By Phil Hecken
And now, the final annual look back (with an excuse to pick the Bowl game winners) at the 2018 uniforms and combinations of all the teams involved in the final set of College Football Bowl Games, covering your matchups for today and tomorrow.
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 2018 season. I usually get about 50% correct this way (which is to say, about the same odds as if I’d flipped a coin).
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.
As previously mentioned I’ll be breaking them up into segments: two weekends ago (see link above) — the 11 bowls that took place the first week. Last weekend saw matchups for the 13 games played this past week (link above), and finally today is the last 16 bowls (excluding the final-final National Championship Game to be played on Monday, January 7th) with teams you’ve actually watched all season long. You can click on any image to enlarge.
So, without further ado, here is part III…
Michigan vs. Florida
Saturday, December 29; Noon; ESPN
Spread: Michigan is a 7.5 point favorite
After going “crazy” with four combos last year, Michigan returned to just two: and they’re both classic (though some would prefer UM to go with maize pants on the road). Florida also looked pretty great this season, even wearing a script “Gators” on their white hats. One of my favorite things about them used to be their “stealth” striping pattern, which was always orange/blue/white/blue/orange, no matter what jersey or pants, but they scrapped that on the orange kits a few years back. This will be a good looking game regardless, but I thing maize & blue gets a slight nod over orange & blue.
The Pick: I’ll take TSUN and give the points.
Virginia vs. South Carolina
Saturday, December 29; 12:30 pm; ABC
Spread: SCar is a 4.5 point favorite
After going with only two combos (a pleasant surprise) last season, this year Virginia debuted new unis and showed off a few variations — and their navy and orange is a pleasing combo to say the least. USC (the only one in the show this year) looked equally resplendent in their garnet and black; they’ve really improved over the years since moving to UA. This one is really a tough call, but I think I have to lean to SCar. Barely.
The Pick: South Carolina giving up the points
Nevada vs. Arkansas State
Saturday, December 29; 1:15 pm; CBSSN
Spread: Ark St. is a 1.5 point favorite
Gah. I have a feeling this one won’t be so easy on the eyes, though depending on the combos worn, it might be passable. Picking a “favorite” is tough here: Ark State is their scarlet & black have atrocious fonts, truncated pants stripes on their white & red set, and TNDL on their black set. Woof. Nevada is about as plain (normally a good thing) and boring (never a good thing) as can be. In theory, their colors are blue and silver, but that stuff looks gray to me. But then, I don’t hate gray as a color as long as it’s official. That gives the Pack the nod. Barely.
The Pick: I’ll take Nevada and the points
Clemson vs. Notre Dame
Saturday, December 29; 4:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Clemson is a 11.5 point favorite
I never used to like Clemson’s unis, but they’ve gotten better over the past several years, with Nike giving them normal stripes. They also stick to a “pattern” in that they wear the all-purple for one game a year, in the later half of the season, and then wear orange britches for their final games. Damn that looks good. I don’t hate Notre Dame’s uniforms, but this year they actually went off the board three times: the “throwback” (including the retro helmet), a green jersey (a nice choice, except it’s a terrible shade, IMO) and then … well, that awful Shamrock Series Yankee-lookalike getup they wore against Syracuse. Yecch. The Tigers would have probably gotten my pick either way, but that pinstriped pants number sealed the deal. Score the first playoff game to the orange & purple.
The Pick: Clemson, even giving up a ton.
Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Saturday, December 29; 8:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Alabama is a 14.5 point favorite
OK. No contest here. You know (and if you don’t you should by now) that Alabama is my favorite uni-attired team in all of football, so they’d be my pick regardless of opponent. But this is an easy one vs. Oklahoma. I’ll give the Sooners this: their switch from Nike to Jordan Brand made their alternate “Bring The Wood” unis much better, as they went from truly awful toilet seat collars and truncated pants stripes to something much more visually appealing. Still not enough, but better. Playoff number two locked and loaded.
