Skip to content

Sunday Morning Uni Watch 2023: Week 13

Posted in:

Good Sunday morning everyone. I hope everyone had a good Saturday and you’re recuperating nicely from your tryptophan-induced Turkey Day hangovers.

Unlike the NFL, which decided to make Thanksgiving week into an alternate uni-verse (I’ll have an article on this later this morning), college football — with its Senior Days and Rivalry Games galore — produced many classic uni matchups, and very few clown costumes. There were also a good number of color vs. color games.

But one school that did change things up was Stanford, who waited until the final weekend of the season to introduce a brand new helmet. I’m not sure if this had anything to do with the introduction of the new bucket, but last night’s game was Stanford’s final game as a member of the Pac 12 conference. And for the first time in program history, Stanford wore a cardinal red helmet.

Take a gander:

It’s a nice looking lid — cardinal red and in a satin finish, with a script “Stanford” in white. I don’t normally like script logos on helmets (and I think the underlining tail is a tad too fat), but it’s a nice new option for the Cardinal, and one they’ll probably bring with them to the ACC, which they’ll be joining in the fall of 2024.

Stanford is a pretty traditional squad, uni-wise, basically going white/cardinal/white at home, and white/white/white on the road (although they have done the BFBS thing for several years, both with a black helmet as well as a white one).

I’m surprised this is the first time they’ve ever worn a red helmet, but it looked really good against Notre Dame, last evening’s opponent.

And here’s a quick look at the helmets “in action”…

And now, for the remainder of this weeks games, I’ll turn it over to Terry now.

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

Hello, everyone, hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (and that your turkey wasn’t too dry). Fitting for Week 13, this is Rivalry Week: the quintessential matchups that will prove fruitful for some, and unlucky for others. Some of these matchups were edge-of-your-seat close, some of these matchups will be the last renewal of the storied rivalries (at least, for a while), as CFB braces for a huge conference alignment shift next year, but one thing’s for sure: Week 13 was one for the books. Let’s get into it.

From Tuesday:

• Bowling Green/Western Michigan: Would you believe it if I told you that our first game of Rivalry Week was between a school from Ohio, and a school from Michigan? And NOT on a Saturday?!?! Only real uni-notable thing here is that the Broncos wore GFGS.

• Buffalo/Eastern Michigan: Guys, gals, and nonbinary pals… WE’VE DONE IT. A color-vs-color BFBS-vs-GFGS matchup. We can pack it up now everyone, GG, thanks for playing.

From Friday:

• Oregon/Oregon State: One of the color-vs-color games I always look forward to (well, apart from UCLA/USC), and Oregon wears… white pants??? Not my favorite Ducks look, yellow pants would’ve been leagues better.

• Arkansas/Mizzou: FINALLY, this arranged marriage of a rivalry game gets a proper color-vs-color matchup with some REAL CONTRAST! How many years in a row have we seen this?

• Tulane/UTSA: …Well, at least the day was appropriate.

• Temple/Memphis: You know how when you use the Fill tool in MS Paint, and it does the thing where it doesn’t fill in the edges because it’s a quillionth of a shade darker, and it then proceeds to do the thing where it looks like some cursed stairs or something? That’s what Temple’s numbers remind me of when they wear these… things.

From Saturday:

• OF/THE: I still long for the day that this game is color-vs-color. At this point however, I just want Michigan to ditch the full-blue look, especially against the Megatron to their Optimus! Also, I know this is standard practice, but seeing this dude wear a Michigan photo crew vest with an Ohio State beanie is the funniest thing to me.

• LSU/Texas A&M: Full-whites for LSU. I actually think the white helmets and pants are nice, but we all know what would make these even better (h/t to Phil for the ‘Shop).

• Louisville/Kentucky: Heisman birb decals for Louisville (closer look). No, I did not misspell bird, for those wondering.

• Kent State/Northern Illinois: Throwback lids for the Flashes (closer look).

• Arizona State/Arizona: Contrast Matters: Grand Canyon Edition.

• UNLV/San José State: Color-vs-color matchup! Looks like we have our theme of the week.

• Illinois/Northwestern: There have been some ABSOLUTE LOOKERS this week.

