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Look Good…Play Good

By Phil Hecken

Four of the Power 5 conferences meet today in their respective championship games (Oregon and Utah played last night, in what should be Sunday’s &1) and all four games are almost guaranteed to be great looking (uni-wise) games. I’m not saying this will be the greatest looking Conference Championship Saturday ever, but based on what the eight squads playing today are (supposed to be) wearing, we should have four of the best looking games of the season. The games themselves may not be as great as the unis, but at least we’ll have some nice eye candy today and tonight.

I frequently pick Bowl Games based on unis — but those are based on a team’s overall look (and I’m probably going to change that up this year, so stay tuned) — but that’s because we don’t often know ahead of time how the teams will be dressing. But in this day and age, when some teams (*coughOregoncough*) can wear a different outfit every game, at least we know what the squads will be busting out today (that’s because they’ve all revealed during the past week). And, really, with the possible exception of Baylor (only because they have many potential combos), they’re all wearing their “Sunday Saturday Best,” which is how it should be.

Below are the four Power Five conference championship matchups for today (along with time, location, channel and point spread). BCS rankings are in parentheses. All times EST. I’ll pick my four winners (against the spread) based on what I feel is the superior uniform (obviously, I’m biased, but with matchups this good, it’s tough). Let’s start in time order:

• • • • •

Oklahoma Sooners (#6) vs. Baylor Bears (#7)
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
12pm / ABC
Oklahoma is a 9.5 point favorite

Like all games today, this one will be good looking, with Baylor going green/white/green and the Sooners in their classic crimson hats & shirts. It will certainly be a better looking game than when the two teams met previously this year, when Baylor went mono green and the Sooners sported their Bring the Wood alternates. Baylor actually led that game by 25 points, at home, and lost. I expect them to lose this game as well, but 9.5 is a lot of points. As much as I don’t want to hear “Boomer Sooner” incessantly, their unis…and offense led by Jalen Hurts…are that much better. With Oregon trounching Utah last night, this game is probably for the final playoff birth (assuming a short-handed Georgia loses to LSU). Both teams are 11-1 heading into this matchup. A 12-1 Power 5 team is almost a lock for the final spot. The winner of this will be watching the SEC Championship game with great interest. Both teams will be HUGE LSU fans, for one game only.

The Pick: Oklahoma

• • • • •

LSU Tigers (#2) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (#4)
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta, GA
4pm / CBS
LSU is a 4 point favorite

Another beauty (I’ll probably say that a lot). This is one of those rare games where both teams are wearing their home unis, but that’s only because LSU almost always wears white at home. And both uniforms are spectacular. Gold/white/gold for LSU vs. Red helmets/red jerseys/silver britches for the Dawgs. Unlike Baylor/OU, these two teams did not meet earlier this year. But even if they did, the game would have looked like it will today. There’s a TON at stake here today too (not just the SEC Championship) — a win by the Dawgs and they’re sure to be in the playoff (and almost assuredly out if it if they lose). Both unis are great, but LSU looks really great (at least 4 points better); it’s practically a home game for Georgia though. It’s a tough call, but I can’t see LSU losing their first game (they’re 12-0) here. 11-1 Georgia will keep it close, but not close enough.

The Pick: LSU

• • • • •

Clemson Tigers (3) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (23)
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, NC
7:30pm / ABC
Clemson is a 24.5 point favorite

Your defending National Champions Clemson are feeling disrespected. They’re undefeated (12-0) and ranked only #3. Sure, they had some games where they weren’t absolutely dominant, but is there an SEC/B1G bias? We’ll find out in the playoffs. The Tigers will be dressed in mono-orange (a look I don’t normally like, but Clemson can pull it off) — in the Dabo Sweeney era, the team doesn’t break out the orange britches until the team is playing for a championship, and they didn’t lock up the ACC Atlantic until there were two weeks remaining on the schedule — so the team didn’t get to wear the orange pants with the orange jerseys all season. No matter, we’ll get that orange blossom special today. Virginia (9-3 overall, 6-2 in conference) is kinda just happy to be here, although they are coming into this game with a four game win streak. 24.5 points is a LOT to spot a team, but I have a feeling Clemson is on a mission to prove they’re better than their number 3 ranking. And unfortunately for Virginia, they will. A mono white vs. mono orange may not be your cuppa, but I’m loving it.

The Pick: Clemson

• • • • •

Ohio State Buckeyes (#1) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (#8)
Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, IN
8pm / FOX
OSU is an 18 point favorite

Like the Baylor/OU game, this one is also a rematch — and the Buckeyes (12-0) wore red jerseys while the Badgers (10-2, 7-2 in the B1G) were in mono-white (the game was played in the Shoe). It was a beautiful looking game (as will be today’s game), but it was a ugly result for Sconnie, dropping the game 38-7 (and it wasn’t that close). Will they keep it that close on a neutral field, getting 18 points? If THE were wearing red, I’d say no, but Sconnie has the ever-so-slight uni edge here, so I’ll take the Badgers, and hope they keep it close.

