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Good Sunday Morning, Uni Watchers, and welcome to Sunday Morning Uni Watch, Week 5. I hope everyone had a pleasant Saturday.
Yesterday, the Tennessee Volunteers broke out their BFBS “Dark Mode” uniforms for their game against South Carolina. It’s just one of many combinations the team has introduced over the past several seasons. Once one of the more traditional teams, UT has jumped on the multiple uniform bandwagon in recent years. There was once a time, not too long ago, when UT wore white/orange/white at home, and white/white/white (and maybe white/white/orange, if they were feeling a bit saucy) on the road. But that horse left the barn. Now, the team has a GFGS (which they refer to as “Smokey Gray”) that gets changed yearly, the BFBS uniform you see above, both of which have same-color helmets to match, and they’ve also added an orange helmet. If they so choose, they can go a full season without repeating a uniform combination — much like the Oregon Ducks who started this whole never wear the same uni combo twice mantra a couple decades ago.
There was a time when coaches were silent about such uni-shenanigans, but no more. Of late, they’ve begun saying the quiet part out loud. To wit: “the Vols’ decisions are being made to keep their current players lifted and entice future prospects to the program.”
Coach Josh Heupel added, “They do enjoy being able to wear those and, again, it’s a part of recruiting too for us.”
Anyone who follows Uni Watch has known for years the multiple uniforms was done for two reasons: to move merch and to entice 17-year olds to play for a certain school. It’s nice that coaches are finally acknowledging the latter.
With all that being said, and as much as we bemoan BFBS, I gotta admit, UT’s “Dark Mode” looks great.
It’s a “perfect” copy of their mono-white uniform, swapping all the white elements for black. It works so well because orange is, for all intents and purposes, the sweet spot between white and black.
A few months back, I posted a think piece asking whether black could be considered a neutral color. While I don’t believe it is, Tennessee certainly makes a good case for such. But we all know kids still love black uniforms, so not only does this BFBS uniform move merch and entice potential recruits, the team loves to wear it. Win-win-win, in Michael Scott’s conflict resolution handbook.
• Sam Houston/Jacksonville St: Overtime apparently also means underflipped. Nothing particularly uni-notable in this game, otherwise.
• BYU/Cincinnati: Two brand-new Big XII bros facing off against one another, and this really made me notice just how… VANILLA Cincy’s new uniforms are. Nike does the “clean, minimalist” look very well ‘n’ all, but c’mon! Throw something in there to make it a little more interesting! I sorta miss this era a little.
• Syracuse/Clemson: As ‘Cuse head coach Dino Babers once said*“It’s like, how much more orange could this be? And the answer is none. None more orange.”(*he may or may not have actually said that. Sources seem indifferent)
• Tulane/UAB: A Louisiana school v. Alabama school tilt that ISN’T LSU and Bama, how ’bout that! Not sure if I’ve ever seen Tulane in this combo before (I’m sure they’ve worn it a zillion times and I either never noticed, or I don’t remember), but I love it! Especially paired with the full-white of UAB.
• Central Michigan/Eastern Michigan: <strike>FreedomEagleHawkScreech</strike> S&S decals for the Chippewas. There’s some irony woven in there, somewhere. They only wore it on one side, though (another look).
• Marshall/Old Dominion: Only real uni-notable bit is Marshall wore black helmets and pants (meh). Really, I just wanted an excuse to say that I can’t read Old Dominion’s name without thinking of ODB.
• Duke/Notre Dame: New decals for the Blue Devils, I dig ’em. I DON’T dig the injury to Duke QB Riley Leonard, which for obvious reasons, I won’t link to. What I will link to is this cool moment of real sportsmanship from Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman.
And with that, September 2023 comes to a close. As always, huge thanks to Blaise D’Sylva for all of the helmet heads-ups, and I’ll see you all next week!
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And now for the rest of your SMUW…
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
What time is it? Time for some university football uniform watching Canadian rules style! It’s time for the CUUW!
The last weekend in September has come and gone. One more month of the regular season left in U Sports football. We are on the home stretch with teams battling for playoff lives and positioning.
Travelling east to west is how the CUUW does it. We will take a look at games in all four conferences.
• In the Atlantic conference (AUS), we had a Maritime fog bowl. The fog rolled into Wolfville, NS, on Saturday night. If you could see the game, you would have noticed the hometown Acadia Axemen wore red over white. A standard home look for them. The Garnet and Gold brought the black back. The visiting Mount Allison Mounties wore white over black.
Let’s view two games in the Quebec conference (RSEQ).
