By Phil Hecken and the SMUW Crew
Greetings and good Saturday Morning all. Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 — so it’s a somber day here at Uni Watch (my cousin’s husband and several neighbors I knew well were among the victims that day) — and I want to pass along my thoughts and prayers to everyone, especially those who may have lost friends/family that day. My condolences to you and yours, and may this day be one of solace and solemn remembrance. I hope everyone is OK today, and my thoughts are with you.
Now then, the College Football season started in earnest last weekend (although a few teams played earlier — “Week 0” as they call it), so today, I’m reintroducing you to the SMUW crew, who are going to catch us up on all the NCAAFB happenings. They’ll be back tomorrow as well, as we kick off our 10th Anniversary (!) of Sunday Morning Uni Watch — more on that below — where we bring you the most complete uniform happenings and uniform tracking on the Interwebs!
Also, last evening the St. Louis Blues unveiled their Winter Classic uniform — much more on that will follow the SMUW segment.
All the SMUW crew (Terry Duroncelet, Jr., Rex Henry, Dennis Bolt, Ethan Dimitroff and Kyle Acker) are returning this year, and as you’re probably all aware, the one and only Jim Vilk has returned (after a decade on hiatus) to resume his spot manning the “5 & 1.”
Normally, I will highlight one game, and then hand it over to TJ, but today, because we have so much to get to, I’m just going to stop talking right here. You know the drill. Now, here’s TJ with your…
Sunday Saturday Morning Uni Watch
by Terry Duroncelet, Jr.
Hello! It’s been a while, and there are a lot of things I want to talk about. First, I’m super-happy to be on for another season of college football, but this season is pretty special, as this season is the 10th Anniversary of the very first SMUW post (gotta scroll down a bit, and there’s a whole lotta link rot, but oh well). It started out as me just being super-hyper for the 2011 season, and posting my findings in the comments of that Saturday’s post. Later that day, Phil emailed me, and at first, I thought I was spamming, and went “oh hell, did I do a dumb?”, but it was actually an offer to give a quick write-up of everything that I found. It was originally gonna be a one-time thing, but it was surprisingly popular, and so we just ran with it, and the fact that we’re here, 10 years later, I have nothing to say but… thank you guys. It’s all of you that come back to read every Sunday that’s made this all possible, and also Phil for granting me this opportunity so many years ago. Again and again, I can’t thank you guys enough.
Some of you know that I live in Southeast Louisiana, about a half-hour from New Orleans, and needless to say, Hurricane Ida was rough. I’m fortunate that my house sustained no damage, but I did lose power for two days, and was about to book it to my uncle’s house in Baton Rouge, because my home was SO HOT, but by the time 80% of my bag was packed, my power came back on. I’m safe, my family is safe, and the town that I live in is in decent shape. That said, much of Southeast Louisiana is in rough shape, and it’ll be a bit before some semblance of normalcy is restored, but I have full-confidence that the area will be back on its feet soon.
Lastly, if you want to get a hold of me through Twitter for any ledes (or anything, really), heads-up: after, what, a decade of going by ‘SimplyMoono’, I’ve changed my username! I now use the handle ‘Lunedyne‘ (pronounced like ‘Unidyne‘), so I didn’t delete my Twitter, I just changed names. In addition, I came out as Nonbinary during the summer! My pronouns are They/Them, so please use those instead of He/Him. I think that should cover everything, so without further ado…
Saturday, August 28th:
• A small tweak to Illinois’s helmet, but one that I need to highlight: with them adding the bit of white to the stripe (which in an of itself is new), and going with a white facemask, but having no other white in the rest of the uniform, it creates a bit of an imbalance to my eyes. For me, nothing beats the first version of these uniforms with their rebrand from a few years back, but at least the previous helmets maintained consistency with the rest of the unis. They still looked nice enough (and the game itself, at that), but it’s an interesting –if not perplexing– choice.