• Rice/FAU: Umm… got a bit of an identity crisis there, ESPN?

• Southern/Grambling: You guessed it: another color-vs-color matchup. Things are lookin’ quite golden.

• Baylor/West Virginia: Y’know, considering that these two teams share a color in common, this may be the one time that I can overlook the GFGS.

• Cincinnati/Kansas: Black-and-white affair between these two.

• South Florida/Charlotte: …Know what, I’m just gonna drop these pics here, because I honestly don’t know what to say. Oh, almost forgot about the helmet closeup.

• Kansas State/Iowa State: I live in the perpetual swamp-ass State known as Louisiana, so I like to live vicariously through other colder States sometimes, including enjoying a snow game every now and then.

And with that, Week 13 (and the regular season) is in the books! I’ll be honest in saying that I’m braindead as I type this, so my apologies for not coming up with a nicer outro, but we still have plenty of ball to cover, so stick around for the coming weeks! Again, hope your holiday season has been good to you so far, and may it continue to be a good one for you, and I’ll see you in the next one.

• • • • •
Thanks, TJ! And now, for the rest of today’s NCAA (and Canadian) uni watching.



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!

It’s the big one. The final game on Saturday. The end of a great U Sports football season. Time to crown a national champion.

The 58th Vanier Cup

The national championship game was hosted by Queen’s University this year. The game played at Richardson Stadium in Kingston, ON. The first ever Vanier Cup game in Kingston. The game featured the UBC Thunderbirds and the Montreal Carabins. A rematch of the 2015 Vanier Cup.

The Mitchell Bowl winner is designated as the home team and wearer of dark uniforms in this year’s game. The UBC Thunderbirds were not going to steer off course from what they have been wearing. The did not bring their white pants from the West Coast. It was navy over navy for the T-Birds as it has been at home for them throughout the playoffs. The Montreal Carabins also stayed with the blue pants and helmets. The blue/white/blue combo for Montreal.

A cool, breezy day in Kingston and a close game. The score was 16-9.

The Montreal Carabins are your 2023 Vanier Cup champions! This is the 2nd Vanier Cup title for Montreal. The last one was in 2014. You may think it is surprising only 2 Vanier Cups as they have a strong football program. The school stopped playing football in 1972 and did not play again until 2002. The have developed into a perennial football powerhouse since returning to play.

Here is Montreal in the final victory formation.

Montreal is the first city since 1980 to have both the Vanier Cup and Grey Cup champs in the same year. The CFL’s Montreal Alouettes won the Grey Cup last weekend. Edmonton was the last city in 1980.

I do prefer the uniform matchup in the 2015 game between these schools. The only reason is UBC was wearing better uniforms when they rocked the royal blue with yellow trim.

It has been a wonderful year featuring new uniform looks and combos. A really entertaining year as always watching the schools compete and young stars emerge. I really look forward to seeing what is new on the U Sports football uniform landscape in 2024.

Fun Fact

As mentioned, the Grey Cup was last weekend. It is akin to the Super Bowl as it is the championship for pro football (in Canada) and a major event. However, it is also akin to the Stanley Cup as it was an amateur championship way back in the day before becoming a professional championship trophy for a single league.

As a result, a couple of the U Sports schools we monitored this year have multiple Grey Cup championships in their trophy case. The Toronto Varsity Blues won the first 3 Grey Cups (1909-1911) and have won 4 Grey Cups in total. They beat the Toronto Argonauts for the title in 1911. The Queen’s Gaels won 3 Grey Cups  in a row (1922-1924). The 1922 team beat the Edmonton Elks. Sorry, no colour photos!

This is a reason there have only been 58 Vanier Cups. Amateur teams stopped competing for the Grey Cup by 1954. The Vanier Cup was created in 1965.

• • • • •
Thanks, Wade! Great stuff — thanks for another great season. But it’s not quite the end for Wade; he’ll be back next weekend with a look at five unusual uniforms from the past. See ya next week!



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 @JimVilk.

