By Phil Hecken
Back today with Part II of my Bowl predictions. To all those of you who celebrated Christmas yesterday, I hope it was merry and bright. Remember — the greatest gifts are not those found beneath the tree. If you missed Part I, you can click here.
The concept of this exercise is pretty simple: pick the winners of the bowl games (against the spread), based on who has the better uniform set worn throughout the 2015 season. As always, you can click on the graphics to see a full size. In all cases, every attempt was made to include all uniform combos worn by each team throughout the year. In some instances, a team with a better uniform in general, but who goes off the grid with too many “special” unis (or fails to use school colors) will not get the nod over a lesser-attired team. It’s not a question of how many unis and combos a school has ”” it’s who wears them better.
Since there are 40 total bowl games this season (plus the final Playoff Game for the National Championship), and a lot of the Bowls have either only corporate d-baggery sponsor names or have changed names/sponsors, I’ll refer to them as their names appear here. A request was made last weekend to include the location & stadium name for each, so I’ll do that as well.
OK — here’s Part II:
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. California
Tuesday, December 29, 2015; 2:00 pm ESPN
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Spread: Cal is a 7.5 point favorite
After a couple years where they kinda screwed around with their unis, Air Force has returned to a pretty basic look for 2015, using just the gray/silver, blue and white. I’m glad they’re not going BFBS, but I miss the Thunderbirds look too. Still, addition by subtraction. Cal’s pretty stripped down too, wearing only the blue helmet, and mixing blue or white tops with three pairs of pants. If only they didn’t have that giant Nikelace, it’d be a slam dunk for Cal. Now it’s pretty close — but Cal’s colors give it the edge. Give the points.
The Pick: Cal -7.5
Russell Athletic Bowl: North Carolina (10) vs. Baylor (17)
Tuesday, December 29, 2015; 5:30 pm ESPN
Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, FL
Spread: Baylor is a 3 point favorite
In previous years, back when UNC added black helmets, pants and helmet, this might have been a tougher call. Not so anymore — their 2015 revamp ditched the black and added the oh-so-sweet argyle patterns. Baylor is another Oregon-wannabe with putrid unis; their one new uni this year was a GFGS set. Fail. No question here — take UNC and the points.
The Pick: North Carolina +3
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Colorado State vs. Nevada
Tuesday, December 29, 2015; 7:30 pm ASN (American Sports Network)
Arizona Stadium, Tuscon, AZ
Spread: Colorado State is a 3 point favorite
Another pretty slam-dunk of a pick here, as CSU has some purdy unis (including the orange-topped throwback), and gorgeous Rams helmets. They kept the combos to a minimum this year (with green over gold or white at home, and all white on the road). Nevada is fairly simple too, with just blue, gray and white — but those unis scream early-2000’s design. Easy call for the Rams here.
The Pick: Colorado State -3
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: LSU (20) vs. Texas Tech
Tuesday, December 29, 2015; 9:00 pm ESPN
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Spread: LSU is a 7 point favorite
Things are really getting out of control down in Baton Rouge, as the Tigers of LSU wore a whopping FOUR different uni-combos this season, up from their usual ONE (plus one home game in purple tops). This may have been the most times in a season when LSU didn’t wear white over gold in decades. Still, that doesn’t compare to T-Tech multiple combos, all of which suck. At least they didn’t go completely nuts with ridiculous one-offs, but still. No doubter here. LSU all the way.
The Pick: LSU -7
Birmingham Bowl: Auburn vs. Memphis
Wednesday, December 30, 2015; Noon ESPN
Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
Spread: Auburn is a 2.5 point favorite
Boy — this is a string of some easy picks, innit? Auburn had some of the best uniforms going into the season, wearing only two combos, and they actually improved them by fixing the pointy truncated stripe on the pants. Memphis is just a mess. I mean…look at the combos, colors and styles. No contest here. Tiggers of Auburn FTW.
