By Phil Hecken
And now, the final annual look back (with an excuse to pick the Bowl game winners) at the 2017 uniforms and combinations of all the teams involved in the final set of College Football Bowl Games, covering your matchups for today and tomorrow.
The concept of this exercise is pretty simple: pick the winners of the bowl games (against the spread), based on who has the better uniform set worn throughout the 2017 season. I usually get about 50% correct this way (which is to say, about the same odds as if I’d flipped a coin).
As always, you can click on the graphics to see a full size. In all cases, every attempt was made to include all uniform combos worn by each team throughout the year. In some instances, a team with a better uniform in general, but who goes off the grid with too many “special” unis (or fails to use school colors) will not get the nod over a lesser-attired team. It’s not a question of how many unis and combos a school has — it’s who wears them better.
After a record 41 bowls last year, this year we’re blessed with less. I’ll be breaking them up into segments: two weekends ago (see link above) — the 11 bowls that took place the first week. Last weekend saw matchups for the 19 games played this past week (link above), and finally today is the last 9 bowls (excluding the final-final National Championship Game to be played on Monday, January 8th) with teams you’ve actually watched all season long. You can click on any image to enlarge. (Apologies if they seem to run into one another — first listed school is on the left, second listed is on the right.)
So, without further ado, here is part III…
Mississippi State vs. Louisville
Saturday, December 30; Noon; ESPN
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
Spread: Louisville is a 6.5 point favorite
The Bulldogs wear maroon and white (with a splash of gray) very nicely, and if they’d stick to those colors, they’d be fine. But like so many schools, they insist on a BFBS look (fortunately worn only once). My high school colors were maroon and gray, so I’m ok with this. The ‘ville look great in red and white (and they’re one of the few schools for which I LOVE the chrome [red] hat). But they like to throw in black at times (it’s a school color), to their detriment. I’ve never been a fan of the tire tread unis or the “wing” on the Cardinals’ sleeve caps, but I wouldn’t have taken them anyway.
The Pick: MSU +6.5
Iowa State vs. Memphis
Saturday, December 30; 12:30; ABC
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
Spread: Memphis is a 3.5 point favorite
Iowa State notched some pretty impressive wins this year, and has great cardinal and gold colors, with awesome UCLA stripes. When they go cardinal/cardinal/gold, they even look like USC. But…they chose not to wear gold pants at all this year, and mixed in white hats. Oh, and then there’s that AFAS they love, killing an otherwise great look. Memphis is just a mess. They wore 11 different combos, and in a feat I don’t think was matched by any team this year, managed 11 different helmet combos too. Some are white, some are blue, some are gray, and some are plain, some have tiger stripes, some have a solid stripe with tiger striping. Some pants are plain, some have tiger striping. Blue, white, gray — hell, they even have TWO different BFBS jerseys. I’d say pick a lane and stick in it, but they need to find the highway first. This will be Cyclones by default.
The Pick: ISU +3.5
Penn State vs. Washington
Saturday, December 30; 4:00; ESPN
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Spread: PSU is a 2 point favorite
Like eight years ago, I think it was with Ricko (remember him?) and/or Jimmer Vilk, I ranked my favorite college unis — Alabama was number 1 (still are) and PSU was #2. That hasn’t changed in the intervening years, as the lads from State College have kept the same beautiful set. They even went CRAZY this year by throwing in a “fauxback” (that looks pretty much the same as their current duds). The Huskies have been pretty great in sticking to just two combos the past couple seasons (home is a gold dome, purple shirt, and gold britches, road=gold/white/purple). They wore one all-purple ensemble once, and reminded us why they should stick to just the two combos. Washington would get the nod against a few other teams, but not We Are.
The Pick: PSU -2
Miami (FL) vs. Wisconsin
Saturday, December 30; 8:00; ESPN
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Spread: Wisconsin is a 6.5 point favorite
I love Miami’s unis since adidas fixed the striping on them in the middle of last season. The white hats, the orange, white and green colors — so beautiful. But…they added that black “Miami Nights” combo, which cuts them down a bit. Wisconsin is also gorgeous — and they only have two combos. White helmet with red facemask, red jersey and white pants for home games, and white hats with white masks, white jerseys and white pants for a
stormtrooper mono-white that is divine. We already know Miami will be in the black getup tonight, but that didn’t factor in my pick. Sconnie is just better, but it’s close.