• It was a rematch of a game from last week. This time in Sherbrooke. Weather looking warm in Eastern Canada on Saturday. The Sherbrooke Vert & Or went toute vert at home. They wore their green helmets, jerseys, and pants. The Montreal Carabins going with the blue/white/black combo. Interesting looking game as both teams have no logos on these particular helmets. Sherbrooke does have the uniform numbers on theirs.
• We had a colour vs. colour game in Montreal! A team was wearing rouge, but it was not the visiting Laval Rouge et Or. In fact, Laval has regularly not been wearing white on the road in recent weeks. The Rouge et Or wore their gold/black/black combo. The hosting McGill Redbirds wore their red over red combo.
We will also view two games in the Ontario conference (OUA).
• The Waterloo Warriors wore yellow over black at home. Really hard for Waterloo to go wrong with their multiple uniform combos because of their colours. The visiting Guelph Gryphons wore their red/white/red combo. This combo looking a lot like the Calgary Dinos’ look out west.
• We had an established powerhouse visiting a new powerhouse team that has developed some winning ways. The Windsor Lancers wore navy over yellow at home. The Western Mustangs wearing their new white pants I believe for the first time this season. Going white over white. I don’t believe the Mustangs have the purple helmets around anymore so the CUUW will refer to just their jerseys and pants moving forward.
We now move over to the Canada West conference. A friendly reminder that you will see a lot of green watching Canada West football. 50% of the schools in the conference wear green!
• The Alberta Golden Bears must be aware the CUUW is watching them. It was another unusual uniform combo for them. The Golden Bears going with a white/green/green combo at home in Edmonton. I appreciate them entertaining us with the multiple uniform combos, but they really should stick with the yellow/green/yellow at home. The Regina Rams broke out the white pants. It was white over white for Regina.
Over and out for this week! Commendable effort to the U Sports students for their massive commitment to playing football while working hard on their academics. I am exhausted just thinking about how much dedication that is!
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Jimmer Vilk's Five and One
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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As a young football fan and uni-watcher, I had a number of favorite college football teams. Some of them I still like, others I just admire from a distance now. One of those teams in the latter category is Purdue. I have fond memories of watching (non-Ohio State) Big Ten games on Dad’s old TV, and in particular I remember rooting for Purdue in this fantastic uniform.
When I say “I love it when Purdue looks like Purdue,” that’s what I’m talking about right there. Now, the striping doesn’t *have* to be the same as then (it sure would be great, though), but as long as the Boilermakers look close to that, I’m happy. They’re one of a select group that, in my book, should never muck about with alternate helmets or join in the whole mono craze. Just look like yourself.
Why do I bring this up? Well, Purdue hosted Illinois yesterday, and every time I see that game on the schedule I get my hopes up that Purdue looks like Purdue, and Illinois looks like…this.
Well, the road version of that. Sorry I couldn’t find a better picture than this one.
There’s an NCAA throwback I’d love to see! Anyway, I knew yesterday’s Battle for the Cannon Trophy didn’t look the same, but will it still make the list? Let’s find out.
5. The “It’s Not A Script Helmet But I Still Love It” Game:
Love the tweak to Duke’s lids, and I’m glad the Irish got bigger numbers this year.
4. The “No Clown Fonts Here” Game:
Even though the Jayhawks were no match on the scoreboard, they were toe-to-toe with the Longhorns on the uni front.
3. The “I Love It When The SEC Looks Like The SEC” Matchup:
Just like Purdue, Auburn is one of those childhood favorites that I’m glad to see in The Five.
2. The “Do People Still Say ‘On Fleek’?” Matchup?
If they do, this game was totally on Fleek(s).
1. Simply The Best:
I wrote my intro on Friday, before I even knew how close this game would be to my dream matchup!
&1. The “Just Looking At This Photo Put Me To Sleep” Matchup:
If I actually had to sit down and watch yet another boring minimalist matchup, it might have put me in a coma.
This might be my favorite Five of the season so far. Hope your day is as satisfying as this list was for me!
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NCAA Uni Tracking
Uni Watch will again track the uniform combinations worn by college football conferences. New this year is Zachary Wooldridge, who is tracking the SEC. If anyone with some extra time and graphical skills is interested in tracking the Big XII, please get in touch with me (Phil.Hecken@gmail) and we’ll set something up.
Long-time trackers Rex Henry (tracking the ACC), and Dennis Bolt (tracking the PAC-12) are returning for another season. Following the tracking, Dennis again returns with his Duck Tracking (which is the longest continuously-running feature on SMUW!).
And in a new surprise move, Rex will now be tracking the B1G in addition to his regular ACC tracking!
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.