By Phil Hecken
Hey guys — back with the annual look back (with an excuse to pick the Bowl game winners) at the 2018 uniforms and combinations of all the teams involved in the second set (today’s games through next Friday — December 28th) of College Football Bowl Games.
If you missed Part I, you can click here.
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 2018 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.
As in years past, I’ll be breaking the Bowl games up into segments: last weekend (see link above) — the 11 bowls that took place last week. Today you’ll see matchups for the 13 games this week, and finally (next Saturday) the final 16 bowls (excluding the final-final National Championship Game to be played on Monday, January 7th) with teams you’ve actually watched all season long. You can click on any image to enlarge.
Through the first 11 games, I’m 5-6 with my picks…right about where you’d expect me to be.
So, without further ado, here is part II…
Memphis vs. Wake Forest
Saturday, December 22; Noon; ESPN
Spread: Memphis is a 4.5 point favorite
Dear God, this one is gonna be an ugly game. Both teams love to mix and match and Memphis is the worse of the two for doing so. I’d love to give them grief for going GFGS, but gray is actually a school color, but black is … not. At least the Deacons stick to black and gold, but really, is there any need to have two different black jerseys? Normally this would be a coin flip, but I go with WF as the lesser of two uni evils.
The Pick: I’ll take Wake Forest and the 4 and a half points
Houston vs. Army
Saturday, December 22; 3:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: Army is a 3.5 point favorite
I love 8 of Houston’s 9 combos — only the one BFBS (they seem to do this at least once every year) I dislike, but you can be assured they’ll be in some combo of red & white today. Army also looks great — better when they’re in all black, but any combo they wear should look good. And it should be a good looking game overall too. This is a tough call as well, but in a nod to the Black Knights (and my pop, who was an officer in the Army in Korea), and they’re playing in the “Armed Forces” bowl — I’ll take ’em.
The Pick: Gimme Army and I’ll give the points
Troy vs. Buffalo
Saturday, December 22; 7:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Buffalo is a 2.5 point favorite
OK, before I get into trouble: Yes, Troy’s official colors are black, cardinal and silver. That means every single combo they’ve worn does represent all school colors. That being said, none of them look particularly good, especially when worn on the old adidas tire tread template. SUNY B (Buffalo), on the other hand, does not have black as an official color, but use it on their unis. I like the new helmet logo they added this year, but that’s about it. It pains me to give the nod to the men of Troy, but…
The Pick: I’ll take Troy and the points
Hawaii vs. Louisiana Tech
Saturday, December 22; 10:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: Hawaii is a 1.5 point favorite
Hawaii used to have really fantastic uniforms, especially when they threw out the Rainbow Warrior throwbacks, but they didn’t do that this year. And they exclusively wore black pants. That’s fine and dandy when they go with the black jersey, but it looks odd with the white jersey with green sleeve caps. They do get bonus points for the Island helmet decals (worn first in the wake of Hurricane Lane). LaTech, on the other hand, looks really nice in any of their red, white or blue elements, and you know I have a soft spot in my heart for the UCLA shoulder loops and pants stripes. In my heart I’m pulling for Hawaii, but in my head it’s…
The Pick: I’ll take Louisiana Tech getting one and a half
Boston College vs. Boise State
Wednesday, December 26; 1:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: Boise is a 3.5 point favorite
Depending on how the teams dress, this could be either a really good looking game, or one that’s “not so much.” But I don’t make my pick on how the teams dress in their bowl game, it’s based on the regular season. And BC almost always looks good in their classic maroon and gold. They even busted out the sweet “Flutie throwbacks”. Boise, who I’ve always loved as a team and when they stick to their royal and orange colors, is a sentimental favorite. They’ve also ditched the BFBS and GFGS unis of the past. That makes it a tough call. But I’ll go with …
The Pick: Let me go with Boise and give the points
Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech
Wednesday, December 26; 5:15 pm; ESPN
Spread: Georgia Tech is a 3.5 point favorite
First off: both schools (despite being outfitted by different companies) seem to have very similar fonts — and not particularly attractive ones at that (though they are legible, which is the most important thing). And since PJ Fleck took over as coach and modified the Gophers unis, they’ve gone downhill, especially since adding the Row The Boat slogan ON the helmets. When PJ is fired (or quits), does that come off the unis, since he’s got the trademark? C’mon man. Never let your coach design your uni (or even your helmet stripe). *Rant Over*. GT, on the other hand, finally dumped Russell and moved to adidas in the off season, and I can’t exactly say their unis improved. Yes, they wear white at home (and on the road), so they have TWO white jerseys, and now a new navy one AND new navy pants. But it’s still better than Minnie. So, based on that…
The Pick: Gimme the Ramblin’ Wreck and I’ll give you the points.
