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Good Morning Uni Watchers! I hope everyone has had a good week. Welcome back to SundaySaturday Morning Uni Watch. As SMUW and all of its contributors have Labor Day weekend off by tradition, we begin the 2023 Season with a Saturday morning offering, catching you up on all the college gridiron action from Weeks “0” and 1.
Before we get started, some housekeeping: most of the SMUW crew returns for this season — Terry “TJ” Duroncelet, for more than a decade running now, is back with the game rundowns, Wade Heidt returns for his second season of bringing us “CUUW” (Canadian University Uni Watch), which looks at the college football action from the Great White North, Jimmer Vilk is again back for his “Five and One” segment, and Rex Henry and Dennis Bolt are back tracking all the uniforms for the ACC and Pac-12 respectively, and Dennis also handles the longest-running SMUW feature, the “Duck Tracker.”
Unfortunately, former trackers Ethan Dimitroff (Big XII and SEC) and James Hill (B1G) will not return this season. At present I have not replaced either tracker. So: If you have graphics skills and would like to track either or all of the Big XII, SEC, and/or B1G conferences for 2023, please give me a shout! (Phil.Hecken@gmail). If I’m unable to fill any or all of those, we’ll still have tracking for the ACC and Pac-12 this year, but hopefully some of you college football fans will be able to step in and fill Ethan and James’ shoes.
I usually “grab” one game from the weekend to highlight in the opening, but for the opening SMUW I just set things up. TJ will have the wraps of the more important uni-deets for Weeks 0 and 1.
One last change from 2022. Last season, I ran SMUW (along with CUUW) as one post, and then Jimmer’s 5 & 1 and the uni tracking were each two separate articles. This year, everything will be in one handy-dandy early morning post. If there is any additional breaking news on a Saturday or Sunday, I’ll add articles as necessary. Usually there will just be one post on Saturday and Sunday, but that is contingent upon whether there is any uni news that needs to be covered. Next Saturday, for example, the Boston Bruins will be unveiling new uniforms for 2023, to celebrate their centennial, so I’ll have an early morning post and then also cover the Bruins’ unveiling.
I think that about covers everything! Please welcome back Terry, Wade, Jim, Rex and Dennis as we kick off SMUW for 2023!
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Saturday Morning Uni Watch by Terry Duroncelet, Jr.
HELLO, and welcome to the start of the 2023 college football season! Before we begin, let’s pour one out for the Pac-12, because HOLY. We can figure out the chaos hours situation with the conferences next year, but for now, let’s get into it:
From Saturday, August 26th
• Notre Dame/Navy: We kick things off in Dublin, as both Notre Dame and Navy wore some pretty cool one-offs. However, the luck of the Irish was truly on Notre Dame’s side, as they would win in convincing fashion.
• Texas/Rice: Man, that new Nike template (Vapor Forceful Farts 5000, or whatever it’s called) REALLY highlights how low-set any sort of chest lettering will look when rendered on Texas’s unis (another look).
• North Carolina/South Carolina: Color-vs-color! I feel like I mention this in some capacity every season, but a proposal for 2023: MORE COLOR. Also, here’s a look at the mortarboard patch worn by RB and grad student British Brooks.
• Purdue/Fresno State: What’s better than a visual banger? TWO visual bangers! I think I mentioned this a year or two ago, but I think Fresno State is one of the better-dressed Adidas-outfitted squads.
• North Texas/Cal: Man, that new Nike template (Vapor Forceful Farts 5000, or whatever it’s called) REALLY highlights how low-set any sort of chest lettering will look when rendered on Cal’s unis (another look). Wait… why does that sound familiar?
And that’ll do it for the first week of the 2023 season! Tune in tomorrow for the second half of our double-fister (ew, I don’t like the way that sounds). See you tomorrow!
• • • • •
Thanks, TJ! Great rundown and welcome back.
Canadian University Uni Watch
Returning for 2023 is Canadian University Uni Watcher Wade Heidt, who will bring us some looks at three-down, 110-yard Canadian university football from up north. That’s Wade to the right side of your screen (you can even click to enlarge). The shirt Wade is wearing was created by the one and only Wafflebored! Wade’s rundown will appear every week on SMUW until the season ends.
