By Phil Hecken, with the SMUW Crew
There didn’t seem to be too much really good Uni Watching in the NCAA yesterday, as in week three teams don’t typically bust out crazy new uniforms, for some reason. This year was no exception. Oh sure, we had a bunch of new unis and a lot of new helmets (or at least new detailing on the helmets), but nothing, ya know, too ridiculous.
One outfit worn yesterday wasn’t even new — LSU’s return to white hats and britches. This was the fifth time that combo has been worn, and the team is 4-1 wearing them, so clearly they don’t have a negative affect on the W-L.
It’s a weird thing, this uni. I can’t really decide if I like it or not. I mean, it’s a nice enough uni — I love it when helmets match pants, but for the rare times that LSU wears purple jerseys, I kinda wish they’d wear gold helmets and pants, as that’s always been a great look.
As far as alternates go, this is a much better look than the color shifting purple hats the team wore last year. Maybe I was just off-put a bit by LSU’s opposition (who gave them a bit of a scare in the first half) also wearing white helmets & pants creating a sea of white.
Anyway, we’ve got a big post today — including a sub-lede below on the New York Jets BFBS unis (which they’ll debut on Monday Night Football tomorrow), so I’ll let TJ take it from here.
Sunday Morning Uni Watch
By Terry Duroncelet, Jr.
Not gonna lie, I wasn’t too happy with how Week 2’s piece came out, but let’s make up for that with everything I could find for Week 3.
• It was a black-and-white affair between Wake Forest and North Carolina, and not a bad-looking one at that. I still can’t get around how… PLAIN those numbers are for the Demon Deacons. Like chicken with only –and barely any– salt and pepper.
• Oh boy, Houston… we need to talk. If you’re gonna wear BFBS, can you at least coordinate? Like, a black helmet with a red logo would’ve looked 2,456 quillion times better. Granted, it’d be nowhere near as good as wearing a proper red jersey/white pants combo, but here we are. Or at least wear white pants if you must keep the white helmet. This… DOESN’T WORK.
• Utah wore their awesome State outline helmets against Idaho State. Those pants are still a tragedy, however. Also, while hunting for pictures of this game, I found this thumbnail (for one of those fake “WATCH FREE SPORTSBALL LIVE LINK IN THE DESCRIPTION!!!1!!11!!!” videos on YouTube that people upload on gameday). There is A LOT to unpack here. We’re just gonna move on because… WOW.
• Cincinnati wore their retro uniforms against Miami (OH), and there’s something that I wanted to point out (I may have already pointed it out a long time ago, but I don’t remember, so just in case): Under Armour uses a specific block font for their numbers, and it borders on Athletic Block levels of unattractive. Just about every UA-outfitted school that uses a block font (and nothing custom) wears them, with some exceptions, such as Notre Dame (although they did wear the “UA-block” numbers when they first switched from adidas back in 2014). It’s simply not a good block number treatment, and UA can’t come up with something better soon enough. Other than that, Cincy looked alright. Not my favorite look, but it’s passable. Also, something we haven’t seen from the Bearcats until yesterday: a 150 patch!
• I loved Minnesota’s helmets from their matchup against Georgia Southern. The Gophers wore Goldy on the helmets for the first time since 2017. Also, note the stripped-down NFL-style captaincy patch in this pic. Speaking of captaincy marks, Georgia Southern’s treatment looks like it was drawn on with a Sharpie from afar (h/t/ @VictoryCB). Minnesota’s killing it with the helmets this year.
• From one Tech to the next: Georgia Tech wore their gold jerseys against The Citadel (which oddly enough, is a different template from their standard unis). Also, I don’t know if I missed something, but does anyone know the significance of the crown-looking decal on the back of the helmets? As an aside, if you look at that last photo, you’ll notice a #90 in a heart on the nape of the neck of the jersey. That’s in memory of GT defensive lineman Brandon Adams, who passed away earlier this year. Here’s another photo of the heart 90 on the back of a helmet.
• Alabama only won by 24 against South Carolina, and as such, wasn’t as lopsided as we’re use to seeing with Bama vs. Whomever, but this nose bumper helped to make up the difference (h/t @GriffinTSmith).
• East Carolina’s helmets paired with their purple pants had about the same effect as mixing two different blue components from two different blue suits, and the results being nothing short of… well, yeah. The photos don’t do it justice, but the results were not great.