The Pick: Auburn -2.5
Belk Bowl: Mississippi State vs. NC State
Wednesday, December 30, 2015; 3:30 pm ESPN
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Spread: Mississippi State a 5 point favorite
If NC State had kept their uni combos this year to just their red and white, they’d win this pick in a walk, but no…the trademark treadmarks of the 3 stripes reared their ugly heads, and not in a good way. Miss State has one of the weaker uni sets of the SEC, but it’s still superior, in toto, to NCS. I could do without the giant wordmark on Miss State’s pants, but it’s not a pick-killer. Gonna roll the dice with the dogs over the pack of wolves.
The Pick: Mississippi State -5
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Louisville vs. Texas A&M
Wednesday, December 30, 2015; 7:00 pm ESPN
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Spread: Texas A&M is a 2 point favorite
The Aggies were close to a slam dunk with this, but then there were those “special” unis (BFBS “Hallowe’en” uni, with glow in the dark helmet decal, which they wore twice, and that silver/gray number), but even so, their set is still far superior to the ‘ville. The Cardinals got new unis this season, and they didn’t exactly improve them, adding a special helmet and awful number fonts to their “special” unis. It could still be a good looking game, if the normal uni sets are worn, but I gotta roll with the Aggies.
The Pick: Texas A&M -2
National University Holiday Bowl: USC (25) vs. Wisconsin
Wednesday, December 30, 2015; 10:30 pm ESPN
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Spread: USC is a 3 point favorite
There are going to be a few bowls this year that will be fantastic uni-pairings, and this is surely one of them — easily a top nominee for the 5 & 1. And it’s a tough call, as I lovelovelove USC’s unis, but Sconnie sports a might-tee-fine set as well. A cardinal/cardinal/gold set from USC vs. an all-white from Sconnie is to die for. This one is a real tough call, but I gotta go with the Trojans, in a squeaker.
The Pick: USC -3
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Florida State (9) vs. Houston (18)
Thursday, December 31, 2015; Noon ESPN
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Spread: Florida State is a 7 point favorite
Ahhh…the appetizer bowl before the two playoff games — pitting FSU (who finally broke out their BFBS set this year) vs. Houston. While FSU’s unis, introduced last year, were a downgrade over what they’d worn previously (one of those “it wasn’t broken but they fixed it anyway” type things), they’re still pretty good. Houston, as well, has some solid unis (and they’ve figured out eight ways to wear red and white elements). Like the ‘noles, Houston threw in one BFBS set (for a Hallowe’en game). Unfortunately, their uni game is just a notch below FSU’s classic garnet & gold. BFBS for both teams notwithstanding. FSU gets the nod here.
The Pick: Florida State -7
Capitol One Orange Bowl: Clemson (1) vs. Oklahoma (4)
Thursday, December 31, 2015; 4:00 pm ESPN
Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Spread: Oklahoma is a 3.5 point favorite
The first of the two playoff games is gonna be a beaut, as both schools have fantastic “regular” unis. Even Clemson’s (worn once yearly) all purple uni isn’t awful, and it’s in school colors. Oklahoma introduced their “Bring The Wood” alts last year, and they’re clearly a step down — especially those awful toilet seat cover Nikelaces. Fortunately, we won’t see those unis in this one. Still, Clemson has the superior set overall.
The Pick: Clemson +3.5
Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Alabama (2) vs. Michigan State (3)
Thursday, December 31, 2015; 8:00 pm ESPN
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Spread: Alabama is a 10 point favorite
Anyone who’s been reading Uni Watch long enough knows my pick here. Alabama, in my opinion, has the best uniforms in college football, so it doesn’t matter who their opponent is, they’re not getting the nod. That being said, I do like Sparty’s unis, for the most part — but the bronze alternate helmet (worn twice) and the alternate top (with bronze & black panels) just don’t look right. Sparty is green and white. Stick with those.
The Pick: Alabama -10
Outback Bowl: Northwestern (13) vs. Tennessee (23)
Friday January 1, 2016; Noon ESPN2
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Spread: Tennessee is an 8 point favorite
Despite switching (or perhaps because of it) from adidas to Nike, Tennessee’s unis remain some of the best in the college game, even with the ridiculous smokey gray alt. Northwestern is never going to be “Northwestern” until they return the northwestern stripes to the sleeves. Not much of a contest here — UT dominates in the uni game.