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Canadian University Uni Watch by Wade Heidt
Yes, it is that time again. Time for some university football uniform watching Canadian rules style! It is the return of the CUUW for 2023!
Once again, I will be here for you as the North of the Border Correspondent. We will take a look at the uniforms for the schools competing in U Sports football right through to the Vanier Cup championship game on November 25th in Kingston, ON.
There are not a lot of new uniform designs this year in the Canadian university game. However, many schools break out many different uniform combos so it is always worth watching.
Let’s look at a few games from the first two weekends of the season. We will travel the country from east to west as the CUUW is known to do.
Only three of the four conferences started play during the last weekend of August. There was plenty of colour vs. colour and we will concentrate on those games.
• This game is from the Quebec conference (RSEQ). Both teams are named after their school colours and they were wearing their colours! A red vs. green game in Sherbrooke. The Sherbrooke Vert & Or wore green over green with the shiny gold helmets at home. The visiting Laval Rouge et Or brought on the road what they would normally wear at home. Laval, the defending Vanier Cup national champions, wore their gold/red/gold combo.
We will look at three games in the Ontario conference (OUA).
• The Ottawa Gee-Gees wore their garnet/garnet/white combo at home. Feels like the Gee-Gees have switched to the garnet helmet as their primary lately compared to the traditionally primary silver helmet. The Waterloo Warriors wore yellow on the road as the light colour as part of a combo not seen from the school much that I can remember. It was yellow over yellow.
• In Kingston, the Queen’s Gaels wore what you would expect. The Tricolour wear only one uniform at home and on the road. Of course, it was the traditional yellow over yellow at home. The visiting Laurier Golden Hawks wore mono-purple from head to toe.
• The Guelph Gryphons are one of the schools that wear many different uniform combos. They wore a uniform combo for their home game not usually seen, going with a black/red/red combo. The visiting Toronto Varsity Blues donned their common road look of white over navy.
All four conferences in play on Labour Day weekend with Canada West starting their season.
• In the Atlantic conference (AUS), we had a game in which the commentators really needed to enunciate carefully. It was the X-Men vs. the Axemen in Wolfville, NS! The Acadia Axemen have made a change to their home uniforms. The numbers used to be silver on their red jerseys. They have replaced them with navy numbers trimmed in white. Acadia wore red over dark grey pants at home. The visiting St. Francis Xavier X-Men wore white over navy.
• In the Quebec conference, it was a battle between two Montreal-based schools. The Concordia Stingers have a change to their helmets. The C logo is still on the right side, but a large cartoon stinger is now on the left side. Concordia wore their maroon over maroon combo at home. The visiting Montreal Carabins were in their blue/white/black combo.
• In the Ontario conference, the Western Mustangs went with their silver/purple/purple combo at home in London. It is new jersey and pant striping for the Western uniforms this year, a minor change and it looks good. The visiting McMaster Marauders wore white over black. Based on games from the first two weeks, it appears black is creeping its way in as part of the primary colour scheme for McMaster. They have worn the black pants for both games. I feel it does not combine well with the maroon as a colour scheme.
• Labour Day weekend in the pro game (CFL) has the tradition of Edmonton visiting Calgary. The same thing happened on Labour Day weekend in the Canada West conference. The Calgary Dinos wore a red/red/black combo at home. The visiting Alberta Golden Bears brought their mono-white combo with them from Edmonton. Mono-white from head to toe. Icy as the students like to call it!
We will look forward to more U Sports football games as the weather starts to develop that autumn bite. Over and out until next week tomorrow.
• • • • •
Thanks, Wade! Great stuff — looking forward to another great season.
2023 Five and One: Weeks 0 and 1
Jimmer Vilk’s 5 & 1
Welcome to the Five and One for 2023!
Once again, Jim “Jimmer” Vilk (the original “5 & 1” decider) has returned.
The original concept of the 5 & 1 was simple: Jim picked five good matchups and one awful matchup. He’s still calling the project “5 & 1” but with a new twist.
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.
If you have a game you feel is “worthy” of consideration for the 5 & 1, please either post it in the comments below or tweet Mr. Vilk @JVfromOhio.
