By Phil Hecken
Four of the Power 5 conferences meet today in their respective championship games (Oregon and Utah played last night, in what should be Sunday’s &1) and all four games are almost guaranteed to be great looking (uni-wise) games. I’m not saying this will be the greatest looking Conference Championship Saturday ever, but based on what the eight squads playing today are (supposed to be) wearing, we should have four of the best looking games of the season. The games themselves may not be as great as the unis, but at least we’ll have some nice eye candy today and tonight.
I frequently pick Bowl Games based on unis — but those are based on a team’s overall look (and I’m probably going to change that up this year, so stay tuned) — but that’s because we don’t often know ahead of time how the teams will be dressing. But in this day and age, when some teams (*coughOregoncough*) can wear a different outfit every game, at least we know what the squads will be busting out today (that’s because they’ve all revealed during the past week). And, really, with the possible exception of Baylor (only because they have many potential combos), they’re all wearing their “
Sunday Saturday Best,” which is how it should be.
Below are the four Power Five conference championship matchups for today (along with time, location, channel and point spread). BCS rankings are in parentheses. All times EST. I’ll pick my four winners (against the spread) based on what I feel is the superior uniform (obviously, I’m biased, but with matchups this good, it’s tough). Let’s start in time order:
Oklahoma Sooners (#6) vs. Baylor Bears (#7)
12pm / ABC
Oklahoma is a 9.5 point favorite
Like all games today, this one will be good looking, with Baylor going green/white/green and the Sooners in their classic crimson hats & shirts. It will certainly be a better looking game than when the two teams met previously this year, when Baylor went mono green and the Sooners sported their Bring the Wood alternates. Baylor actually led that game by 25 points, at home, and lost. I expect them to lose this game as well, but 9.5 is a lot of points. As much as I don’t want to hear “Boomer Sooner” incessantly, their unis…and offense led by Jalen Hurts…are that much better. With Oregon trounching Utah last night, this game is probably for the final playoff birth (assuming a short-handed Georgia loses to LSU). Both teams are 11-1 heading into this matchup. A 12-1 Power 5 team is almost a lock for the final spot. The winner of this will be watching the SEC Championship game with great interest. Both teams will be HUGE LSU fans, for one game only.
The Pick: Oklahoma
LSU Tigers (#2) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (#4)
4pm / CBS
LSU is a 4 point favorite
Another beauty (I’ll probably say that a lot). This is one of those rare games where both teams are wearing their home unis, but that’s only because LSU almost always wears white at home. And both uniforms are spectacular. Gold/white/gold for LSU vs. Red helmets/red jerseys/silver britches for the Dawgs. Unlike Baylor/OU, these two teams did not meet earlier this year. But even if they did, the game would have looked like it will today. There’s a TON at stake here today too (not just the SEC Championship) — a win by the Dawgs and they’re sure to be in the playoff (and almost assuredly out if it if they lose). Both unis are great, but LSU looks really great (at least 4 points better); it’s practically a home game for Georgia though. It’s a tough call, but I can’t see LSU losing their first game (they’re 12-0) here. 11-1 Georgia will keep it close, but not close enough.
The Pick: LSU
Clemson Tigers (3) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (23)
Bank of America Stadium
7:30pm / ABC
Clemson is a 24.5 point favorite
Your defending National Champions Clemson are feeling disrespected. They’re undefeated (12-0) and ranked only #3. Sure, they had some games where they weren’t absolutely dominant, but is there an SEC/B1G bias? We’ll find out in the playoffs. The Tigers will be dressed in mono-orange (a look I don’t normally like, but Clemson can pull it off) — in the Dabo Sweeney era, the team doesn’t break out the orange britches until the team is playing for a championship, and they didn’t lock up the ACC Atlantic until there were two weeks remaining on the schedule — so the team didn’t get to wear the orange pants with the orange jerseys all season. No matter, we’ll get that orange blossom special today. Virginia (9-3 overall, 6-2 in conference) is kinda just happy to be here, although they are coming into this game with a four game win streak. 24.5 points is a LOT to spot a team, but I have a feeling Clemson is on a mission to prove they’re better than their number 3 ranking. And unfortunately for Virginia, they will. A mono white vs. mono orange may not be your cuppa, but I’m loving it.
The Pick: Clemson
Ohio State Buckeyes (#1) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (#8)
Lucas Oil Stadium
8pm / FOX
OSU is an 18 point favorite
Like the Baylor/OU game, this one is also a rematch — and the Buckeyes (12-0) wore red jerseys while the Badgers (10-2, 7-2 in the B1G) were in mono-white (the game was played in the Shoe). It was a beautiful looking game (as will be today’s game), but it was a ugly result for Sconnie, dropping the game 38-7 (and it wasn’t that close). Will they keep it that close on a neutral field, getting 18 points? If THE were wearing red, I’d say no, but Sconnie has the ever-so-slight uni edge here, so I’ll take the Badgers, and hope they keep it close.
The Pick: Wisconsin
And there you have it. Should be four terrific looking games. I can’t promise they’ll be close games, although the first two have some pretty evenly matched teams.