TCU vs. Cal
Wednesday, December 26; 9:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: TCU is a 5 point favorite
First off: Cheez-It Bowl? FFS. But this one is no contest: black and purple with frog skin sublimation vs. blue and gold? And Cal has better striping and helmets. And only ONE helmet, except for their gorgeous throwbacks. I don’t mind TCU’s all white unis, but that’s where the love ends. No contest (did I already say that?) here…
The Pick: Give me da Bears and I’ll take the points
Duke vs. Temple
Thursday, December 27; 1:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: Temple is a 3.5 point favorite
Deep breath…*sigh*. When both of these teams stick to school colors, I really LIKE both uni sets — Duke with their Colts-like striping and color scheme really looks nice when they stick to blue and white. Classic. Similarly, I love Temple’s cherry red AND I may be one of the few to like their modern striping/shading. Unfortunately, BOTH schools have GFGS and BFBS alternates, and neither looks particularly good (though I think the gray works better with the cherry of the Owls). With so many possible combos, who knows what this game will ultimately look like. It’s a tough call here, going with what will be the lesser of two evils, but…
The Pick: Reluctantly I’ll take Duke, getting 3.5
Wisconsin vs. Miami (FL)
Thursday, December 27; 5:15 pm; ESPN
Spread: Miami is a 3.5 point favorite
Oh, Hurricanes, if ONLY you didn’t have to bust out that one BFBS combo. The other combos with orange and green are so delightful, and since adidas gave them the new template this year, there’s no more embarrassing tire tread look. A fantastic improvement. But they, you’ve got the classic Badger uni with one hat, two jerseys and one pair of pants. And it’s a solid look to boot. Miami might get my nod against more than half of the teams in the 2018 bowls, but not ‘sconnie.
The Pick: I’ll take Wisconsin and the points
Sports & Outdoors:
Baylor vs. Vanderbilt
Thursday, December 27; 9:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Vanderbilt is a 3.5 point favorite
I gotta admit, I wasn’t much of a fan of Vandy’s unis when they were introduced, but they’ve grown on me. I’ve never been a fan of Baylor’s especially with the bear-paw print as part of the sleeve caps. Throw in the GFGS & BFBS and is just a muddled mess. The Commodores unis aren’t great, but they’re better than what Baylor wears, so…
The Pick: I’ll take Vandy and give the points
Purdue vs. Auburn
Friday, December 28; 1:30 pm; ESPN
Spread: Auburn is a 5.5 point favorite
Of the several black and gold teams out there, Purdue’s may be my least favorite, and that’s saying something. And if you can’t say something nice about a thing, best not to say anything at all, right? It wouldn’t matter, most likely, though, since Purdue’s unis are up against one of the best in college football: Auburn. I love their unis — about the only thing I’d like that would make them better is if they put the northwestern striping they use on their hats and sleeves down the pants legs (it’s my OCD thing). Many of you probably prefer it that way, but regardless, Auburn would take down most other squads, and the Boilers don’t stand much of a chance, uni-wise, against anyone.
The Pick: I’ll take Auburn and give the points
West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Friday, December 28; 5:15 pm; ESPN
Spread: West Virginia is a 1.5 point favorite
Couple things of note here. First off, and it’s hard to believe, but WVU actually improved their unis this season when they ditched the pro combat (or whatever the hell it’s called) template, thereby removing the pit stain striping from their unis. They’re still pretty awful, and their pick-axe font is probably the worst in all of college football. Secondly, on the other side of the ball, Syracuse — themselves afflicted with wretched fonts — decided to stick with only school colors this season, ditching the terrible GFGS numbers. In a game with two schools in great colors but bad unis, this one is close.
The Pick: I’ll take the orange (and hope they wear lots of it) and take the points
Washington State vs. Iowa State
Friday, December 28; 9:00 pm; ESPN
Spread: Washington State is a 3.5 point favorite
In the last of the “mid” level bowls before we get to the good stuff, we find Wazzu and the ‘clones. Let’s start with the Cougs. Gray is indeed an official color, but anthracite (which almost looks black) is not. And Wazzu was determined to wear a different combo for every game. When they do stick to crimson and gray, they have very attractive combos. Iowa State got new uniforms this season, in a final effort perhaps, to avoid looking like Southern Cal. Too bad, since the Trojans aren’t bowling this year. But change may do Iowa State good. Sadly, while they rock the cardinal well (not so much the gold anymore), they couldn’t resist the BFBS (AND added a black collar to the cardinal tops — why?). That gives the ever-so-slight nod to the AFAS-clad Cougars. Barely.