The Pick: Alabama, giving up even more points
Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Monday, December 31; Noon; ESPN
Spread: Cincinnati is a 5.5 point favorite
VaTech got new unis this season, and while I liked their previous previous UCLA loops, this new set isn’t too bad. Almost — not shown in the combos above was an unfortunate rear design that leaves me thinking the designers were like OK, that’s good enough. Cincy, meanwhile, doesn’t exactly scream beautiful design, particularly with the UA-special thigh stripes (common to several of their teams). Good colors (red & black) and particularly that red/black/red number help their cause. This is a tough one, but I’ll tip my cap to…
The Pick: Cincinnati, giving up the points
Stanford vs. Pitt
Monday, December 31; 2:00 pm; CBS
Spread: Stanford is a 6.5 point favorite
If only Pitt wore their wonderful royal and athletic gold throwbacks for the full season, this would be an easy, easy call. But, alas, the stuck with the navy & metallic for most of the season. Stanford — resplendent in white and cardinal — still love to throw in the BFBS outfit at least once a year. The Cardinal also made an ever-so-slight change this season, adding a black outline to their numbers when in years past they were sans-outline. I’m not sure that was a change for the better. Here’s hoping the Panthers wear throwbacks to make this a glorious game (one that even Jimmer Vilk might watch). It would be an easy call but for Pitt’s crappy regular unis.
The Pick: I’ll take Stanford giving up almost a TD
Oregon vs. Michigan State
Monday, December 31; 3:00 pm; FOX
Spread: Oregon is a 2.5 point favorite
When’s the last time you saw Oregon with less uniform iterations in a season than their opponent? Never? Well, when Oregon went to their new unis, with GIANT numbers, the plan was (I guess) for them to play in monochrome all year, and to repeat several combos. Shocking! Sparty, on the other hand, stuck entirely with green and white combos this year (in prior years they’d done some “pro combat” and bronze mixing). Those colors always look great, although I wish they’d rid themselves of the awful white set with weird striping. The plain white are just fine. As much as I love me some Ducks, they didn’t have an overall better look than Sparty, but it was a lot closer this year than in years past, for sure.
The Pick: I’ll take Michigan State and the points
Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
Monday, December 31; 3:45 pm; ESPN
Spread: Mizzou is a 7.5 point favorite
I am not a fan of Mizzou’s unis, but I have to say, I really did like their all gold look (a new uni set for 2018). But that’s about it. They’re not the worst black/gold attired team out there, but they’re far from the best. Okie State, on the other hand, always looks, in the words of Jason Bernard, “predictably gorgeous.” Even the GFGS pieces of the ensemble seem to work. Honestly, orange and black is a great pair of colors, and OSU milks all possible combos to perfection. In what goes against my GFGS and multiple outfit mantra, this is one team who can pull it off, and pull it off well! Cowboy over Tiger here.
The Pick: Gimme Okie State and the points
Utah vs. Northwestern
Monday, December 31; 7:00 pm; FS1
Spread: Utah is a 6.5 point favorite
I think I’ll take a holiday from watching this one. In a “lesser of two evils” scenario, you have both teams wearing many, many different uni sets, but at least Utah sticks to school colors. NU not only goes BFBS but GFGS; it’s tough to wear 13 different combos when you only have two official colors. I like the Utes colors (but hate the pants striping), and those red satin hats are purdy. There’s nothing good about NU. Sorry.
The Pick: Utah, giving six and a half
Texas A&M vs. North Carolina State
Monday, December 31; 7:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: aTm is a 4.5 point favorite
At last, a slam dunk! Except for the beveling on the fonts, I absolutely love aTm’s unis, and I love even more the fact that they kept it so simple (two pairs of pants, one helmet, two jerseys) this year. That’d be a tough uni set for anyone to top, but the Wolfpack make it so easy. NC State was one of several teams to get new unis this year, and there’s pretty much nothing to like about them: bad fonts, weird shoulder “striping” (what the hell is that, anyway?) and not one, not two, but THREE sets of white pants, plus two white jerseys. Yeah, um no. This one’s easy.
The Pick: Texas A&M giving up 4.5
Mississippi State vs. Iowa
Tuesday, January 1; Noon; ESPN2
Spread: Miss State is a 6.5 point favorite
Miss State looks a lot like aTm, and if they kept it to two combos all year, I’d like them even more. They have a great template, and I really dig the gray pants. Not quite sure what to make of their “Mississippi Statesman” uniform, but I won’t hold it against them. It wouldn’t matter anyway, though, because Iowa’s unis are far superior (superior, even, to their NFL cousins, the Steelers — insofar as the Hawkeyes have real block fonts and stripes that fit on their shoulder caps — unlike their NFL bretheren). This should be a good looking game, for sure, as we kick off the 2019 year.
The Pick: Iowa, getting 6.5
Penn State vs. Kentucky
Tuesday, January 1; 1:00; ABC
Spread: Penn State is a 6.5 point favorite
After Alabama, PSU are probably my second favorite uni-attired team in the NCAA, so this game is basically no contest. And even if it were, Kentucky would lose to most other schools anyway. I do love the checkerboard pattern, and if they kept it to just white and blue unis, I’d love it even more. But they wear a shiny silver hat and BFBS, and that’s two strikes against them. When going up against the Nits, it’s not even close.