The Pick: Wisconsin -6.5
Michigan vs. South Carolina
Monday, January 1; 12:00 noon; ESPN2
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Spread: Michigan is a 7.5 point favorite
After a couple seasons under Jim Harbaugh keeping the Wolverines to just two combos (the classic blue/blue/maize at home, and blue/white/white on the road), UM succumbed to the alternate jersey this year, opening the season in a maize top. They also threw in a pair of maize trou on the road, but for the most part they looked like Michigan should. SCar has come a long way uni-wise, and their garnet and black work well. Unfortunately, they just wear too many different combos, mixing white, garnet and black hats with like colored uni elements. Michigan get the edge here.
The Pick: Michigan -7.5
Auburn vs. Central Florida
Monday, January 1; 12:30 pm; ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Spread: Auburn is a 9.5 point favorite
There aren’t many schools that stick to two uni combos — even those stalwarts who used to only wear two have thrown a one or two-off alternate here and there. But Auburn isn’t one of those. Their navy and orange has (mostly) stood the test of time, and other than their annoying quirk of not having the helmet stripe match the pants stripe, I have no quibbles with their uniformity. The same, of course, cannot be said for UCF, who wore as many combos as games they played, with black, white and several shades of gray mixed in, not to mention a gold helmet (when almost no gold appears anywhere else on the uni). Their official colors are gold and black, but it doesn’t seem to be very official.
The Pick: Auburn -9.5
Louisiana State vs. Notre Dame
Monday, January 1; 1:00 pm; ABC
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Spread: LSU is a 3 point favorite
As one of the few schools who wear white at home, we’re very accustomed to seeing LSU in their beautiful and classic gold/white/gold combos, with UCLA stripes that appear to be just about fixed as well as they can be for the template they’re on. They usually play one or two games wearing purple tops (they once wore them with the gold hat/pants), but they’ve since moved to a white helmet/britches look, which is a bit of a downgrade, IMO. But we don’t see it often anyway, so it’s a non-factor. Notre Dame has remained pretty solid and classic since their switch to UA a few years ago, and after years of having a CRAZY one-off for the “Shamrock Series” (or some such nonsense), this year they wore a “Knute Rockne” fauxback that looked super nice. It’s truly a coin-flip here, and you couldn’t go wrong with either school.
The Pick: LSU -3
Oklahoma vs. Georgia
Monday, January 1; 5:00 pm; ESPN
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Spread: Georgia is a 2 point favorite
Oklahoma’s official colors are crimson and cream, but they’ve always worn crimson and white for football. Until a few years ago that is, when Nike gave them the “Bring the Wood” (it pains me to type that) set of crimson and cream. They used to mix and match those elements, but this year they wore one mono-crimson and one mono-cream. They don’t look bad, but they don’t look good either. Georgia keeps it classic always, with red hats, either red or white jerseys, and silver britches. Every year there’s talk of a black alternate jersey, or red pants, but neither (or rarely) materializes. And that’s a good thing. Today’s game will have Oklahoma in (normal) crimson tops and Georgia in white ones, and it will be a great looking game. Advantage UGA. Oh, and yes, this one is being played in the Rose Bowl. Because it’s a playoff game, the Granddaddy won’t be hosting the PAC vs. B1G champs. That’s a shame.
The Pick: Georgia -2
Clemson vs. Alabama
Monday, January 1; 8:45 pm; ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisianaa
Spread: Alabama is a 3 point favorite
Clemson always looks mighty purdy, and when they break out the orange britches, they look even purdier. They traditionally eschew those in the beginning of the season, finally breaking them out at the end: “Championship Britches” is how I’ve heard them described. And they will be going mono-orange today in their RE-RE-match vs. bama (these two have met in the past two CFB Championship games, with each team having won one). Except for the mono-purple look (which I get but don’t like), Clemson can’t look bad in any combo. But they’re playing my all-time favorite uni team in Alabama, (a decision what could no doubt be influenced by my own alma mater, who have worn these unis since long before I graduated from there) so no matter how good Clemson looks, I’ll be picking oppo. It’s a great game to finish off a great bowl season, with the winners of the Rose & Sugar meeting a week later to decide your National Champ for 2018. I hope the Tide will rise to the occasion.
The Pick: Alabama -3
OK, there you have it. All the games you’ll see today and Monday. These are all the Bowls we waited for and really want to watch. Are you ready for some football?
Hope you enjoyed my picks-by-better-uni. YMMV.
