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Sunday Morning Uni Watch 2023: Week 5

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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.

I mean, the kids really do love it.

You can see more photos here.

And now for the rest of this week’s NCAAFB action, here’s Terry with your…

• • • • •
Sunday Morning Uni Watch
by Terry Duroncelet, Jr.

Happy first day of Halloween, everyone! What does the last Saturday of September (and the last day of September, at that) have in store for us? Let’s find out, shall we?

From Thursday:

• Tulsa/Temple: LOVED this matchup from Thursday night. Temple can look really good when they want to, just so long as they’re not wearing… THIS.

• Sam Houston/Jacksonville St: Overtime apparently also means underflipped. Nothing particularly uni-notable in this game, otherwise.

From Friday:

• 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.

From Saturday:

• Rice/East Carolina: There’s been a lot of buzz about THE quintessential Oilers uniform that everyone thinks of when they think of, well, the Oilers making their return this season. Hell, even the Houston Cougars got in on the fun a few weeks back against UTSA. And we gotta mention the powder domes from 2009 (I actually really dug those unis back then). But an era of Luv Ya that I never hear anyone talk about is their silver lid period from 1966-to-1971. Luckily, Rice hasn’t forgotten. Admittedly, the navy does seem out of place here, but those socks and helmets mean business (closer look).

• Iowa/Michigan State: New white helmet variation for the Spartans. Apparently, this is the first time they’ve ever worn the block ‘S’ on a white shell (closer look, via Blaise D’Sylva, of course).

• Georgia Southern/Coastal Carolina: S&S decals for the Eagles (closer look).

• Kent State/Miami (OH): Why do these script ‘Flashes’ decals that Kent State wore on Saturday channel Florida so much? (closer look).

• 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)

• Colorado/USC: The vibrant pants and rich helmets versus the not-so-vibrant… EVERYTHING, there’s something oddly symbolic about it, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. The Buffaloes are still at it with the decade+ old Flywire template.

• 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.

• Northwestern/Penn State: Contrast Matters: A Wildcat Brushed Purple Living in Black and White Edition (song reference, for those wondering. HEAVY/SCREAM VOCAL WARNING).

• Arkansas/Texas A&M: Rare white/cardinal/white combo for the Razorbacks.

• Stanford/Oregon: The Ducks practically blacked out the Cardinal Stanford, so it’s only right that they dressed accordingly for their own funeral.

• 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.

• Georgia Tech/Bowling Green: Nevermind the Yellowjackets missing a glowing opportunity to wear these during a night game by a country mile: they didn’t even win YESTERDAY’S game! Clown behavior, honestly.

• Colorado State/Utah Tech: Orange Aggie uniforms for the Rams.

• 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.

• Arizona/Washington: Rare red alts for the Wildcats.


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!

• • • • •
Thanks, TJ!

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.


• • • • •

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!

• • • • •

Thanks, Wade!



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:

• • • • •

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:
Notre Dame/Duke

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:
Baylor/Central Florida

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!

• • • • •

Thanks, Jimmer!



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!

• • •

Rex is up first today (ACC):

More Here.
Follow Rex on Twitter here.

• • •
And now, here’s Dennis with the PAC-12:

Read more about the PAC12 uniforms on Dennis’ blog.

• • •

Here’s Zach with the SEC:

You can follow Zach on Twitter here.

• • •

And here’s Rex again, this time with the B1G:

• • • • • • • • • •

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.

Here’s this weeks combo for the Ducks:

You can read about this uniform, and MUCH MORE, by checking out the Duck Tracker here and the color combo spreadsheet here!

Thanks Dennis!



And finally...

…that’s gonna do it for today. Major plus-plus thanks, as always to the entire SMUW crew: TJ, Wade, Jimmer, Rex, Dennnis and Zach! Terrific stuff, as always!

No sunset photo today. Almost 40 straight hours of rain (and more than that without seeing the sun) will do that.

Everyone have a great Sunday and I’ll catch you right back here next Saturday.



Comments (28)

    Yes and yes.

    Nike does the “clean, minimalist” look very well ‘n’ all

    I swear Phil Knight has become George Costanza.

    Knight: “Here’s the idea. We make a uniform about… nothing.
    Room full of sycophants: “Brilliant!”

    It’s time for him to have a Summer of Phil, and let someone else be in charge.