Here’s today’s 5 & 1:

• • • • •

My VCR was put to use quite a bit this weekend. Between the Lions’ Thanksgiving game, and two full college games (plus parts of two other games), I may need to give my machine a tune-up. Actually, I know I do, because I can’t properly rewind my tapes. That’s my problem…yours is wondering what I picked for this week’s list.

Before we get to that…

• I found out too late that I could have gone to yesterday’s Duquesne/Youngstown State game. Not bad!

• I love me a good snow game, especially when the road team doesn’t go mono-white (thanks, Cyclones!).

• I’ve finally figured out why I can’t stand games that look like this. We live in a very polarized society. Everything is black & white. Us vs Them. No middle ground. Enough of that nonsense, people!

Alright, let’s get The Five started with…


5. The “The MAC Giveth…” Matchup:
Bowling Green/Western Michigan

Anthracite is my Kryptonite, and this was Anthracite Done Right!


4. The “Tab-Breaker, Part One” Matchup:

I VHS-ed this game, and it’s a definite keeper!


3. The “Script Helmet Alert!” Game:

It’s always nice when the fabulous Sun Bowl hosts a good looking matchup.


2. The “I Love It When The Apple Cup Looks Like The Apple Cup” Matchup:
Washington State/Washington

Although I would have let Wazzu go anthracite in this one.


1. Simply The Best:

Cloudy, cold weather, optimal contrast, glossy helmets, and the Marshall Mathers LP Meeder FG…it all adds up to another tab-breaker!


&1. The “And The MAC Taketh Away” Matchup:
Eastern Michigan/Buffalo

If you don’t want to be seen by anyone more than ten feet away from you, why bother playing at all?


See you next time!

• • • • •

Thanks, Jim! OK readers? What say you? Agree or disagree with Jimmer’s selections? Let him know in the comments below.



NCAA and Duck 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.

Long-time trackers Rex Henry (tracking the ACC and the B1G this year), 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!).

• • •

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!



Guess the Game from the Uniform

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.



And finally...

…that’s all for this week’s SMUW. Big thanks, as always, to the SMUW Crew: TJ Duroncelet, Wade Heidt, Jimmer Vilk, Rex Henry, Dennis Bolt and Zach Wooldridge. Great stuff!

As I mentioned at the top, I will have at least two more articles this morning, plus the Ticker, so be sure to check back early and often.

Everyone have a great Sunday and I’ll see you all back here next Saturday. Til then…



Comments (43)

    By the way, I was speaking metaphorically about black and white…ideas, not people. Just to be clear.

    this arranged marriage of a rivalry game
    The worst is Michigan State/Penn State. I mean, that’s the best you can do?
    If Georgia can still play Georgia Tech, Penn State can still play Pitt. In fact, Penn State and Rutgers should just join Pitt in the ACC, then Cal and Stanford can go to the Big Teen.

    “Penn State and Rutgers should just join Pitt in the ACC, then Cal and Stanford can go to the Big Teen.”

    From your lips to god’s ears.

    BTW, was “Big Teen” intentional? If so, I LOVE it!

    I’ve written Big Teen multiple times on this site, and I say it often.
    Fully intentional.

    But how can you deny the majesty of the Land Grant Trophy?

    I’m know using the Big Teen from now on though.


    Without looking it up, that has to be the Buffalo Bills at Dallas Texans, 1960.
    I’ve seen that before when I saw a picture of legendary longtime kicker Ben Agajanian.

    You got it, Jimmer!
    I thought this one ‘might’ be a toughy – then I had my doubts given the readership’s research skill- but I’m so glad I researched this one…read on.
    Buffalo Bills v Dallas Texans, 11/12/61. Cotton (Dust) Bowl.
    HB Dewey Bohling’s only appearance as a Bill against Dallas.
    The Texan is DB Dave “Can Head” Webster, their first player to wear #21, in his final season…number was not re-issued until a few seasons after the relocation to KC (1966). His story is an interesting one to say the least:


    Glad I did some digging…never would have known of him otherwise!

    Nailed it with the LSU striping. The pants and helmets not matching the uni-stripes was really throwing me

    The only way that EMU-Buffalo game could’ve looked worse if it had been a home game for the Eagles, with Rynearson Stadium’s gray turf. OOF.