Last weekend, on Christmas Eve, I ran the (now semi-) annual “Very Merry Vilkmas” raffle, in which good ol’ Jimmer Vilk raffles off some gifts to some lucky UW readers. Perhaps because it was held on Christmas Eve, or perhaps because the swag wasn’t as appealing as in past years, we only had 48 raffle entries — more than enough for the five fine Vilkmas gifts. The winners are listed below. Congrats to all who win, and thanks to everyone who participated. Jim will likely be back with more goodies in July.
Bill Emigh – Phoenix Cardinals glass
Bob Kelly – AFC Central glasses
Connor Witt – Lakers/Magic Finals shirt
Christian Berumen – Cavs champs shirt
Jimmer has all your shipping info (I’m not sure if he’ll be contacting you directly in the meantime) so congrats on your raffle win and enjoy the spoils of his thrifting and re-gifting!
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Cheerleaders never caught on in baseball, but it should surprise no one that Bill Veeck tried to introduce them to the diamond. Those are the “Soxettes” at Comiskey Park in 1969 (from @BSmile). … Also from Bruce Menard, the 1971 Montréal Expos usherettes welcome you to Jarry Park. Adds Bruce, “Amazing uniforms, those go-go boots are classic.”
Pro Football News: The Dolphins are wearing their throwbacks this Sunday against the Bills, and announced the decision with a dot matrix Twitter video (from Robert Hayes). … Also from Robert Hayes: the Browns are closing out the season going all white. … The Titans are going navy over sky blue this Sunday, with the captains making the decision to change from all-navy to sky blue pants according to the Titans’ Twitter (from Lee Wilds). … This bust of Andy Reid made out of Lego is the greatest thing I’ve seen all week (from Edwin Bonner). … Cool story here on why the Rams don’t own the domain name “rams.com” (thanks, Paul). … We’ve seen visiting team endzones before…but visiting team helmet carts? That shot from an early 1970s Lions-Rams game in LA (from Matt Queen). … In a related submission, Cork Gaines sends along this magazine scan featuring a photo of what appears to be the helmet carts of every team in the NFL at the time. … Saints RB Alvin Kamara was fined yesterday for the Christmas-themed cleats he wore last week (thanks, Phil). … In light of James Harrison leaving the Steelers to sign with the Patriots, CBS Sports published a slideshow of NFL stars who “didn’t look right in another team’s jersey.” (thanks, Phil). …
College/High School Football News: Miami’s Orange Bowl patch creates an unsightly overlap with their Adidas makers’ mark (from Eric Wagers). … A Kentucky player either silver NOB lettering or had another jersey over his NOB jersey during last night’s Music City Bowl (from Randy Wojtasiak). … Some USC players had grey facemasks while others had white during last night’s Cotton Bowl (from @xuoph). … Maine apparently still uses New Balance uniforms, one of what has to be only a handful of programs left with the company (from Daniel Hargis). … Bud Brooks sends along these gorgeous early-1950s high school football program covers illustrated by Larry Tisdale.
Hockey News: Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin has his name as “D-BO$$” on his stick (from @joeyhop80). … On a similar note, Evgeni Malkin has “Gino” on his stick (from Mario Vasquez). … St. John’s (Ma.) Prep wore Capitals-inspired unis for the Pete Frates Classic. Each uni had a “Frates” NOB (from Phil Stacey). … The Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL went with Star Wars jerseys last night (from @j_tasca). … Sharks forward Joel Ward used a pair of Air Jordans to propose to his girlfriend (from John Cannon).
NBA News: The Westchester Knicks of the G-League have added a Squarespace ad to the right sleeve of their shooting shirts. Squarespace is of course the uni advertisement for their NBA parent team, the New York Knicks (from Eric Abneri).
College/High School Hoops News: Louisville went BFBS against Kentucky (from Josh Hinton). … VCU will throw it back against Fordham today (from Mat Shelton-Eide). … Can you spot everything wrong in the description of this photograph of an Oklahoma State-Texas game at the Museum of Modern Art? (from Joel Mathwig).
Grab Bag: White Castle, the burger chain famous for its sliders, is now an official sponsor of the US Luge Team. It works out pretty well (from @OlegKvasha). … The UFC unveiled its 25th anniversary logos and octagon canvas yesterday. Love the octagon motif in the logos. … UNC Wrestling’s new singlets were unveiled yesterday (from James Gilbert). … Paul Holdsworth sends along a gallery of some new 2018 pro cycling kits. … Not uni-related, but the Albany Times-Union has a great piece on animals in distilleries, with 68(!) photos (from Joe Makowiec). … This Aquafina label was printed (or applied) backwards (from @varanasty).