    Colorado needs to ditch all the alternates and stick to gold black gold at home and gold white gold or gold white black on the road

    I agree! Colorado needs to “look” like Colorado. Just like Ole Miss needs to “look” like Ole Miss. The powder blue helmet, I get it….. But the powder blue jerseys and the white pants…… That’s NOT Ole Miss.

    Phil thought I was going to put their game on my list. With red jerseys, I would have.

    Hahahaha The red jerseys/gray pants would have been great. Being so close to Oxford, everyone around here has embraced the powder blue as their “new” school color and I give them Hell. :)

    I agree in principe. However, I expected Dion two change things up. So far it’s been a big meh. The only combo that I thought worked was the full white and gold numbers against TCU.

    It’s important to remember that black and gold for CU is a relatively recent phenomenon. The original official colors were silver and gold, and the buffalo as a mascot was not instituted until 1934. Black was added in 1959.


    It must be the stadium lighting in that splash photo but those Tennessee uniforms look like dark blue to me.

    I thought the same thing. Plus, none of the oranges seem to match. The helmet and pants stripes look gold to me.

    Love when the SEC matchup looks like the SEC too. Georgia vs. Auburn a great, classic looking game.

    And I love when Mount Allison looks like Mount Allison.
    I think the fog rolling in was a sign that they shouldn’t have gone BFBS yesterday.

    Lately this site is making it difficult to type on. Keeps jumping around. Try again…What I was going say was ….
    Purdue’s uniform makes me remember what a shame that Colorado didn’t wear their traditional gold/black/gold combo against the great USC road uniform.

    Don’t forget about the Friday night ACC red/white scrimmage matchup between NC State & Louisville. They got it right with NC State mixing it up with all black again

    I remember liking the ILLINI lettering hugging the ear holes of the old Illinois helmets just for being different. The widely spaced bucket stripes reminded me of Dartmouth’s helmet, another unique design. Ear holes are no longer round, which probably scotches any chance of a throwback.

    I’m a die hard UCF fan, but these uniforms are questionable at best. The black-on-black NOBs. The numbers that look like a kid made them out of packing tape. I was disappointed with that uniform matchup for sure. But it was nothing compared to the way the game ended. Woof.

    Great stuff, SMUW Team! It’s always one of my favorite reads during the football season!

    Phil, I still hate BFBS, but you make a strong argument for why Tennessee’s uniforms work. I’m not all the way there yet, but I put them in a similar category to my alma mater Iowa State’s black uniforms. I don’t love them as an Iowa State uniform, but they’re pretty good for a black uniform. Tennessee’s BFBS unis might be slightly better as a Tennessee uniform than Iowa State’s are as an Iowa State uniform because Tennessee mixes in their classic orange in just the right amount. I’d still rather see them in orange and white, but the way they treat black hear as a canvas for their main school color – orange – shows that maybe – just maybe – in some instances black can work as a showcase for other colors.

    It wasn’t that long ago that Colorado quietly had some of the best uniforms in college football


    They are an absolute mess now and it’s a real shame.

    It’s always Underoath Brainrot Hours in this house. On that note, I got to see them live at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans about 2 months ago (alongside Better Lovers, We Came As Romans, and The Ghost Inside). Aaron Gillespie has the best live drum sound in the game right now.

    Just when I think players have run out of ways to ruin uniforms, they top themselves. The latest: bicycle shorts!

    And by kill, I obviously mean you are the best, it’s the best part of UW, and I eat it all up with gusto.

    I honestly think Tennessee’s BFBS unis is one of the worst BFBS sartorial crimes ever perpetrated. The orange/white is such a great look. Why mess with it?

    Also, the fact that a 17-year old kid would get recruited by a perennially strong college football program that regularly sends players to the pros, has top-flight facilities, national exposure, and rabid support from students and alumni BUT would turn that school down because it only has 2 uniform combinations… I have no words to express my level of disgust with that mindset or the fact that colleges actually cater to that kind of insanity.

    I’m a Gator fan, so it hurts me to say this. I do think UT has one of the best uniforms in college football. I can’t say anything about the BFBS uni’s this year. Florida has broken down and going to wear them this year. Think Napier missed an opportunity to break out the orange pants against Kentucky. His 2nd year and he isn’t going to dress them in the orange jerseys either.

Comments are closed.