By Phil Hecken
OK, kids, it’s that time of year again. That wonderful time of year known as “Bowl Season.” And as I’ve done for the past several years (to varying degrees of success, though I usually end up about 50% correct), I shall pick the winners of the bowl games (against the spread), based on who has the better uniform set worn throughout the 2018 season.
Some of the games will have a slam-dunk winner for best uni, some will be pretty easy to see, others are a tough call — and some feature teams that are both so bad that neither team deserves to be picked. I shall do so anyway.
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.
I know Paul’s not a big fan of corporate-douchebaggery associated with Bowl Names. So I’ll do my best to avoid that. OK? OK.
There are 40 Bowls this year (plus the final CFP game to be played on January 7th) and I’ll be breaking them up into segments: today — the 11 bowls taking place today and through Friday. Next weekend I’ll have the 13 you’ll see the following week, and finally the last 16 bowls 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 top, second listed is on the bottom.)
So, without further ado, here goes nothing…
North Carolina A&T vs. Alcorn State
Saturday, December 15; Noon; ABC
Spread: North Carolina A&T is a 7.5 point favorite
North Carolina AT&T
Not the most visually appealing potential matchup, with NC AT&T in their blue and gold (good) with a sprinkling of GFGS (bad) thrown in. They go against purple and gold Alcorn who have an interesting Northwestern shoulder stripe for their dark jersey, but UCLA shoulder loops for their white tops (reminds me of the old Vikings from 1969 thru the early 1990s), which normally would offend my OCD but which I kinda dig here. Unfortunate truncated stripes on the gold pants, but otherwise, I like!
The Pick: Alcorn State plus 7.5
North Texas vs. Utah State
Saturday, December 15; 2:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Utah State is a 9.5 point favorite
I love North Texas’ use of kelly green, and I just wish they didn’t feel the need to wear so much black with it (leave that for Marshall, shall we?), but it’s a beautiful shade. Four helmets (black, white, green & shiny silver) seem like a bit much though. Utah State on the other hand is your basic navy, white (and gray), but their unis are just so…what’s the word I want…drab. TNDL (Team Name Down Leg) doesn’t help their cause either. Gotta stay green.
The Pick: North Texas getting 9 and a half
Louisiana vs. Tulane
Saturday, December 15; 2:30 pm; CBSSN
Spread: Tulane is a 3.5 point favorite
Our first slam dunk. After farting around for years with some really crazy, shitty unis the Louisiana Ragin Cajun has settled into just two for this season, and both are solid (if unspectacular). And that’s not a bad thing at all. Tulane, the Angriest of Green Waves, has gone hog wild with combos this year, and not in a good way. I’ve never been a fan of pairing blue and green (yeah, I’m weird like that), so I’ve never been much of a fan of Tulane’s colors anyway. Throw in a few BFBS looks and it’s just an overall mess. Their template is solid enough, but that’s about it.
The Pick: Louisiana getting 3.5
Fresno State vs. Arizona State
Saturday, December 15; 3:30 pm; ABC
Spread: Fresno State is a 4.5 point favorite
If only ASU would stick to maroon and gold, I’d give them the nod here, but their continued use of BFBS is a disqualifier. I didn’t even mind when they wore copper accents under both Nike and adidas, but I can’t get behind the black. Fresno, on the other hand, basically stuck with red and white (with a hint of blue), and despite the unfortunate pants stripes, wins this uni battle.
The Pick: I’ll take Fresno and give the points
Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern
Saturday, December 15; 5:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: Georgia Southern is a .5 point favorite
You’d think, especially if you know me and my uni-leanings, this one would be a no doubt, slam dunk. And you’d probably be right. I mean, you know Alabama is my favorite college uni, and Georgia Southern is basically Alabama in navy. Simple — always just two combos — great, right? But for some reason, despite their multiple combos, I do really like EMU — even their use of diamond plate on the numbers and helmet decals. They might be the one school whose use of the old adidas tire-tread template actually works. But still, I gotta go with the classic look, even if EMU might tempt me otherwise against a lesser-attired school.