The Pick: Wisconsin

• • • • •

And there you have it. Should be four terrific looking games. I can’t promise they’ll be close games, although the first two have some pretty evenly matched teams.

For the rest of your Championship Games, here ya go:

MAC Championship Game: Miami (Ohio) vs. Central Michigan; Ford Field; Detroit, MI; 12pm / ESPN2

Sun Belt Championship Game; Louisiana at (21) Appalachian State; Kidd Brewer Stadium; Boone, NC; 12pm / ESPN

Conference USA Championship Game; UAB at Florida Atlantic; FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, FL; 1:30pm / CBSSN

American Championship Game; (20) Cincinnati at (17) Memphis; Liberty Bowl; Memphis, TN; 3:30pm / ABC

Mountain West Championship Game; Hawaii at (19) Boise State; Albertsons Stadium; Boise, ID; 4pm / ESPN

SWAC Championship Game; Southern at Alcorn State; Jack Spinks Stadium; Lorman, MS; 4pm / ESPNU

Enjoy. Next Saturday we’ll have the Army/Navy game, and the unis (which I will review in depth) may be the best they’ve ever been. So be sure to check back for that!

Kreindler’s Korner

I had the distinct pleasure of featuring the wonderful artwork of artist Graig Kriendler on two occasions over the summer and fall of 2017, and more recently, in August of 2018.

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: “Frank Grant, 1902” (color study)
Subject: Frank Grant, 1902
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”

Considered one of the best African American ballplayers of the 19th century, Ulysses Frank Grant was known to have great range, a strong arm, stellar speed and great power and accuracy with the bat. When speaking of the second baseman, Sol White was quoted as saying:

“In those days, (Frank Grant) was the baseball marvel. His playing was a revelation to his fellow teammates, as well as the spectators. In hitting he ranked with the best and his fielding bordered on the impossible. Grant was a born ballplayer.”

Starting his professional baseball life in the mid 1880s, Grant found himself on the Buffalo Bisons of the International League in 1886 after his former team disbanded. The next year he led the league in homers (11), batted .354 and stole 40 bases, and drove his club to a second place finish. In the process, he earned the nickname “The Black Dunlap” (after Fred Dunlap, the best at the second base position in the bigs).

In 1888, the success of black players like Grant, George Stovey, Bob Higgins and Fleetwood Walker in the league was paramount. However, public backlash from white fans and players alike pressured teams to abstain from signing any new black players. Still allowed to play, Frank continued to play well, hitting .346.

However, by 1889, the league banished African American players altogether. As a result, Grant, as John Thorn put it, “began his long journey into segregated ball, and ultimately, invisibility.”

Here’s Frank with the Philadelphia Giants in 1902, in the twilight of his career. This is one of 200+ paintings of mine that will be on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.

• • •

Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.

Uni Concepts & Tweaks

After being dormant for a while, the Uni Tweaks/Concepts have returned!

I hope you guys like this feature and will want to continue to submit your concepts and tweaks to me. If you do, Shoot me an E-mail (Phil (dot) Hecken (at) gmail (dot) com).

• • •

I received an e-mail from reader Johnny Woods who has a another concept for a new Seattle Hockey Team.

The logo is a twisting salmon whose dorsal fin and tail form a stencil S, and the open mouth is Puget Sound.

Ice blue and white uniforms make the red salmon pop. The red number outlined in black on light blue remind me of old Twins-Cardinals powder blues.

The black (city?) jerseys were meant to be red fish only on black (similar to shoulders) but when I copied the striping onto the black I got a neon vibe from it. Numbers are serif-free to make them more legible.

The striped (icon?) jerseys are a tribute to the Metropolitans.

• • •

Thanks Johnny. OK readers (and concepters). If you have some tweaks or concepts, shoot ’em my way with a brief description of your creation and I’ll run ’em here.

Guess The Game…

from the scoreboard

The game has returned!

Today’s scoreboard comes from reader Jack Straw.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

The location of the game should be easy, as this is such an iconic scoreboard, but is it enough? And is the big name in lights any kind of clue?

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

If you guys like this, please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.

The Ticker
By Anthony Matthew Emerson

Baseball News: With the Rangers putting their nickname on their home jerseys, the Marlins are now the only team that carries a location wordmark on their home uniforms. … Also posted in the hockey section: The AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals are wearing their own 50th anniversary patch, but replaced their usual Brewers’ logo patch with the Brewers’ 50th anniversary patch, so the team is wearing two different 50th anniversary patches (from Andrew Wagner). … Jeff Flynn found this “Pity Me, I’m a Mets Fan” pennant while out and about.