The Pick: I’ll take Wazzu and give the points.
And there you have it — the second 13 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.
For those who don’t wish to click the links, Graig paints baseball heroes (and regular guys) from the past, and is an immense talent.
Occasionally, I will be featuring his work on Uni Watch.
Here’s today’s offering (click to enlarge):
Title: “Podres Preserves, Nabs Win”
Subject: Ebbets Field, 1957
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 59″ x 28″
Though the Bums had not been playing wonderful ball in 1957, they were still in the thick of a playoff race. By mid-year, at 44-36, they had played well enough to be only a half a game behind the third place Phillies, one game behind the second place Milwaukee Braves, and two and a half games behind the league leading St. Louis Cardinals. Coming into Ebbets Field were the highly touted Braves, who at this stage of the season, seemed to be the team to beat.
The Braves had played well in the first few months, and were on the verge of catching fire, after winning their last series against Pittsburgh. Younger stars Henry Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Lew Burdette – as well as older veterans Warren Spahn, Andy Pafko and Red Schoendienst – were bringing pennant hopes to Milwaukee, the city that embraced a once moribund franchise following the move from Boston in 1953.
On this mild July 15th afternoon, 20,871 paying customers came to Ebbets to cheer on their Dodgers, who had their own winning streak brewing, as they had taken both games from Cincinnati earlier in the week. Starting for the Bums was the former New York Giants rightie Sal Maglie, who pitched impressively in 1956. ‘The Barber’ got off to an inauspicious start when Red Schoendienst hit a home run into right field during the first at bat of the game, thereby extending his hitting streak to eleven games. With Bob Buhl pitching for the Braves, the Dodgers were able to counter in their half of the first with a double from Charlie Neal, who was later brought in to score after a Junior Gilliam line out, and a Duke Snider sacrifice fly.
The score remained deadlocked into the latter part of the contest. Both pitchers gave up their share of hits, with Frank Torre shining for Milwaukee with two doubles, none of which drove in any runs. Johnny Podres came in for Maglie in the 8th inning, and it seemed as if he had his work cut out for him. He was due to face the top of the Milwaukee order, starting with Red Schoendienst, who already had one home run that afternoon. Pictured is his 1-0 pitch to the second baseman, on which Schoendienst would ground out back to the mound. After handling Johnny Logan and Eddie Mathews on fly balls, the Dodgers were unable to score in their own half, and Podres’ job became even tougher, facing Aaron, Wes Covington, and Torre – the heart of the batting order. Though the lefty successfully induced to line outs from the first two batters, Torre fired a double to right field, his third of the game. Andy Pafko would then bring the runner home with another two-bagger to left-centerfield, making the score 2-1.
With the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth, the Bums faced a one run deficit under the late afternoon sun. Buhl remained on the mound, and subsequently walked Gino Cimoli on six pitches. With the tying run on base, the burden to put the ball in play fell on the shoulders of veteran Gil Hodges, who, along with Duke Snider, was in the middle of his last great season. On Buhl’s first delivery, the Dodger first sacker hammered the ball into the left centerfield bleachers for a home run, winning the game for the Dodgers.
The triumph was Podres’ first against Milwaukee, and unfortunately, like the majority of his teammates, his season would not bring much more to talk about. Though the Dodgers fought valiantly, they ended the season 11 games out of first place, with Milwaukee taking the pennant, and later, the World Series. Though, during this final season in Brooklyn, there were bright spots to speak of, as two young pitchers, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, began to show some promise. By the time they had fully developed into the stars the Dodgers brass had hoped would anchor the team into the 1960s and beyond, it was far too late – the Dodgers had already left Brooklyn forever.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: This is so cool: Twitter user Max Lamarche discovered a whole set of 1996 playoff tickets for the Expos, including logos for the NLDS, NLCS and World Series in French! C’est magnifique! (Merci beaucoup Moe Khan). … Also posted in the NFL section: The Raiders playing in AT&T Park next season is a “distinct possibility” according to NBC Bay Area. So we could have an NFL team representing Oakland playing in San Francisco and an NFL team representing San Francisco playing in Santa Clara (thanks, Brinke). … Rich Paloma noticed that the animated characters in the A’s holiday card are wearing kelly green jerseys but hunter green caps.