The Pick: Georgia Southern giving up a half-point
Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State
Saturday, December 15; 9:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: App State is a 7.5 point favorite
This one’s easy. Middle Tennessee basically has nothing going for them — white, gray, royal, BFBS — it’s all too much. Yes, some schools still feel the need to basically wear a different combo for every game, but that’s not usually a good thing. App State, in their attractive black and gold, kept it pretty simple this season, and to good effect. They win this uni battle.
The Pick: I’ll take App State and give the points
UAB vs. Northern Illinois
Tuesday, December 18; 7:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: UAB is a 2.5 point favorite
Normally I’d like a school whose colors are green and gold over a black/red team. But UAB just doesn’t quite do it for me here. NIU kept it pretty simple (and I actually really dig that red over black combo).
The Pick: NIU getting 2.5 points
Ohio vs. San Diego State
Wednesday, December 19; 8:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Ohio is a 3.5 point favorite
San Diego State
Dammit, Ohio. You still feel the need to go BFBS at least once a season. The green and white is so purdy — just stick with that please! Even so, I’ve loved SDSU’s two Aztec-inspired unis since they were introduced back in 2015. I’m surprised they’ve never added an alternate or special costume since then, but kudos to them for resisting!
The Pick: I’ll take SDSU and take the points
Marshall vs. South Florida
Thursday, December 20; 8:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Marshall is a 2.5 point favorite
Remember how I remarked on North Texas’ use of kelly & black above? Well, that seems to be Marshall’s shtick as well. When Marshall first got this set, they didn’t have any black, but over the years have added in a pair of pants (ok) and now jersey (not ok). I like that they keep to one helmet, but they didn’t need to add in the all black. USF basically stuck to two unis this season, with one BFBS kit with tequila sunrise striped numbers. I’ll overlook that, sorta. Still, it’s close, but USF gets a slight nod here.
The Pick: USF getting 2.5
FIU vs. Toledo
Friday, December 21; 12:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: Toledo is a 5.5 point favorite
Except for the panther claw marks on their pants, I actually like FIU’s unis and they’ve stuck to the navy, white and metallic gold script pretty well. Toledo, on the other hand, has actually gotten better over the past few years, and I do love me some navy and athletic gold. Yeah, the TNDL is annoying but that’s the only awful thing about their unis. This one (depending on how the unis shake out) could have a mirror image look to it, or … maybe not. It’s almost a coin toss here, but I’ll give the slight edge to Toledo and hope they don’t disappoint me.
The Pick: Toledo, giving 5 and a half
BYU vs. Western Michigan
Friday, December 21; 4:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: BYU is a 12.5 point favorite
This one is another no-doubter. BYU has fantastic uniforms, and my only complaint with them is that they should just wear the royal blue (vs. navy) every game. But other than that, they’re perfect. WMU isn’t awful, but they’re pretty close. The color scheme of brown and metallic gold isn’t bad, but they have a really annoying pants stripe and what looks to be a set of BFBS pants. It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t, this one’s all Brigham Young.
The Pick: BYU giving up a ton
And there you have it — the first 11 bowls of the 2018 season. Let’s see if I can do better than my usual 50% in picking winners based on the better uni combos worn throughout the season.
Penguins and Flyers unveil Stadium Series logos
While the news isn’t exactly earth-shattering, yesterday the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers both released their logos for their upcoming Stadium Series game to be played at the Linc on February 23rd of next year. The logo for the game itself had already been released in July of this year.
We haven’t yet seen the uniforms (that will probably happen shortly), so all we have to go on is the logos — perhaps giving us a hint of what is to come. The Penguins, as the visitors, first:
We're taking this outside… Again.
See you in Philly.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 14, 2018
Next up, the Flyers:
Our logo transformation for the 2019 #StadiumSeries is v major. Stay tuned for more…
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 14, 2018
Taken outside of the videos, the two logos look like this:
Obviously, not too different from their current logos, except both are two color (neither of which is white). This has led some to think we might see a color vs. color (orange vs. gold???) game and maybe, just maybe, a “color rush” on ice (we can only hope and pray the Penguins don’t go with gold breezers, although it might not be the worst uniform ever).