NFL News: The Texans are going with their red jerseys and white pants tomorrow against the Broncos (from Ignacio Salazar). … The Eagles will wear their black unis on Monday night (thanks, Phil).

College/High School Football News: Purdue’s football stadium isn’t getting a corporate name, but it is getting a large donor name (from @Jffdmrly). … The Cure Bowl has a new corporate sponsor. … Oregon’s Justin Herbert is depicted in a 2018 uniform template on the signage outside Levi’s Stadium ahead of the Pac-12 Championship (from Derek Buchheit). … The Texas High School Class 5A Regional Championship featured a pretty color-vs-color. That’s Lone Star High in navy and Lancaster High in orange (from Chris Mycoskie).

Hockey News: Brian Erni writes in: “Was listening to the subscriber-only version of The Athletic‘s Isles podcast, ‘No Sleep Til Belmont’ and former Islander Mark Parrish told his co-host Art Staple that the orange third jersey the team wore starting in 2002-03 actually had orange socks to go with it, but the players stood up and said no to them: ‘They actually had orange socks to go with them, and we as players gassed it. We stood up and said, ‘No, they can’t do that.’ Because it was too much. It was too much visually to focus on the puck.'” … @talisker66 sends along this video going over the history of the Penguins players who’ve worn number 12. … Here are some excerpts of an oral history of the first Boston College women’s team — their sweaters were hand-me-downs from the men, both varsity and freshman (from @SnooksKelley).

College/High School Hoops News: Louisville men went GFGS yesterday (from M. Brinston Berry). … Temple men have new throwbacks (from @UntillTheNight). … URI men wore blue and Providence men wore black in the Battle of the Ocean State. … Duke and Virginia Tech went color-vs-color as well (from Andrew Cosentino). … Boston College women have added a patch in honor of former head coach Cathy Inglese (from @Starkman55). … Here’s a good article about the ramifications of Michigan high schools adopting a smaller ball for girls’ basketball (from Burrill Strong).

Soccer News: Real Madrid are wearing green at home today in support of the United Nations COP25 climate summit (from Jacob Alstadt). … Southampton will wear last season’s third kit at Newcastle today. The link also has a few details on other recent Southampton kit mishaps (thanks, Jamie). … Chattanooga FC have switched their kit provider to Hummel (from Ed Żelaski).

Grab Bag: Pirelli is working on new tires (NYT link) for Formula One that will be five inches bigger than the current tires (thanks, Paul).

Comments (35)

    “With the Rangers putting their nickname on their home jerseys”

    – “Rangers” is the name of their team, not their nickname.

    And Go Bucks, beat Wisky.

    I think it’s safe to assume that the authors of this site are cognizant of the point I think you’re making – that “Rangers” obviously has official status as the second part of the name of the baseball team based in Arlington. But the term “nickname” has been considered appropriate to use to describe that part of American pro sports teams’ full names, for decades. It’s somewhat of a linguistic relic now, but it goes back to the days when it was more common to regard a team’s city as the official way to describe them and the plural word associated with it truly was a nickname and often not sanctioned by the team at all, but rather created by fans and/or the press.

    “Nickname” has become a term of art to describe a team’s name. American sports team names all started as nicknames; that’s why we have Cardinals and Tigers instead of just St. Louis Baseball Club or Detroit American League Club or what-have-you. While it’s true that more recent franchises like the Rangers chose their names officially, the naming of American sports teams still follows the old pattern established by nicknaming. Whereas many leagues and teams don’t follow this American pattern but do still have popular, even sometimes officially embraced, nicknames, like Gunners or Magpies or Super Eagles or whatever. So in the context of discussing team names, “nickname” functions as a useful term for the whole class of names-by-which-teams-are-known.

    And this is also why most teams in the MLS don’t have nicknames. Shame, because some teams would really need one (looking at all the “City Name FC”s in the league).

    During the brief period when the Cubs used Helvetica as their scoreboard font.

    I’ve never seen any discussion of scoreboard number fonts, but I’ve paid attention to what they’ve used at Wrigley Field.

    Before that they had a Futura-like font which also looked really good. They’ve always taken the serifs off the number 1 — like on the 1930s and ’40s jersey numbers — and it still looks natural with those fonts.

    But for the last decade or so they’ve been using what I think is Franklin Gothic, and it looks terrible. The 1 looks terrible, and really the whole font does. It’s slightly smaller, and the strokes aren’t a uniform thickness, which is fine when reading paragraphs of text, but not when you want to read a scoreboard from the upper deck.