The Pick: Tennessee -8
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Michigan (14) vs Florida (19)
Friday January 1, 2016; 1:00 pm ABC
Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, FL
Spread: Michigan is a 4 point favorite
Say what you will about UM coach Jim Harbro, but the dude has great taste in uniforms, restricting Michigan’s combos to a grand total of 2 (with the road unis a 1974 throwback look). Beautiful. The Gators have great unis too, although their use of mono-blue is too often, and their adding the throwback white hat for a couple games this season push them out of the “pick” column. This should be another good looking game (too bad UF won’t wear their orange/blue/orange combo, as they seem to be snakebitten in it — that’s a great combo).
The Pick: Michigan -4
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State (7) vs. Notre Dame (8)
Friday January 1, 2016; 1:00 pm ESPN
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Spread: Ohio State is a 6.5 point favorite
What in the name of Brutus Buckeye is going on with THE Ohio State University? BFBS unis? C’mon man. That’s a gimmick for other schools, but not you! If you HAVE to pull that, at least go gray-for-gray’s-sake — especially since IT’S A SCHOOL COLOR. Fail. I’ll overlook UND’s comically awful one-off all green number here, because it’s what they do (and they only do it for their “Shamrock Series” game once yearly). You disappoint me, THE, you really do.
The Pick: Notre Dame +6.5
Rose Bowl: Iowa (5) vs. Stanford (6)
Friday January 1, 2016; 5:00 pm ESPN
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Spread: Stanford is a 6.5 point favorite
This game might have been a coin-flip tossup until Stanford broke out their BFBS number in the Conference Title Game against USC. FFS. Luckily for them, the uni-gods didn’t strike them down…but perhaps it was enough to keep them out of the playoffs. Iowa actually wore a special all-black uni themselves this year, but that is a school color. This will be a great looking game, but Hawkeye ekes out the pick here.
The Pick: Iowa +6.5
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss (12) vs. Oklahoma State (16)
Friday January 1, 2016; 8:30 pm ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Spread: Ole Miss is a 7 point favorite
Both teams like to wear a bunch of different helmets (Ole Miss busted out their baby blue throwbacks 3 times this season) and uni combos…but the Cowboys want to be Oregon. Sadly. And it’s too bad, because the Cowboys wearing orange and black combos really look awesome. But the gray, the white hats, the multiple uni combos — it’s all too much. It’s a tough call here, but the Rebs get the edge.
The Pick: Ole Miss -7
TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia vs. Penn State
Saturday January 2, 2016; Noon ESPN
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Spread: Georgia is a 6.5 point favorite
As is the case with Alabama, if you’ve been reading UW long enough, you know I love PSU’s classic unis. So in this matchup with UGA, it’s UGA (who would win almost any other matchup) that gets the shorter end of the pick stick. The Bulldogs unis aren’t perfect (and both home and road suffer from the giant Nikelace), but they’re mighty nice. Just not nice enough.
The Pick: Penn State +6.5
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Kansas State
Saturday January 2, 2016; 3:20 ESPN
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
Spread: Arkansas is an 11 point favorite
Last year the Razorbacks got a new uni set, and it was a big improvement — in fact, except for the “tusks” on the front of uniform, it’s pretty damn sweet. K-State has been classic (in fact, a purple/silver/white clone of Dallas’ home unis) for many years under Coach Bill Snyder, who’s kept the team from falling off the deep end uni-wise. It’s a tough call, but not super tough.
The Pick: Kansas State +11
Valero Alamo Bowl: TCU (11) vs. Oregon (15)
Saturday January 2, 2016; 6:45 ESPN
Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Spread: TCU is a 1 point favorite
Depending on your perspective, this game is either a uni watcher’s dream…or nightmare. Now, you guys KNOW I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Oregon for years, and we’ve been tracking the Ducks uni machinations for years. They invented GFGS, BFBS, a different combo for every game, etc. etc. They also jumped the shark this year with those Lewis & Clark things. Oh, and shockingly, they’ll have a new uniform just for this game. But their opponents, TCU, are pretty much Oregon-wannabes, and their new set of “frogskin” unis introduced this year are just putrid. The scales tip to UO here.
