLEDO! “I might be late to the party on this one, but I saw this sweater in the latest Hockey News and immediately (literally the first thought in my head when I saw it) thought of you,” says Erik Shmukler. … Trevor Heinzerling, equipment manager for the Dubuque Fighting Saints, notes they just hosted the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game on Tuesday (kind of like an all star game). Here are some additional pictures of those unis and helmet. … The USA Under 18 hockey team was wearing some Han Solo jerseys for Star Wars Night yesterday (via @Ddawg_777). … Yesterday was more Hockey Day in Minnesota, and had lots of team colored camo unis. As submitter Dustin Kalis notes, games were being played at Holman Field, the downtown St. Paul airport home to the Minnesota National Guard 34th Combat Aviation Brigade and 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion. … More from HDIM: Scott Ingalsby writes, “I must say the best looking team today was the Cardinals out of Luverne, Minnesota a small town in the southwest corner of the state. They added a Hockey Day Minnesota patch to their beautiful red and white sets.St Thomas Academy and Hill-Murray high schools presented an interesting visual with color vs color AND camo vs camo! They also appear to be entering the outdoor rink from the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.” Scott continues, “Friday night game between the Minnesota Warriors and a Buffalo, NY based veterans team was also camo vs camo, color vs color. (Hey, at least both teams are comprised of veterans and many wounded warriors); The same for St Paul Police Department vs St Paul Fire Department, both teams including many veterans. One of the few teams NOT wearing GI Joe unis was actually the 38th Canadian Brigade Group, a military reserve unit’s team from Winnipeg that was invited down to play an exhibition game against the Minnesota National Guard. (see also previous post about the Minnesota goalie’s mask) Minnesota National Guard shutout the visitors, 6-0.
But the Canadian reservists looked great in Forest Green, with their unit crest on the front with its Bison emblem. The teams looked great standing shoulder-to-shoulder during the national anthems. And celebrated together after the game as well. On Saturday, the Luverne Cardinals looked fantastic in their red and white unis, while the St Paul Johnson HS Governors’ wore special camouflage unis and the “Governors” may have had an advantage after Gov Mark Dayton dropped the puck before this game! Johnson eventually won in regulation 6-5, after Luverne had rallied back from a 5-1 deficit to tie it up 5-5.”
College/High School Hoops News: Interesting: Joseph Wingard writes, “I thought Toledo was a Under Armour school but they seem to be going with Nike for a special event?” I don’t really follow the Rockets (in basketball) at all, but a quick google search seems to indicate they wear Nike for hoops. I’m guessing they have split contracts (a la Baylor a couple years ago) for football (which is definitely UA) and basketball. … Yesterday night, Illinois State played Bradley wearing these uniforms (which are throwbacks and which they’ve worn before). Love those trou! (h/t to @zdeets). Here’s how they looked yesterday (via Ryan Lindemann). … Creighton did the whole pinkout versus cancer thingy yesterday (via @BlueJayMBB). … Mississippi State wore throwbacks yesterday, as did Louisville. Unfortunately, they weren’t really throwbacks, since the original pants were the approximate length of Jim Vilk’s normal shorts today. Reader Dave Garabedian notes, “The Adidas 1980s “throwback” uniform set worn by Louisville against Duke (yester)day are a cheesy replica of the originals. As you can see in the attached screenshot, the left side of the “throwback” shorts has the Cardinal dunking toward the rear of the shorts. The original 1980s shorts had the Cardinal dunking toward the front on both sides of the shorts. Pretty disappointing lack of attention to detail by Adidas.” … OMG — Houston Baptist may have worn the greatest looking throwback unis in the history of ever. It was part of their ’60s and ’70s salute last night (h/t Chris Mycoskie). Here’s another look. Want to see even more? Click here — that’s a gallery sent in by Russ Reneau, Director of Media Relations for HBU. Awesome. … Speaking of awesome, check out these outstanding photos of Georgetown Prep JV hoops from 1911 (great find by Kevin Zdancewicz). … Kyle Collinsworth of BYU wore his favorite warm up shirt last night with ‘Russia’ in Cyrillic script. Submitter Jeff Shirley notes he served an LDS mission in Russia. … The jerseys are in for the Brandon Valley/Watertown (SD) Throwback on Jan. 31st (via Barry Jacobsen).
Grab Bag: Whoa! Check out the odd ice colors on this curling sheet (the ice between the hog line and back line, then from the back line to the end of the sheet are different shades blue) — that’s at the 50 & over Championship in JÃ¶nkÃ¶ping, Sweden. … The V-League (Volleyball) in Japan has released their logo for the playoffs called the V.Final Stage (thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Here is a Lexus with what appear to be Nike swoosh headlights (h/t @JediASU). … I’m sure you are aware of Pearl Jam’s previous sports-themed tour t-shirts. Now they have a tradition of doing Seahawks-themed shirts around playoff time (big thanks to Rob Yasinsac). … Vineyard Vines has partnered with Jason Dufner to become his new golf apparel partner. … “Holy Pinktober” says Paul Stave. “I know the timing is off by a few months, but it looks like the Caped Crusader was at the forefront of the Pinktober movement way back in the 60s.”
And that’s going to do it for today. Thanks to Luke, and especially Jimmy, Rob, Will and Keichel, and all of you fine readers and contributors for everything today. Great stuff! Enjoy the NFC and AFC Championship Games today, and I’ll catch you guys next weekend. Till then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I think the biggerest point (sic) is that this IS Uni-Watch! ‘The Obsessive Study…’ is in the damn motto! This is what we do. Getting it right for getting it right’s sake.”
–Terence Matthew Kearns