• Listen: I’ve been fortunate enough to scream into the void with Phil and Paul’s blessings on here for the last 10 years. I’ve been
screaming longing for UCLA to switch from Adidas to Nike (or someone who gives a hay-iota of a damn about a decent shoulder stripe) for the last decade (if you know, you know). They eventually found solace in Under Armour by the time 2017 rolled by, and for a period of time, Pasadena’s personal little uni-verse had known peace. Annnnnnnd then last year happened. But more to the point: in the wake of… well, everything, UCLA has found (if only temporary) new solace in –of all companies– NIKE… and Jordan Brand. In the 10 years that I’ve been doing this, I never thought I would see the day, and I must say: they look fantastic. Admittedly, the transition isn’t as apparent vs if they had gone full-swoosh from the get-go, and there is one obvious problem that I’ll address in their September 4th game against LSU, but for now, the Bruins are looking good. Additionally, I found it interesting that with their opponent being Hawai’i (who themselves switched to Adidas over the summer, and they don’t look half-bad in all-white), both schools were with Reebok many years ago, Hawai’i would eventually move to Nike, and UCLA to the stripes, both would eventually find their way to UA, and are now with their opponent’s former pre-UA outfitters. They basically went in opposite directions in their respective post-Reebok eras, is what I’m trying to say. And the game itself? Well, you know the drill at this point: Contrast Matters, Pacific Love Edition.
• You ever look at a game that makes you go “Ayo???” in the most unexpected –but not unpleasantly so– way possible? Yeah, that’s what UTEP vs New Mexico State did to me (side-view of the helmet). Good look.
Thursday, September 2nd:
• There are captaincy patches, and then there are CAPTAINCY PATCHES.
Friday, September 3rd:
• This was infaticly a looker. In the current college football uni environment, it’s hard to make a white-heavy uniform NOT look like those mega-gentrified Live Laugh Love signs you see in damn-near every house these days, but Michigan State is one of the few teams that can make white look EXCITING. And of course, the helmets were a joy.
Saturday, September 4th:
• In today’s college football uni landscape, I still don’t understand why color-vs-color isn’t explored more often. If the two teams contrast well enough from each other, why not? Of course, I can’t neglect to mention the class move by the Sooners, who painted Tulane’s logo on the field in Norman (the game was supposed to be in New Orleans, but then Hurricane Ida forced a change in plans).
• Do I even have to say anything? *chef’s kiss* Also, I just want to point out that Fresno State is one of the better-dressed Adidas teams in college football right now. As someone who’s been… hard on the company for their Laffy Taffy togs from year’s past, it’s nice to see them make some effort to make the uniforms blouse better over the athletes (not the same game, but hopefully it highlights my point).
• Man, it seems like everyone was bringing their
Sunday Saturday best! This is coming from someone who has been critical about San José State’s reduced use of gold in their uniforms over the last few years. In this context however, it works.
• Retro unis on tap for Maryland.
• City flag decals for Tulsa.
• Class move by South Alabama.
• Talk about being shoulder-to-shoulder. This was a stellar-looking game, but like I mentioned earlier, there is one glaring issue with UCLA’s new Jordan togs that need to be pointed out: the way that the stripes truncate to a flat shank at the ends, AND without much length, at that. Given Nike’s fairly-recent history with shoulder stripes, and the Bruins’ past success with Under Armour’s approach to shoulder stripes (reflected in the current Navy jerseys), I don’t see why Nike can’t do this. And considering that their opponent LSU was actually able to pull this off only a few years ago, but have since gone back to short, flat truncations themselves, I just can’t find any excuse that the head honchos in Beaverton can feed me as to why they can’t do it. Yes, the lack of that paramount curve was also apparent on the old UA unis, but at least they had the length, and the Jordan unis don’t even have that. That’s my only complaint with the new UCLA unis, but other than that, there’s nary anything to complain about in this matchup. (although the ‘2’ on Junior RB Zach Charbonnet’s jersey looks like it’s about to achieve sentience).
• I’m digging the changes that San Diego State has made to the helmet to make the detailing stand out more.
• I never realized how much I needed full-royal BYU in my life. One thing that tripped me up when I was watching the game was the seemingly-endless number of captains and co-captains that the Cougars seemed to have. As it turns out, this is part of BYU’s Leadership Council, and that link lists all of the captains and alternates on the team.
Monday, September 6th:
• And let’s close out Week 1 (with a bit of Week 0 thrown in for good measure) with another sweet-looking color-vs-color game. Even though Louisville could stand for some improvements here-and-there, they’ve definitely grown into this look as the years have gone on.
And THAT’LL do it for Weeks 0 and 1 of the 2021 season! I can’t neglect to give a huge thanks to Blaise D’Sylva for all of the helmet tips mentioned here, as well as stuff that I undoubtedly missed. This is shaping up to be a good season, and all that’s left to say is I’ll see you next we– *ahem* tomorrow, tha– that’s what I meant to say. See you tomorrow!