The Pick: Oregon +1
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl: Arizona State vs. West Virginia
Saturday January 2, 2016; 10:15 pm ESPN
Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
Spread: “Pick ’em”
And our penultimate bowl (save for the National Championship game
The Pick: West Virginia (even)
Well folks ”” there you have it. Part II of my annual Bowl picking by uni indulgence. Feel free to disagree with my choices, and if you lose money betting this way, well, don’t bet money on sports. I hope you enjoyed these look-backs at the unis worn throughout the season by the bowl participants. These posts probably take me longer to create than any others I do throughout the year…but it’s a labor of love.
The NBA on Christmas Day…
There aren’t a lot of professional sports played on Christmas Day, so the NBA basically has the entire holiday to itself. Which is great if you don’t celebrate Christmas, or don’t particularly care for it or spending time with your family, or you brought your phone/tablet with you to Gramma’s house or…
As you’re probably aware, the NBA did special Christmas uniforms this year, and for once, they didn’t suck. In fact, they were pretty good. Paul had the exclusive on the uniforms way back in May. Since then, we learned that 10 teams would participate (even though all teams were given the unis, presumably to move some more merch).
Then we got the graphics and they looked even better:
I didn’t watch any of yesterday’s games, but I did check out some of the game photos. Some of the games were color versus color (except the Spurs, whose unis were cream, and the Lakers whose unis were white). They looked pretty sweet. The script font and numbers were custom, but all 10 teams shared them. The rest of the uniforms were in the same style as the team’s current uniforms, so it was an interesting mash-up of styles.
Anyway, here’s some shots of yesterday’s action:
New Orleans vs. Miami:
Chicago vs. Oklahoma City:
Cleveland vs. Golden State:
San Antonio vs. Houston:
Los Angeles (Clippers) vs. Los Angeles (Lakers) (and I think I speak for the entire civilized world when I say the Clippers should immediately ditch their current unis and wear these for the remainder of the season):
Last Call for the Vilkmas Raffle!!!
In case you missed it last Sunday, Jim Vilk and I are raffling off some very cool stuff from Jimmer’s personal collection. Full details here.
Boxing Day/Kwanzaa Ticker
A VERY mini-ticker for today, done up old-school style
“Here’s a great look at the helmets that will be worn for Saturday’s Camping World Independence Bowl,” reports Andrew Cosentino. “The trophy is prominently displayed as well.” … “Got a copy of the 1982 NFL Encyclopedia for Christmas,” writes Gene Sanny. “Aside from team histories, playoff histories, NFL/college all star game results and things like that, it had some cool uniform pages at the back. Here’s a(nother) pic. Oh and a really close up shot of Franco Harris’ helmet; you can see how they slit the decal so it would conform to the curve of the helmet–also it appears to be a paper type decal, rather than the more plastic-ky type they use today.” … The CHP’s in Iowa’s escort are representing the Hawkeyes well (from Matt Brown). … Miami is going white/white/orange in today’s Sun Bowl (via Adam Apatoff). … Here’s a look at the Bayern kit (from Patrick Thomas). And here’s the Bundesliga ball (also from Patrick Thomas). … “Was at my mom’s house for Christmas and found these 7-11 slurpee cups in the basement,” says Rob Heubeck. “Not sure how old they are but probably from 1973 or so.” … And finally, because he didn’t have his tree up last weekend when I ran the “ornament” feature, here’s a set of them from native Pittsburgher Robert Brashear: a Steelers helmet, a Grays baseball, a Santa Babe, and a Troy Polamalu. Says Robert, “From a pittsburgh guy in New York. The Troy Palamalu and babe santa are my favorites.”
And that’s all for today. That’s my penultimate post for 2015. Hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful and peaceful Christmas. Back tomorrow with more good stuff. Till then,
Follow me Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Merry Christmas, Uni-verse. May you share it with those you love. And Phil, you do a wonderful right hand job ”” don’t let anyone say otherwise.”