• I don’t remember if I mentioned this already in Week 1, but we have another member of the no-150 group of… teams that aren’t wearing the 150th patch for college football??? (I really gotta come up with a name here): USC.
• Speaking of which, Air Force has one of the few color-matched 150 patches in college football.
That about does it for Week 3. Next week is when THE REAL FUN BEGINS, and conference play starts to heat up. I noted some helmets above, but if you need more (or saw a helmet that I didn’t cover), you know who to call. Hope everyone has a great day, and I’ll see you next week!
Memal’s 5 & 1
Following in the footsteps of the original “5 & 1,” Jim Vilk, Catherine Ryan after him, and finally Joe Ringham, for 2019 we have a new “5 & 1” (five good looking and one stinker) uni-vs-uni matchups — Michael “Memal” Malinowski. Like Joe, Catherine & Jim, Memal will pick HIS 5 best looking/1 awful matchup, and occasionally have some honorable mentions (both good and bad). You may agree and you may disagree — these are, after all, just opinions and everyone has one. Feel free to let him know what you think in the comments section.
I’ve discovered in my three weeks of doing this piece that finding photos of games that start after 4PM eastern time is either boom or bust! I wanted to include Oklahoma and UCLA in the piece this week, but I struggled to find more than one photo with both teams in it to feature in this segment, which isn’t enough, so they’ll just have to suffer for an unofficial 6th place. The top 5 looking games this week then are:
5. Florida @ Kentucky
4. Clemson @ Syracuse
Are you a fan of the color orange? Than this was the game for you this weekend! Syracuse brought back the uniform template they never should have strayed from and between their blue jerseys and Clemson’s white pants there was enough contrast to keep this from looking like an intersquad scrimmage.
3. TCU @ Purdue
It was a spy vs spy matchup in West Lafayette as TCU went full stormtrooper against Purdue’s all blackset. Between Purdue’s helmet featuring a railroad pattern stripe and the shoulder pattern on TCU’s uniforms there were some very nice details in this matchup!
2. Pitt at Penn State
Our first look at Pitt’s new away threads came at Beaver Stadium where the home team wore their traditional white/blue/white combination. I hope all of you who care about this matchup soaked it up for all it’s worth, for who knows when we’ll see these two well dressed in-state rivals meet again.
1. Georgia Southern @ Minnesota
For those who love great looking helmets, this was the matchup of the weekend! Not only did you have Georgia Southern rock their helmet numbers in their traditional looking blue/white/white combo, but Minnesota wore their maroon/maroon/gold set and sported two different decals on either side of their helmets! A great game on top of being a great looking game earns you the top spot this week!
And because somebody has to be the sacrificial lamb…
@1 Washington State vs Houston
Ummm, who are these teams? The only standard team colors present in this match up are the jersey numbers, so if you were just flipping through the channels you would have to find the score bug to know who was playing. Aren’t teams concerned about branding anymore?
Thanks Memal! You can follow Memal on the Twitter and let him know what you think of his choices or make a 5 & 1 suggestion of your own!
NCAA Uni Tracking
Uni Watch will again track the uniform combinations worn by the “Power 5” conferences. All of the 2018 trackers are back!
We’ve got Rex Henry (tracking the ACC), Dennis Bolt (tracking the PAC-12), Kyle Acker (tracking the Big XII), and Ethan Dimitroff (tracking the B1G AND the SEC). Rex, Dennis, and Kyle and are all returning from 2015, and Ethan is back after joining the NCAA Uni Tracking a couple seasons ago. Ethan continues his dual role of tracking both the B1G and the SEC.
Here are the Uni Trackers for the Power 5 Conferences:
Rex is up first today (ACC):
And now, here’s Dennis with the PAC-12:
And here is Ethan, with the SEC:
And here is Kyle with the Big XII:
Follow Kyle on Twitter here.
And here’s Ethan with the B1G:
Welcome to the 2019 Oregon Ducks Uni Tracker. This little project was originally begun way back in 2008-09 by Michael Princip, who retired after several seasons, whereupon the project was continued by Tim E. O’Brien. He, too, retired from the tracking, but the project has been ably kept up by the man who also tracks the Pac12, Dennis Bolt.
Here’s this week’s Uniform Combo for the Ducks (you can click to enlarge):
You can read about this uniform, and MUCH MORE, by checking out the Duck Tracker here!