Here’s today’s 5 & 1:
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Hi! I missed you!
This might sound funny, but Your Friendly Neighborhood 5&1 Guy has a moderate-to-severe aversion to lists these days. Phil came up with the idea for the 5&1 long before the recent surge of lists and rankings, and rankings of lists, so we were way ahead of the curve here. And the reason I’m still doing this is because it’s no longer your typical ranking. Last year I decided to veer from the concept of a straight Five Best-Looking list and went with Five Good Things (and of course one really bad thing). I’m staying with that concept this year. I’ve added a new term for one of my pet peeves (the obligatory and played-out white vs. black matchup), which you’ll see in today’s &1. Hopefully there will be other reasons during the season to get on my bad side.
I also have a moderate-to-severe aversion to calling the first weekend of games “Week Zero.” So, I’m calling this my Week 1-AA list.
5. The “I’m Just Glad There’s No Area Code On The Helmets” game:
Would have preferred “JSU” on the helmet, though.
4. The “Finally Hawaii Played At A Decent Hour” game:
I love it when Purdue Vandy looks like Purdue Vandy.
3. The “One-Off Unis That Still Look Familiar” matchup:
Yes, a long time ago I put this game in the &1 slot, but that was back when they looked almost identical
2. The “White Facemasks Are Better Than Gray” matchup:
This might be the Bulldogs’ only Top Five shot, with those chintzy sleeve stripes.
1. Simply The Best:
This also might be the only time any Sparty team makes the Top Five.
& 1. The Wedding Bowl:
Ohio/San Diego State
Instead of a strapless gown, the bride wore stripeless pants, while the groom wore low-contrast numbers.
See you shortly with Week One!
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Week “One,” otherwise known as Cupcake Week for most teams.
I’m not a big fan of this week. For every major upset, there are like 250 blowouts as the little guys take their beatings along with their big paychecks. Then again, with so many 1-AA teams playing the big boys, this gives me the chance to showcase teams that will never see the Top Five any other time. So today it’s about the little guys, except for my #1 and my &1. Now I’m hungry for a cupcake…
5. The “513 vs 305” Game:
The MAC is about as little as you can get in the FBS…almost as little as both teams’ TV numbers.
4. The “And The Nicknames Are Really Cool Too!” Game:
Big script on one side of the helmet and numbers on the other is a good way to get my attention.
3. The “Red And Green Isn’t Just For Christmas” Game:
South Carolina State/Charlotte
Lots of properly sized numbers, including on Charlotte’s helmets!
2. The “Have I Ever Had Two MAC Teams In One Week Before?” Game:
The Owls can look SO GOOD when they stick to team colors.
1. Simply The Best:
I didn’t plan to have Carolina on my mind so much this week, but I couldn’t resist this color vs. color matchup!
& 1. The “Look Bad Play Good?” game:
All white with gold numbers on a sunny day vs. mostly white (and no striping on either team) is a Not Ready For Prime Time matchup.
Sorry, ECU… you’re the only Carolina direction I didn’t cover today. Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow?
• • • • •
Thanks, Jim! OK readers? What say you? Agree or disagree with Jimmer’s selections? Let him know in the comments below.
2023 Uni and Duck Tracking
NCAA Uni Tracking
Uni Watch will again track the uniform combinations worn by college football conferences. Unfortunately, two of last year’s trackers for the SEC/BigXII (Ethan) and B1G (James) won’t be returning this season. If anyone with some extra time and graphical skills is interested in tracking either of those conferences, please get in touch with me (Phil.Hecken@gmail) and we’ll set something up.
In the meantime, long-time trackers Rex Henry (tracking the ACC), and Dennis Bolt (tracking the PAC-12) are returning. Following the tracking, Dennis again returns with his Duck Tracking (which is the longest continuously-running feature on SMUW!)
Welcome to the 2023 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.
Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.
Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.
Today’s GTGFTU comes from Chris Hickey.
Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.
…that’s all for today. Big thanks to the whole SMUW crew and welcome back!
Everyone have a great Saturday and we’ll all be back again tomorrow with all of this week’s games. If there’s any big breaking uni news during the day, I’ll have a post on that as soon as possible.