    Hardly the most entertaining schools to watch play against one another, UConn and UMass met in Amherst yesterday. This matchup had a sort of 1960s electric football old school look to it. However, some eye-pleasing simplicity with blue-white-blue versus white-red-white. This matchup even had stripes on the pants of both teams –


    Which brings me to……is it just me, or are more and more college programs deleting pants stripes?
    While I understand there are quite a few programs where the stripe-less pants are iconic, such as the Michigan blue/blue/yellow or the UCLA gold/blue/gold home kits, some of these teams who are now sporting the plain white pants look like they’re wearing game day tops with practice pants.

    “is it just me, or are more and more college programs deleting pants stripes?”

    I can’t say it’s “more,” although it does seem that schools who add additional colors of pants go stripeless.

    I also think we’re noticing the stripeless pants more, because the new style (both pro and college) is to wear same color socks or compression pants creating the yoga pants look, which is totally de rigueur now (hopefully this fade passes away soon)

    One might argue that since consumers don’t buy football pants, there’s no motivation to even try with stripes or other details. All about the jerseys and helmets.

    I know it was the late game, especially for those in the Eastern time zone, but surprised by no mention of the great looking Cal/UCLA game. Sad that this game won’t happen again, at least for the foreseeable future, and won’t be a conference game.

    I am NOT a Notre Dame fan.
    But I have to admit, I respect the hell out of them for not bastardfying their uniforms.

    PS: Yes, bastardfying IS a word.

    But Notre Dame has ruined their look with jersey numbers that are way too small and helmets that are so comically yellow, they appear to be sprayed with pyrite.

    I’ve heard many (including Paul) refer to helmets like the Packers wear, or the Steelers pants, (athletic gold) as “yellow”…I call it gold.

    But I’ve never heard anyone refer to the Notre Dame helmet as “yellow”. I mean, c’mon it’s the very definition of “gold”


    The picture you provided is nowhere near what Notre Dame’s helmets look like on TV, especially under the lights. Your picture is closer to the almost bronze color they wore during the Holtz years. Their helmets now look like the gold plastic used as trim on Christmas ornaments. (Sorry, I don’t know how to link a picture to my comment.)

    It’s not TV, it’s the stadium lighting. Since they’re gold and reflective, they will take on the black of the night sky at the tops if the game is played at night.

    Here are photos from last nights game: I can assure you it’s the same helmet that is pictured. I can’t help it if it looks different — but it’s definitely the same helmet as in the earlier photo I provided.




    The whole time I was watching the Iowa/Nebraska game I KNEW it would be #1! I’m originally from Iowa, so I’m kinda biased. Even though I’m a Florida fan living in Mississippi……. I know I’m confused. LOL

    Kinda wish LSU would have made the helmet striping/pants striping match the shoulder stripes. Was really surprised to see them do the stormtrooper thing.

    surprised with the wmu gfgs in top 5. I feel this is an identity aftershock of fleck era. good luck minnesota

    As soon as I saw Iowa – Nebraska yesterday I knew it would be Jim’s number one. Totally deserved.

    Michigan – OSU should absolutely be color vs color. There’s no reason it should ever look as drab as yesterday’s game. The blue pants just wreck Michigan’s whole visual identity.

    I know some people like LSU in all white, but that look bugs the hell out of me. Phil’s helmet fix is a big improvement, but I’d much rather see them break out yellow, purple, yellow than icy white silliness. Honestly I wish they would just go purple at home full time so they could be the best dressed team in college football.

    To be clear, the “fix” was not mine (though I would have done it if I hadn’t seen it). All I did was to find the original photo from which the photoshop was made and placed them side by side.

    But yes, the helmet and shoulder (and pants) stripes should always match on the same color elements.

    Also, LSU should never wear white helmets or pants.