For the rest of your Championship Games, here ya go:
MAC Championship Game: Miami (Ohio) vs. Central Michigan; Ford Field; Detroit, MI; 12pm / ESPN2
Sun Belt Championship Game; Louisiana at (21) Appalachian State; Kidd Brewer Stadium; Boone, NC; 12pm / ESPN
Conference USA Championship Game; UAB at Florida Atlantic; FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, FL; 1:30pm / CBSSN
American Championship Game; (20) Cincinnati at (17) Memphis; Liberty Bowl; Memphis, TN; 3:30pm / ABC
Mountain West Championship Game; Hawaii at (19) Boise State; Albertsons Stadium; Boise, ID; 4pm / ESPN
SWAC Championship Game; Southern at Alcorn State; Jack Spinks Stadium; Lorman, MS; 4pm / ESPNU
Enjoy. Next Saturday we’ll have the Army/Navy game, and the unis (which I will review in depth) may be the best they’ve ever been. So be sure to check back for that!
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: “Frank Grant, 1902” (color study)
Subject: Frank Grant, 1902
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”
Considered one of the best African American ballplayers of the 19th century, Ulysses Frank Grant was known to have great range, a strong arm, stellar speed and great power and accuracy with the bat. When speaking of the second baseman, Sol White was quoted as saying:
“In those days, (Frank Grant) was the baseball marvel. His playing was a revelation to his fellow teammates, as well as the spectators. In hitting he ranked with the best and his fielding bordered on the impossible. Grant was a born ballplayer.”
Starting his professional baseball life in the mid 1880s, Grant found himself on the Buffalo Bisons of the International League in 1886 after his former team disbanded. The next year he led the league in homers (11), batted .354 and stole 40 bases, and drove his club to a second place finish. In the process, he earned the nickname “The Black Dunlap” (after Fred Dunlap, the best at the second base position in the bigs).
In 1888, the success of black players like Grant, George Stovey, Bob Higgins and Fleetwood Walker in the league was paramount. However, public backlash from white fans and players alike pressured teams to abstain from signing any new black players. Still allowed to play, Frank continued to play well, hitting .346.
However, by 1889, the league banished African American players altogether. As a result, Grant, as John Thorn put it, “began his long journey into segregated ball, and ultimately, invisibility.”
Here’s Frank with the Philadelphia Giants in 1902, in the twilight of his career. This is one of 200+ paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!
I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).
I received an e-mail from reader Johnny Woods who has a another concept for a new Seattle Hockey Team.
The logo is a twisting salmon whose dorsal fin and tail form a stencil S, and the open mouth is Puget Sound.
Ice blue and white uniforms make the red salmon pop. The red number outlined in black on light blue remind me of old Twins-Cardinals powder blues.
The black (city?) jerseys were meant to be red fish only on black (similar to shoulders) but when I copied the striping onto the black I got a neon vibe from it. Numbers are serif-free to make them more legible.
The striped (icon?) jerseys are a tribute to the Metropolitans.
Thanks Johnny. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.
from the scoreboard
The game has returned!
Today’s scoreboard comes from reader Jack Straw.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
The location of the game should be easy, as this is such an iconic scoreboard, but is it enough? And is the big name in lights any kind of clue?
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
If you guys like this, please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
By Anthony Matthew Emerson
Baseball News: With the Rangers putting their nickname on their home jerseys, the Marlins are now the only team that carries a location wordmark on their home uniforms. … Also posted in the hockey section: The AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals are wearing their own 50th anniversary patch, but replaced their usual Brewers’ logo patch with the Brewers’ 50th anniversary patch, so the team is wearing two different 50th anniversary patches (from Andrew Wagner). … Jeff Flynn found this “Pity Me, I’m a Mets Fan” pennant while out and about.
College/High School Football News: Purdue’s football stadium isn’t getting a corporate name, but it is getting a large donor name (from @Jffdmrly). … The Cure Bowl has a new corporate sponsor. … Oregon’s Justin Herbert is depicted in a 2018 uniform template on the signage outside Levi’s Stadium ahead of the Pac-12 Championship (from Derek Buchheit). … The Texas High School Class 5A Regional Championship featured a pretty color-vs-color. That’s Lone Star High in navy and Lancaster High in orange (from Chris Mycoskie).
Hockey News: Brian Erni writes in: “Was listening to the subscriber-only version of The Athletic‘s Isles podcast, ‘No Sleep Til Belmont’ and former Islander Mark Parrish told his co-host Art Staple that the orange third jersey the team wore starting in 2002-03 actually had orange socks to go with it, but the players stood up and said no to them: ‘They actually had orange socks to go with them, and we as players gassed it. We stood up and said, ‘No, they can’t do that.’ Because it was too much. It was too much visually to focus on the puck.'” … @talisker66 sends along this video going over the history of the Penguins players who’ve worn number 12. … Here are some excerpts of an oral history of the first Boston College women’s team — their sweaters were hand-me-downs from the men, both varsity and freshman (from @SnooksKelley).
College/High School Hoops News: Louisville men went GFGS yesterday (from M. Brinston Berry). … Temple men have new throwbacks (from @UntillTheNight). … URI men wore blue and Providence men wore black in the Battle of the Ocean State. … Duke and Virginia Tech went color-vs-color as well (from Andrew Cosentino). … Boston College women have added a patch in honor of former head coach Cathy Inglese (from @Starkman55). … Here’s a good article about the ramifications of Michigan high schools adopting a smaller ball for girls’ basketball (from Burrill Strong).
Soccer News: Real Madrid are wearing green at home today in support of the United Nations COP25 climate summit (from Jacob Alstadt). … Southampton will wear last season’s third kit at Newcastle today. The link also has a few details on other recent Southampton kit mishaps (thanks, Jamie). … Chattanooga FC have switched their kit provider to Hummel (from Ed Żelaski).
Grab Bag: Pirelli is working on new tires (NYT link) for Formula One that will be five inches bigger than the current tires (thanks, Paul).