Thanks, TJ! Great start to the 2021 SMUW season. Of course, we’ll be back with more tomorrow so everyone stay tuned. And now, on to the rest of your SMUW …
Jimmer Vilk’s 5 & 1
After more than a decade on hiatus, the original “5 & 1” decider, Jim Vilk, has returned! Jim began doing the 5 & 1 many years ago, followed Catherine Ryan, Joe Ringham, Michael “Memal” Malinowski, and several guest pickers. Once again, Jim will pick HIS 5 best looking/1 awful matchup, and occasionally have some honorable mentions (both good and bad). 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 @JVfromOhio.
Here’s today’s 5 & 1:
Boy, the first full week turned out to be a tough one for me. So many good choices!
Honorable Mentions to:
I thought I’d rank this much higher until I saw Tulane’s jerseys get washed out in the sunlight.
Mono *can* be fun, with a highly visible uni like BYU’s.
The game was an upset but the matchup was definitely not upsetting.
4. Fresno State/Oregon
At least Diamondplate the Sequel is more subdued and doesn’t detract from this Color Palette Special.
An Adidas vs Nike matchup where I have zero complaints!
Classic unis, classic setting…this was like an early season bowl game.
1. Maryland/West Virginia
As usual, I am in complete lockstep with Phil when I say, “Make these your permanent unis, Terps!”
&1: USF/NC State
The Bulls’ stealth helmets and the Wolfpack’s stealth jerseys made for the most unwatchable game this week.
See you next week. Well, tomorrow. Which is next week.
Thanks, Jim! OK readers? What say you? Agree or disagree with Jimmer’s selections? Let him know in the comments below.
NCAA Uni Tracking
Uni Watch will again track the uniform combinations worn by the “Power 5” conferences. All of the 2020 trackers are back!
We’ve got Rex Henry (tracking the ACC), Dennis Bolt (tracking the PAC-12), Kyle Acker (tracking the B1G), and Ethan Dimitroff (tracking the Big XII AND the SEC). Rex, Dennis, and Kyle and are all returning from 2015, and Ethan is back after joining the NCAA Uni Tracking a couple seasons ago. Ethan will continue to track the SEC, and has swapped the B1G for Big XII (with Kyle).
Here are the Uni Trackers for the Power 5 Conferences (along with each tracker’s info):
Rex is up first today (ACC):
And now, here’s Dennis with the PAC-12:
And here is Ethan, with the SEC:
And here is Kyle with the B1G:
Follow Kyle on Twitter here.
And here’s Ethan with the Big XII:
Welcome to the 2021 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 week’s Uniform Combo for the Ducks (you can click to enlarge):
St. Louis Blues Unveil Winter Classic Uni
As expected, the St. Louis Blues unveiled their Winter Classic uniform — which will be worn this coming New Years Day, when they take on the Minnesota Wild in Target Field. The Wild unveiled their Winter Classic uniforms last weekend.
you’re really old these look familiar to you, it’s because the team has chosen to throwback to their inaugural season of 1967. Coincidentally, the first game the team played was against a team from Minnesota. The North Stars of course moved to Dallas many years ago, so the game between the Wild and Blues won’t be a rematch of the Blues’ first game, but their opponent will hail from the same state.
The team debuted the uniforms at the Cardinals game, but (fortunately) added photos and of course a hype video. Let’s take some more looks, first at the back of the uni:
Here’s another look at the front, showing the shoulders and arms. Note the “Winter Classic” patch on the right shoulder:
And here’s a side view:
And another look at the jersey — this pic was from the unveiling at the Cardinals game:
As I mentioned this uniform is based on the original 1967 white uniform the team wore. If you’re interested in reading more about the history of this and several photos of the 1967 uniform, out pal Chris Creamer has done a bang up job there.
Oh the hype video? Sure. Here ya go:
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) September 11, 2021
It kind of annoys me that the uniform is really only basically shown for about 5 seconds out of that 1:00 video. But I know some of you enjoy hype videos, so I wanted to include it.
Anyway, I love these (and I also loved the Wild’s uniform). This should be one nice looking matchup. What do you folks think?
Click to enlarge
And now a few words from Paul: Hello! In case you missed it earlier this week, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s September Pin is finally available for ordering. As you can see above, it’s a football bobblehead design. And it really bobbles! Dig:
This pin was produced in a numbered edition of 300; as of this morning, about 175 were remaining. It’s available here.