NFL News: Ravens OL Terrell Suggs has been wearing a No. 1 jersery in practice this week, sans ad and award patches. It also features the Nikelace. Ray Lewis would occasionally wear a similar jersey in practice during his career (from Bryan Duklewski). … Cross-posted from the MLB section: The Raiders playing in AT&T Park next season is a “distinct possibility” according to NBC Bay Area. So we could have an NFL team representing Oakland playing in San Francisco and an NFL team representing San Francisco playing in Santa Clara (thanks, Brinke).
College/High School Football News: The title advertiser for the Music City Bowl — Franklin American Mortgage — no longer exists, but next week’s game will still be known as the “Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl” (from Greg Isaacs). … Toledo went with a helmet logo inspired by the Bahamian flag during yesterday’s Bahamas Bowl. … Speaking of the Bahamas Bowl, one Toledo player went sans-NOB during the game (from Mark Kunz). … And speaking of flag-based helmet logos, Houston is going with an American flag-based helmet logo during today’s Armed Forces Bowl. The real cool thing about this helmet, though, is the inclusion of the logos of the US armed forces in the stripe (from Ignacio Salazar). … You could barely tell the blue-clad BYU players from the blue turf at Bronco Stadium during the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (from @brocFSU). … Georgia Tech will be going gold-navy-navy for the Quicklane Bowl.
Hockey News: The ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers are wearing these 1935 throwbacks today as part of their 90 Years of Hockey in Tulsa celebration (from Mike Iles). … These Double Dare unis for the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays are giving me the best kind of ’90s flashback. … Another ECHL promotion as the Orlando Solar Bears donned Santa Claus unis during last night’s game (from Steve Mendygral). … EHC Red Bull München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga broke out the Christmas sweaters for their game yesterday (from Alec Pappas). … Also posted in the NBA section: Nuggets G Jamal Murray leads the NBA in secondary assists (or ‘hockey assists’), so the Nuggets social media team photoshopped Murray into a hockey uni (from Zeke Perez Jr.).
NBA News: The Pacers signed an uni ad deal with Motorola last week. They are 0-2 since wearing the ad patch. This isn’t a coincidence, writes 8 Points, 9 Seconds (from Robert Barker and Phil). … Props to the Wall Street Journal for not including the ad patch in this gorgeous illustration of LeBron James (from @drsoup_MD). … ‘Tis the season for remembering when George Mikan dressed up as Santa Claus for disabled children in 1955 (many thanks to @BSmile). … Cross-posted from the hockey section: Nuggets G Jamal Murray leads the NBA in secondary assists (or ‘hockey assists’), so the Nuggets social media team photoshopped Murray into a hockey uni (from Zeke Perez Jr.).
College/High School Hoops News: For years, Wisconsin was the only major program in their conference that used Sterling balls during practice. That has changed as the Badgers now use Wilson, and the Wisconsin State Journal has the inside story (from Jason Joyce). … Eye-searing color-vs-color last night between Baylor and Oregon (from Cristian Perez, C. Alex Dye, @samuel101ts and everyone else who sent this in).
Soccer News: Borussia Dortmund’s kits didn’t feature advertiser Evonik during yesterday’s match against Borussia Mönchengladbach , instead saying “Danke Kumpel!” which is German for “Thank you friend!” The slogan is BVB’s way of showing thanks to the coal miners in the Ruhr region, as the last coal mine in Ruhr closed during the match (from Josh Hinton). … British broadcaster BT Sport is doing a YouTube series called ‘What I Wore,’ chronicling soccer players’ shirts from their youth through their playing days, and how much each means to them. Highly recommended (from Derek McCord). … Another from Josh Hinton: here’s an animation showing the kits Premier League teams will be wearing during this matchweek.
Grab Bag: A referee wouldn’t allow a high school wrestler to compete with a cover over his dreadlocks, requiring an impromptu haircut. The wrestler won the match, but the circumstances got Chance The Rapper heated (from James Gilbert). … The cycling club LottoNL-Jumbo has changed its name to Jumbo-Visma and revealed its kits for next season (thanks, Jamie). … Yesterday, Syracuse University released these pins commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie Bombing, in which 30 Syracuse students lost their lives (from @PhillyPartTwo). … Mount Holyoke College is abandoning a new logo after pushback from students (from Joel Mathwig). … McDonald’s holiday season coffee cups feature a snowman made out of the customization options (from Robert Sukovich). … Here’s an awesome thing I didn’t know existed: walking canes with maps built in (from Bryan O’Nolan).