Jets To Go BFBS on MNF
Don’t adjust your tv’s tomorrow night — the J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets will be breaking out their BFBS uniforms. Most of us consider them BFBS anyway — but this isn’t necessarily so, as reader Dylan Nir (a lifelong Jets fan) explains below. Please give this a read — it’s really well done. Thanks!
The Jets Black Jerseys are More than BFBS — They are Quintessentially Jets
By Dylan Nir
Tomorrow, on Monday Night Football, the Jets are going to wear black uniforms for the first time in their sixty-year history. BFBS jerseys (black for black’s sake, for the uninitiated), rightfully catch a lot of flak. Paul did a pretty good job of capturing that in his 2017 article, so I won’t harp on his old points, but as the Cardinals, Lions, and especially the 49ers can attest, it doesn’t tend to work in the NFL. Gratuitously adding black almost always reads as a cheap marketing scheme to sell more shirts, and damages teams’ histories more than it enhances it.
Many will lump the Jets’ new 2019 black unis in with the others (Paul included), but as a life-long Jets fan, it doesn’t feel that way. These jerseys, though marketed embarrassingly as “Stealth Black,” are not BFBS. They aren’t a ploy to attract younger fans with what a stuffy marketing team thinks is a trendy, cool look. Rather, these uniforms are quintessentially Jets.
The Jets Have Had Black Before
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time the Jets have had black in their uniforms. Starting in 1990, the Jets added black trim to their “Sack Exchange”-era Kelly green and white uniforms. The touches, though not overbearing, were far from subtle. Head Coach Bruce Coslet, the “driving force behind introducing black elements to the uniform,” wanted them, “from top to toe.” The black trim and facemasks gave a hardened look to the classic uniforms.
Black Didn’t Just Stop When the Jets Changed Jerseys
Though the jets switched back to a classic green and white look in 1998, the early 2000s saw an explosion of black Jets gear in the fan marketplace. As a kid growing up in New Jersey, black Curtis Martin and Chad Pennington Reebok jerseys were everywhere. A few years later, they got a touch-up somewhat akin to the black unis the Jets are going with now. Every time I make a trip to the Meadowlands on gameday, I still see one or two of these around. Youth teams calling themselves the Jets integrated black in their jerseys, including current Jet Ty Montgomery’s team.
Winter coats, hats, and all other types of Jets merchandise came in and heavily featured black. Though the team was no longer sporting it on the field, in the tri-state area, black had become a legitimate third team color.
Black and New York
But black doesn’t just have an important place in Jets history. It has a deeper meaning for fans in New York. The Jets cheesy marketing around “Gotham” misses the mark. But for fans of the “other,” often overlooked New York teams, the significance is clear.
Think the early 2000s Mets. Their black alternate jerseys are iconic [NO THEY’RE NOT — PH], and captured some of the team’s signature moments of the era, especially their 2000 World Series run. The Yankees would never be caught dead wearing black (I choose to forget this year’s Players Weekend ever happened) let alone wear an alternate in the World Series. The storied history of the New York Knicks, with their bright blue and orange colors, is countered how? By the Nets, coming into Brooklyn with Jay Z and black uniforms. Their modern black look is a statement, and one of the growing brands of the NBA. Even the Islanders, ever overlooked in favor of Madison Square Garden’s Rangers, unveiled black uniforms in 2011, and a better-looking set in 2015 that highlighted their connection with the Nets.
In the context of New York sports, black jerseys show grit. They show resistance to the more established teams and cultural norms. They give a meaningful addition of revolutionary spirit to the under-appreciated, “secondary” teams’ cultures – teams seemingly always fighting for their legitimacy. The Jets, with three fewer rings than their stadium-mates the Giants (who would also never be seen in black uniforms) encapsulate this chip-on-the-shoulder mentality.
For other cities (save for maybe Los Angeles), this identity doesn’t make sense in quite the same way. That’s why other NFL (and other major sports) teams’ experiments with black have seemed disingenuous – and failed. But for the Jets, it makes perfect sense. Their black jerseys don’t just take a place in NFL uniform history – they are staking their claim in New York history.
The BFBS trend in the NFL seems to be dying down – and good riddance. Teams like the Lions and 49ers have given up on black. Recent uni changes for the Browns and Titans have avoided the color – even minor black elements. So are the Jets clinging on to a nearly dead fad? Nope. They are making a statement in line with the team’s history, culture, fans, and city. And I for one, will be excitedly sporting my black jersey tonight.