    I really hope they go back to Futura or Helvetica at some point.

    Holy crap! I was at this game!. I was trying to figure out how the Cubs were playing an afternoon game that hadn’t started, with so many games in progress but too many night games for a Sunday. The holiday makes it make sense.
    If I remember, the Phils drilled Willie with a pitch the inning before he lost the no hitter.

    Me too – it takes a color combination I would not normally like at all and makes it work nicely for me. Well done! The only “critical” feedback I’d offer is that the fish logo is so strong and clearly state-of-Washington shaped that it works better for me without the state outline around it. It’s redundant, and the state outline detracts from the fish logo for me. The fish logo is just that good!

    Nice logo! Agree that the state outline is redundant but why is the bottom jaw so huge?

    For what it’s worth…let’s not use NBA type terms to describe any hockey team’s jersey (ie: black (city?) jersey, striped (icon?) jersey). Thank You

    According to the tweet about the Marlins, only their road jerseys say Miami. Am I missing something?

    Their home whites say “MIAMI” as well. Only their ubiquitous black alternates link (though that’s basically illegible). But they wear those at home often, so I can see the confusion. However, their ‘official’ home uni (jersey) says “MIAMI”.

    Then that photo in that tweet has it wrong. It clearly shows Marlins as a pinstriped home jersey. Perhaps it needs updating? Then again, we haven’t seen the new Nike-fied unis yet so this could probably change.

    That’s not a photo in the tweet; it’s a design concept for what they think the Marlins should switch to. Not an actual uniform.

    Brett beat me to it, but yeah — that’s not what the Marlins are wearing (at least not as of 2019). It’s wishful thinking (and a concept/mockup). The tweet’s author should have explained that what they posted is what the Fish should look like, rather than implying it. But he’s basically imploring Miami to wear the concepts pictured.

    Puzzling that the person tweeting the factoid shows an illustration with only the road jersey sporting “Miami.”

    The tweet assumes that the reader knows what the Marlins uniforms look like. Which seems like it ought to be a fair assumption for either Marlins fans or uni watchers.

    Personally, I had to do a bit of a double-take. Not so much with regard to the Marlins home script, but in terms of, “Wait, the Marlins uniforms don’t look anywhere near that good, do they?” A quick Creamer database search and no, the Marlins don’t look anywhere near that good.

    Big Cubs fan here. Scoreboard: May 30th, 1994. Cubs beat Phillies 3-0.

    This was tough but I finally nailed it down by realizing that the Marlins were founded in 93 and then filtered by jersey number since both starting pitchers were #35. I tried to figure out why the scoreboard had Brickhouse on it but I couldn’t quite nail it. However I did find that Wrigley celebrated its 80th anniversary that year and had a game (not this one) where all the old announcers came back and Jack was able to say his famous “hey hey!”. I’ll post the vid I found on YouTube of that day. This was fun thanks!


    Um. It was played last night. The Mighty Ducks of Oregon trounced the Utah Utes. Pretty sure this was mentioned/alluded to in the intro…

    I always thought that New York Islanders uniform looked strange and incomplete with the orange third jersey worn with regular navy socks. Now we know why.

    It was not a great uniform, but would still have looked better with orange socks. A pretty lame excuse given why they would not wear orange socks, especially from pros. Wearing orange socks has not been a problem for a lot of teams, like the Flyers for over half a century.

    “…the Marlins are now the only team that carries a location wordmark on their home uniforms.”
    Forget about Oakland’s Kelly green jersey worn only at home?

    The Cardinals also wear a script St. Louis cream alternate for Saturday home games if we’re counting alternates.

    Field aesthetics question: Anyone watch the MAC title game?

    It’s at Ford Field, which is not a regular CFB field, and they’re using hashmarks which are lined up with the uprights. I saw a FG attempt spotted at that inside hash.

    Isn’t that wrong? I’m looking at the other games and all of them seem to be “wide”.

    Where did the previous play end? If it ended between the hashes, it’s placed at that spot, so maybe it just happened to be on the inside ‘pro’ hash

    Good question. I don’t know.

    I am watching the SEC title game and there are only two sets of hashmarks, the wide ones.

    Here is Ford Field today, and the wider hashmarks look like someone tried to paint (sic) over them.


    Update: Someone said that the field hosted a HS championship game quite recently and the lines I saw today were basically repainted wrong.

    Watching the Mountain West title game, and you know those huge signs college teams hold up to relay plays? Hawa’i has advertising on the back of them. Is this a normal thing?

    How about Weber State vs. Kennesaw State for a 5&1 suggestion? A little FCS love. And Paul’s favorite color.

Comments are closed.