The Pick: Penn State, giving six and a half
UCF vs. LSU
Tuesday, January 1; 1:00; ESPN
Spread: LSU is a 7.5 point favorite
When will UCF get respect? They haven’t lost a game in two years, and yet, they’re in the Fiesta Bowl against a three-loss LSU team as more than a touchdown dog. Maybe this game will remedy some of that. Unfortunately, it won’t in the uni department. UCF is still second tier when it comes to their unis — and none of their sets (save for maybe the Citronaut unis) looks any good. At least they don’t look like Rutgers anymore. Now, the Bayou Bengals…they almost always look great and their only “special” uni this year kinda fell a bit flat (the helmet was supposed to color shift in certain lighting conditions), but still, not a terrible third outfit. UCF may have my football respect, but they don’t earn my uni respect…yet.
The Pick: LSU giving 7.5
Ohio State vs. Washington
Tuesday, January 1; 5:00; ESPN
Spread: Ohio State is a 6.5 point favorite
The Granddaddy will be a pretty good looking game as both teams keep it simple uni-wise. THE had to go BFBS, of course, and Washington wore an attractive all white number with shiny purple hats. But Washington’s unis overall are just not good. They have the ridiculous armpit inserts and black sleeve caps on the purple jersey. They’d been keeping it simple for the past few years, but maybe their next uniform set will be even better. Until then, OSU will get the nod.
The Pick: Ohio State giving six and a half
Georgia vs. Texas
Tuesday, January 1; 8:45 pm; ESPN
Spread: Georgia is an 11.5 point favorite
Our last bowl of the season is probably the best overall uni matchup of them all (at least if you like the classics), and this one will be a tough, tough call. Uga always looks sharp with their red hats and silver britches, and Texas — well, to me, they have the best all white (road) uniform in the game. Texas got slightly updated unis this year when they slightly enlarged the “TEXAS” across the chest. Otherwise, they look as great as always. Burnt orange never looked so good.
The Pick: Gimme Texas and all those points.
And there you have it — the final 16 bowls of the 2018 season. Let’s see if I can do better than my usual 50% in picking winners based on the better uni combos worn throughout the season.
For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.
Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.
Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):
Title: “Untouchable at 43”
Subject: Nolan Ryan, 1990
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 40″ x 32″
At 43 years old, Cy Young was in his last full year in the big leagues, straddled by a large belly that impeded his movement off the mound. When Walter Johnson was the same age, he had been retired from pitching for four years. Bob Feller, with his last good season at the age of 35, quit a month after turning 38. Sandy Koufax and his arthritic elbow both pitched their last game at the age of 30.
Admittedly, the lifespan of an effective power pitcher is not a long one. Unless your name is Lynn Nolan Ryan. On June 11, 1990, he proved just that. 33,436 fans filed into the Oakland Coliseum on a mild evening to witness history, as the aging fireballer tossed the sixth no-hit, no-run ballgame of his storied career.
Perhaps it came as a surprise to most. At that point, Ryan’s 24th year in the majors had not been the kindest to him. He had just recently gotten off of a stay on disabled list due to a sore back that had been hampered him since an early May start. Upon his return – coincidentally also against the Athletics – he gave up five runs in just as many innings in a 5-4 loss. In his previous six starts, he had gone 0-3 with an 8.86 earned run average. In fact, he had not won since April 26.
Also, on the other side of the battery was John Russell, who had never caught Ryan before. Veterans Geno Petralli and Mike Stanley were both injured, so the assignment was handed to Russell, who had been given a Triple A contract by Texas in May. In fact, only six weeks prior to that June night, he had been helping coach a high school team in suburban Philadelphia.
Add to that the fact that the Rangers were facing Oakland again, who were in first place and seemed well on their way to a third straight World Series appearance, it seemed like the ingredients were very much an unlikely combination for a stellar effort.
However, the opposing Athletics failed to come even close to getting a strong, clean hit. They only twice provided anything that could even remotely be considered a big scare to the defense, with Willie Randolph flying out to the warning track in left to open the fourth inning, and then Rickey Henderson’s liner to center with one on in the sixth.
Ryan’s first two strikeouts of the night came in the opening inning alone, with him wracking up another twelve by the game’s conclusion. Each of the fourteen was of the swinging variety, showcasing how great the combination of his fastball and changeup was. The latter carried him early on, as his stiff back was preventing him from hitting 90 mph on his heaters. Though flinching and grimacing with pain throughout the entire contest, he managed to strike out the side in the fifth on 11 pitches, and according to the Athletics, eventually reached the mid-90s on his fastball in the final three innings.