— PenguinsChronicles (@PensChronicles) December 14, 2018
For now, we can only speculate on the unis. I’d love to see an orange vs gold game (or at least orange vs. gold jerseys). But we’ll only know that once the teams unveil their (sure to be) special unis for the game.
Raffle reminder: Paul here. In case you missed it on Friday, our annual year-end raffle, featuring dozens of cool items (including an amazing Uni Watch hockey jersey made by DIY genius Wafflebored, shown above), is now underway. Full details here.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: This brief video of the 1940 City Series between the White Sox and Cubs at Wrigley shows the Cubs in vests, with white short sleeved shirts underneath, giving the appearance of sleeved jerseys, with blue undershirts with red sleeve stripes. What a combo! (Many thanks to Ed Hughes for sending this our way). … The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame is looking to crowdfund an effort to produce bobbleheads of some of the Negro Leagues’ greatest stars in honor of the Negro Leagues’ forthcoming centennial (from Mike Chamernik). … A new exhibit at the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum showcases the evolution of baseball equipment (thanks, Brinke).
NFL News: This pic shows a player undergoing a jersey fitting for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football, and check the background: facemaskless helmets! (from Griffin Smith). … Also posted in the hockey section: The Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL are wearing Packers-inspired jerseys for their Celebrate Wisconsin Weekend (from Mike Thompson).
College/High School Football News: Erskine College is bringing back football, and just revealed their pretty cool new helmets (from Stephen C. Mitchell). … The Liberty Bowl patches have been applied to Mizzou unis (from Steve Johnston). … Speaking of patches, this “behind the scenes” video of Alabama’s preparations for the College Football Playoff features Tide players in full uniform, but sans patches. Interesting (from Griffin Smith). … GO MAINE!
Hockey News: The Pens and Flyers both posted a Twitter video that seem to give us a hint of what their Stadium Series sweaters will look like, leading some to believe it’ll look something like a Color Rash NFL game (from Chris Ainsworth, Cole Bury, Noah Kastroll and everyone else who sent this in). … Corey Crawford has revealed the mask he’ll wear during the Winter Classic (from @GoalieGearNerd). … We’ve had uni ads in hockey for a long time at basically every level but the NHL. So I suppose it was only a matter of time before we got goalie pad ads, too (from Damon Hirschensohn). … The AHL’s Ontario Reign are auctioning off their ugly sweater, uh, sweaters today (from Matt McElroy). … The Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL have basically the best unis ever for Darth Vader night (from @labflyer). … Cross-posted in the pro football section: The Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL are wearing Packers-inspired sweaters for their Celebrate Wisconsin Weekend (from Mike Thompson). … The USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks have been wearing Pearl Harbor commemoration sweaters.
College Hoops News: Abilene Christian University has unveiled throwback unis. The “ACC” stands for Abilene Christian College, the university’s name until 1976. … Evansville has added a sleeved alternate (from Scott Hurt). … The Sooners will debut their new alternates today (thanks, Phil).
Soccer News: Liverpool and New Balance have unveiled a special-edition “blackout kit” (from Moe Khan and Roy Hilliard). … Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wore a Puma jacket during City’s Champions League match against Hoffenheim, despite the club being outfitted by Nike. Puma will take over manufacturing duties for the Citizens after this season (from Josh Hinton).
Grab Bag: Lots of news for Richard Childress Racing: a 50th anniversary logo, two gold cars for the Daytona 500, and the No. 31 car has been rebranded as the No. 8 and to be driven by Daniel Hemric (from Christopher Hickey and Kyle Dawson). … This is so cool: siblings Maret and Paul Otterson marched opposite each other with the North Dakota State and South Dakota State marching bands, respectively, as the Bison and Jackrabbits met in the FCS semifinals (from James Gilbert). … Iowa State Wrestling has three new singlets, including a BFBS one (from Kary Klismet). … Not sports related, but Capcom, producers of the legendary video game series Street Fighter, has announced that Street Fighter players will get extra in-game currency if they choose to allow advertisements on their in-game avatars (from Don Martinez).