Also: You can save 10% on this pin (and everything else I sell on Teespring) by using the checkout code FABMERCH10. That code is good through the end of Sunday.
Meanwhile: In case you missed it yesterday, my latest article on Bulletin is an interview with a guy named Greg Harvey, who specializes in creating animated timelines like this one:
In honor of the College Football season starting this month, I have created an interactive timeline that details All-Time AP Poll Appearances ranked by CFB programs.
— Greg Harvey (@BetweenTheNums) August 1, 2021
These timelines are called bar chart races, and I find them irresistible, so I interviewed Harvey for my latest Bulletin piece. You can check it out here.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: Giants IF Brandon Belt fashioned a captain’s C on his uniform out of black electrical tape. Which I guess technically makes him the first major leaguer since Jason Varitek to wear a captain’s C in a game. Here’s an article from NBC Sports Bay Area on Belt’s reasoning and his teammates’ reactions (from many, many readers). … The Mets plan to alter their home uniforms to say “New York” tonight instead of “Mets,” with the colors to match the 2001 home uniform. It’s possible they will look like this (thanks, Phil). … The Braves have revealed their Hispanic Heritage Night jerseys. … In Friday night’s Red Sox-White Sox game we had the rare (or is it a first?) Zero vs Zero showdown. Adam Ottavino struck out Billy Hamilton (from Brian Stieglitz).
NFL News: The Browns are going with orange pants at Arrowhead tomorrow (from Russell G. Flynn). … The Saints are going white at home with gold pants against the Packers (thanks, Phil). … The Iggles are wearing their green jerseys in Atlanta, which means the Falcons are going white at home (from Eric Nits). … ESPN has an article on the 10 most popular uniform numbers in the NFL currently (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … Our own Jamie Rathjen‘s dad has a sports-fact-a-day desk calendar. For Thursday’s fact, it calls the Broncos’ infamous first uniforms “arguably the worst in professional sports history”. … With the evolution of materials used, the Bucs pants are basically grey or graphite now. … The Pats’ Pro Shop is selling Tom Brady jerseys in their current design. You can tell these aren’t Color Rush leftovers by the number and NOB font (from Dan Zapulla).
College/High School Football News: Boston College will wear “red bandana” uniforms today, honoring BC alum Welles Crowther, a volunteer firefighter who saved over a dozen people in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and those whom he saved knew him only as “the man in the red bandana”. He would be killed in the collapse of the South Tower (from multiple readers). … The Charlotte News & Observer has a good article about why Coloardo State’s ram head logo doesn’t infringe on UNC’s copyright (from Jerry Pemberton). … Here are this weekend’s uni combos for Louisville, Syracuse, Kentucky, maybe Michigan, Texas A&M, Houston, UNLV, and Tulane. … Lamar will have stars-and-stripes helmet logos (from Chris Mycoskie). … Western Carolina will have 9/11 memorial decal (from Sam McKinley). … South Alabama went above and beyond with their 9/11 memorial helmet (from multiple readers). … Arizona State cut the World Trade Center into the grass at the 50 yard line as their 9/11 memorial (thanks, Phil). … Also from Phil, the NCAA has a rundown of how teams are honoring the 20th anniversary of the attack.
Soccer News: Orlando City and Atlanta United added a 9/11 memorial patch in addition to the MLS’s yellow ribbon patch, which makes me think that every team will have both (from multiple readers).
Grab Bag: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White revealed the total numbers of each of their six major pro sports license designs, and the White Sox come out on top (almost 8,000 ahead of the Cubs!) while the Bulls finished last, behind the Cardinals, who aren’t even in Illinois! (from Griffin T. Smith).
And finally… that’s going to do it for today. Sorry for the size of the post but if you made it this far, you’re a true Uni Watcher (the post was so large I’m skipping the usual GTGFTS and the Uni Tweet of the Day) and any other day, that Brandon Belt electrical tape “C” would possibly lede or sublede! Big thanks to the SMUW Crew, as always, for their outstanding efforts. Please everyone welcome them back. They’ll see you again tomorrow too!
Got a pretty nice sunset last night:
I hope everyone takes a few moments today to reflect upon the events of two decades ago — I’m sure any of us old enough to remember that day will remember how much the world changed in the course of a few hours. Let’s not forget the solemnity of today and the events of 20 years ago.