Offensively for Texas, Julio Franco came through with a pair of two-run homers, and even John Russell contributed with a solo blast of his own, but Ryan was the star.
He started the ninth by striking out pinch-hitter Ken Phelps. A check-swing by Rickey Henderson led to a slow roller and a strong, off-balance throw by Jeff Huson to get the speedster at first. And finally, on a 2-0 pitch, Willie Randolph flew out to shallow right in foul territory. Ruben Sierra made the catch at 9:56 to end the game and begin the celebration. Ryan jubilantly pumped his right arm into the air as he was mobbed by his teammates, who would carry him off the field. Partisanship be damned, the Oakland crowd was with the Texan starting in the seventh inning or so, even chanting “Nolan!” over the course of the ninth. They showered him with a well-deserved standing ovation and raucous cheering when the final out was recorded.
In the clubhouse, Ryan told reporters that the accomplishment was a special one because it came so late in his career, and that it really meant something to have the team so emotionally involved. Even Oakland manager Tony La Russa said, “You had a feeling early this would be something special.
That idea could not have been further from what Nolan was thinking. Before the game he had claimed that his back felt ‘about the same,’ which in other words, was still hurting. Sure, he was rolling his hips and twisting his trunk between pitches to provide some relief, and strolled to the back of the mound to give his body more time to recover. And the next morning, he was to have his back examined in Los Angeles.
But on that Monday night, Nolan was untouchable.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
Gene Sanny renders…
…Lee Roy Selmon in gouache.
I’ve featured Gene Sanny a couple times recently, drawing/painting in a style known as “gouache,” which Gene has described previously:
It’s called gouache painting. Basically addition by subtraction – erasing paint. … gouache is not an easy thing to perfect.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth description of gouache, click here.
Anyway, Gene is back with a beautiful new artwork, this time the great Lee Roy Selmon, who he captured in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers mono-white “creamsicle” style uniforms. You can click on all of the pics below to enlarge.
Gene describes this one curtly: “Lee Roy selmon in my favorite Bucs uniform, the original ’76 version with the orange numbers, and the process.”
And the finished product:
How great is that?
Thanks again, Gene (and keep ’em coming)!
By Anthony Emerson
NFL News: Justin Berger noticed the Roku Store did some editing to a photo of Ahmad Bradshaw to inexplicably turn him into a Cowboy. … Eagles WR Alshon Jeffrey wore injured CB Ronald Darby’s jersey during practice yesterday (from Sam McKinley). … A Twitter user noticed that the lettering on a weight belt in the Jags’ weightroom is the same as their own custom typeface (from Kristopher Terrell).
College/High School Football News: As a diehard Seinfeld fan, I was loving Jack Allison’s wristband during last night’s Camping World Bowl (thanks to Jeremy Reeder, @rtatford, James Gardner and everyone else who sent this in). … Notre Dame will have NOBs for the Cotton Bowl against Clemson (from @wr12066). … Virginia Tech will go maroon-maroon-white with matte helmets for the Military Bowl (from Andrew Cosentino). … Also posted in the hockey section: Minnesota was giving fans 2013 football cups during last night’s (hockey) game against Ferris State. At least they’re recycling! (from @rivermen123).
Hockey News: Cross-posted from the NCAAF section: Minnesota was giving fans 2013 football cups during last night’s (hockey) game against Ferris State. At least they’re recycling! (from @rivermen123).
College and High School Hoops News: A lot going on in this shot of Penn State captain Gene Harris from December 1961, but the two big things are 1) the freaking awesome socks and 2) the sleeved jerseys for Penn State (many thanks to Mark Impomeni for sending this our way). … Franklin (Tn.) High went with some gorgeous throwbacks last night (from Chris Howell). … A lot going on in this photo from Josh Claywell. Taylor County (Ky.) High has white jerseys with white numbers, and Louisville Doss (Ky.) High has a tramp-stamp logo on the shorts and a scale-like pattern in the uni numbers, which makes sense, as their nickname is the Dragons. … Evidently there is a Loyola player with the surname “Fives” who wears, you guessed it, No. 5 (from James Gilbert).
Soccer News: West Ham announced a new contract for CB Declan Rice with a special kit with the year “2024” as the number (from @alwayscromulent). … Eintracht Frankfurt fans voted for this gold kit to be Die Adler‘s 2019-20 third kit. … Here’s a look at what Premier League sides will be wearing over the weekend (from Josh Hinton). … BT Sport has come out with the latest installment of ‘What I Wore’, featuring Spurs midfielder Dele Alli.