Thanks, Dylan. While I don’t necessarily agree with you, you’ve made excellent observations and points! I’m sure some are going to look at the new Jets uniforms (coughJayBraimancough) in a new way. OK, Jay won’t but maybe others will!
Ethan Dimitroff, Field & Helmet Designer
You guys know Ethan from his B1G and SEC tracking, and I’ve featured him on UW a few times showing off his uniform designs and concepts. But he’s also a designer IRL –you may recall this article about him designing a helmet for his alma mater!
When Ethan sent me his tracking yesterday, he included this:
“I’ve also included my high school alma mater’s new football field turf which I designed. They played their first game on the turf last night with a big win. They just finished installing the turf on Thursday. I didn’t know if you wanted to feature that too.”
How cool is that. His alma mater is Riverside High School in Quincy, West Virginia.
Here’s the field he designed:
And the helmet?
Same school that I did the helmet decals in your last article about me. We added a custom center stripe right before the season started. The midfield logo which I designed is also used for award decals on the helmet. As you can see on #52.
Great stuff, Easy E!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: From our Pacific rim correspondent Jeremy Brahm, Taiwan’s Eleven Sports did another throwback broadcast on the Brothers vs Uni-Lions game. They even brought back the old home run animation as well. … Oh. My. God. Seriously, Oh. My. God (from Terry Mark). … The San Francisco Giants became Los Gigantes de San Francisco last night (thanks, Brinke). … You’ve always wanted to see the starting lineup for the Astros sitting on a rocket in the Astrodome right? (from Old Time Hardball).
NFL/CFL News: From thnom comes this interesting video covering all the NFL team names, “How EVERY Team Got Its Name & Identity!” … Tom Brady put powder and towels down his centers’ pants to avoid wet, sweaty footballs, says former player (thanks, Brinke). … Our CFL guy, Wade Heidt, “noticed something interesting from the Ottawa at BC CFL game on Friday night. BC Lions DB Garry Peters was wearing Clemson gloves. Must be his old college gloves as Peters played his college football at Clemson.” … Because everyone has a ranking: here’s another NFL uni ranking article (from Ricky Adams). … The Rams will be wearing white jerseys and pants today, which means their opponents, the Saints, will be wearing black jerseys. The good news is the Saints will wear their gold pants. … This is pretty cool. Jerry Wolper writes, “Mot that I ever gave it a great deal of thought, but I didn’t realize the [Pittsburgh Steelers] logo got filled in freehand.”
College Football News: Check out these very cool Syracuse throwback items n display for their celebration of 150 years of tradition (from Michael MPH). … The amazing Blaise D’Sylva continues his amazing look at all the helmets worn by all 130 FBS teams, yesterday highlighting Pitt helmets. … Good observation from Josh Hinton who writes it’s “Interesting that NBC still uses an older score bug for CFB games but has a modernized score bug for the NFL.”
Hockey News: Pretty cool red line for the Dartmouth Hockey teams — it’s a tree line, get it? (from Stan From Manhattan, g’head). … Did you like alternate jerseys from the 90s? Well, you’re in for a treat. The St. Louis Blues bringing…this uniform…back for three games this season. More here. Wasn’t a fan of them then, and not a fan of them now. … That news prompted Tom O’Grady to post some photos of some prototype Blues sweaters that never saw the ice. … “Here is the front runner for worst Junior uniform of the year very early,” writes Patrick Thomas. I’m inclined to agree.
NBA News: Would you like a Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets jersey for “Free”? Well, if you go to the second game of the season, against the Knicks, they’re giving away 10,000 of them.
Soccer News: For lots and lots of soccer news, always be sure to check the twitter account of Josh Hinton, who tweets more about soccer than anyone alive.
Grab Bag: Richard Branson — he of the “Virgin” businesses — is introducing new cruise ships and the crew will be outfitted with some, um, atypical cruise ship uniforms (from Rand Martin). … Some 140 of these special flags were put up along Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. They were installed ahead of a Monday morning parade planned along Pennsylvania Avenue, called a 51 Star Flag Salute to D.C. Statehood (from William Yurasko). … Really great story here about the demise of paper tickets to games (h/t Brinke).