    Stanford wore red helmets at least once before back in the leather helmet era: the 1941 Rose Bowl against Nebraska (link, game footage starts at 13:40; Stanford in white unis). Blaise D’Sylva’s Helmet History also shows the 1930s Stanford teams wearing a dark-colored helmet, red or black, darker than their red uniforms: link

    Are you sure about that? I didn’t use this particular article for my research, but look at this pull quote:

    “According to helmet history, this marks the first time in the program’s history that they will have red helmets. It also marks the first time that “Stanford” is written out on the helmet as well.”>


    I’d seen it reported elsewhere it was the first time for red helmets as well. And Blaise’s full helmet history does show a dark (leather) helmet used from 1930-38, but it’s impossible to tell what color it was (or if it was even painted). link

    Not saying you’re wrong, just that I can find any definitive evidence for a previous red helmet. I’ll couch it by saying “first red helmet from the non-leather era.”

    I’m never really sure about anything these days; the older I get, the less I know. Still, it seems from B&W images and the few videos from the 1930s era that that helmet, painted or not, was darker than the jerseys. And while the 8mm(?) color film of the 1941 Rose Bowl is poor quality, it seems pretty evident that Stanford wore red helmets, all-white uniforms and red stockings with two white stripes, while Nebraska wore white helmets, red jerseys, tannish(?) pants and also red stockings with two white stripes. (I’ve read someplace online, I don’t have a link handy, that it was initially confusing to some fans in the stands as to which team was which, as it was assumed that the Cardinals would wear their standard home red jerseys and white helmets.) From early (13:45 onward, left-footed Frankie Albert kicking off) in the 1941 film, Stanford wore red helmets, especially reflective when the field was in sunshine. However, the red helmet was presumably a one-off over the last 85 years until yesterday’s Big Game. Perhaps the red helmets helped Albert find his receivers in contrast to the Cornhuskers’ white helmets, although I’m just spitballing that that was the reason for the Rose Bowl switch.

    I went and found the color film for the 1941 Rose Bowl, and while the helmets are definitely dark, I can’t say they’re red. But probably *the* foremost helmet historian there is, Blaise D’Sylva, doesn’t show Stanford having ever worn a red helmet. I’ll go with his research until someone can prove differently. Here’s a look at Blaise’s mini-helmet Stanford U history:


    And here’s his visual history (note there is no dark helmet AT ALL for 1941). It’s possible they repurposed the dark (which Blaise indicates is black) helmet from 1930-38 to wear, but that doesn’t make much sense seeing as they went to a white helmet with small painted red stripes in 1939, and then full white in 1940.


    So I’m perplexed about the helmet worn for the 1941 Rose Bowl — obviously they would be the 1940 season (first year of solid white helmets), but I will definitely agree whatever color they’re wearing in the Rose is NOT white. Whether it’s red, I can’t say, even from that color film.

    Odd that Blaise doesn’t have the Rose Bowl helmet somewhere, either a mockup for in a writeup. Maybe I’ll shoot him a line and see if he knows more.

    Why did it take so long for Stanford to go with a cardinal red helmet? It looks great, minus the wordmark. It’s odd that the S isn’t in script like the rest of the word.

    Hasn’t the Civil War game been played color-on-color before? It looked really good to me. I’m all for rivalry games to be played in full Technicolor, especially red v blue.

    Great round-up of the games this past weekend!

    You can google it (there are many games) but yes, the Civil War in recent years (going back about a decade) has often, though not always, been color vs. color. We’ve have different variations, too, with OSU sometimes wearing mono orange, sometimes mono black, and sometimes a combination. They Ducks have also gone mono-green and mono-yellow. A few games have also featured one team with white jerseys.

    The 2013 Civil War in Eugene was color on color – Beavers all orange, Ducks in dark helmet, green jersey, yellow pants. My wife called it the “Crayola Bowl.”


    Yup. I remember that one well.

    I believe that was the first game where players wore “baggy” undershirts (you can see it on a few players in that pic, and on a lot of guys on the sideline). We didn’t know it then, but it started the horrible trend today of not just the baggy sleeves, but the untucked shirts.

    Prior to this game, every garment was skintight. My memory is like a sieve, so I may be misremembering, but I *think* the announcers for that game even remarked about the billowy appearance of the undershirts.

    I was at the NC State-UNC game on Saturday night and can confirm that it was a GREAT-looking matchup.

    The symmetry of White-Color-White vs. Color-White-Color worked very well…

Comments are closed.