By Phil Hecken, with “Bootheel Ben” Traxel
At Uni Watch, we’re all about uniforms. The Obsessive Study of Athletics Aesthetics. Even those of us who are more conservative in our uniform views may have a “secret” team or uniform we really like, for whatever reason. As much as I am a fan of say, Penn State and Alabama — strong on tradition, staid and resiliant to whimsical trends — I have to tip my cap to the Oregon Ducks for providing a tremendous amount of fodder for not only this fine blog, but the universe in general. Hell, college recruits are no longer enticed by the coach, the program, the academics, the social life of a school — kids today want to go to a certain school because of the uniform(s) they wear. And in the case of Oregon, that means a different combination every weekend.
I kinda like that. It’s unique. No one else does it. They basically take tradition and say, “We don’t need no stinkin’ tradition!”. Sure, it’s Nike and it’s alumnus Phil Knight and all that — most of us know that Oregon’s school colors are green and gold (right?), but how often do they even actually wear them? Or at least, both at the same time.
It wasn’t always like that of course. Not that long ago, Oregon had a “normal” uniform and didn’t mix and match at will. But somewhere over the past half-decade, Oregon has tried to wear every possible combination known under the sun. And it’s great — some of you hate it, but I started sipping the kool aid a few years ago and I’ve gradually just come to love it. But…
like all good things…Oregon needs to own it. Once you start getting a lot of teams trying to pull the “Oregon uni shuffle,” it not only doesn’t make it unique anymore — it even kind of ruins it for Oregon.
But what if there were other teams like that? What if you had one team in each BCS conference who wore a new uniform combination for each game? It’s something that was briefly talked about on the boards a while back — led chiefly by Bootheel Ben Traxel. Now, I don’t agree very often with Ben — he’s a great guy and all…dude would lie down in traffic for ya — but his idea of athletic aesthetics and mine aren’t even remotely close. Ben thought it might be a great idea if one team in each BCS conference copied the Ducks and their uniform machinations. Frankly, I think that’s a bad idea, but I wanted to let Ben have his say and to come up with some “mockups.”
He did a fantastic job. Again, I don’t agree with him, but you have to hand it to the guy — he selected probably the five teams (from conferences other than the Pac 10, where the Ducks play) with the least “tradition” uniform-wise of any team, and went to town. Here, then, is Ben to explain:
by Ben Traxel
A few weeks ago I got in a discussion with a few of the regulars around here about teams in all sports doing permanent one-offs. Every game getting a different uniform design. A couple of the more “progressive” or “avant-garde” folks were intrigued while the “undaring” and “fearful” were completely opposed. We talked about baseball having 162 options, but obviously football made the most sense. The Duck Tracker (Thanks Princip!) does a wonderful job of keeping up with Oregon, the originator of this phenomenon. And I think most of us are willing to admit that the Ducks uni variations are surprisingly attractive, well received, and have been a serious attention getter. So what generally happens in an instance such as this? Well, I hear imitation is the highest form of flattery. Well, I decided to take a look at having one school in each BCS conference do some Duck Mocking.
I figured out that the best schools for Duck Mocking are ones that have at least two distinct colors of which none are white, gray, or black. BFBS is a big part of Duck Mocking as well as GFGS, and the newly fashionable WFWS. If two colors are combined with those three it leads to five different monochrome combos, and a whopping (first to figure it out wins a date with Phil) different options available for gameday by just mixing and matching pants, jersey, and helmet. The actual uniform designs are all concepts for conversation sake. I tried to keep them somewhat reasonable and not overly detailed, but still follow the school’s general direction. Shown for each chosen school are the basic monochromes of each color, and another batch of mix/match options. No rhyme or reason for those chosen. Let’s have a look:
Big 12: I started with Kansas State but chose them before I figured out the whole color thing. They have no second color to go with Purple. The White, Gray, and Black are set and that leads to fewer possibilities. Of course as long as Bill Snyder is there no changes will be made. He’s already dusted off the unis of three years ago when he first left. Well, here is the future of the Wildcats. Monochrome and Mix & Match.
ACC: After panning the options, I chose the bright colors of Miami. Va. Tech already seems to be doing the Duck Mocking thing or they’d be a good candidate. Also, with the volatile personalities that seem to represent the Hurricane program, they seem to be a good fit for volatile uniforms. So, here’s what blew in for the ‘Canes. Monochrome and Mix & Match.
SEC: Staying in the state of Florida, the colors of the Gators worked perfectly for Mocking. The vibrant blue and orange stand out vivaciously on black and also jump out on the gray. I switched to the F on the helmet because it was easier for me, but also because I just like it better. Take a bite out of the new look Alligators. Monochrome and Mix & Match.
Big 10: There wasn’t much of an option here but Minnesota fits right in. They’ve done the WFWS thing recently and always seem to be changing their templates anyway. The colors are good and gaudy and offer lots of garish options. So the Golden Gophers made the cut. Monochrome and Mix & Match.
Big East: And lastly, we have West Virginia. People have praised their current modern style but I’ve never liked it. The color swatch stripes just seem to be arbitrarily placed, kind of like stripes going both ways. I tried to fix that on this concept, you tell me. The black and dark blue are definitely too close to put together, but what the hey. Here are the Mountaineers. Monochrome and Mix & Match.
Well, what have we learned? Definitely that there are MANY combinations that need to be removed from circulation. But is this seriously the future of the football uniform? The permanent one-off? Could be. White, Gray, and Black now appear to be trim colors available to anyone. Use as much as you want.
What do you think?
I know what I think, Ben. I think you did a wonderful job. I even liked a few of your concepts. Putting every team in black and gray/silver borders on the ridiculous (but hey, it’s your concept), but I don’t mind any team sporting the all-whites. That’s almost always a good look for any team. Great job — I disagree with your premise, of course — but a tremendous execution.
OK, dear readers — what say YOU?
Catching up with the tweaks, but they keep coming in (which is good), so lots to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
You guys have been pretty great keeping to the ~50 word limit per team tweak, and it’s greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Now, on to today’s tweaks:
Starting off the show is George1234 (George didn’t share his last name, but if you’re reading and would like to take credit, please do), and George has done a Tampa Rays tweak:
Stuck in the house on a rainy Saturday afternoon and came up with a ALT uni For the Tampa Bay Rays
Next up is Jody Beamer with some Minnesota Vikings fixes:
This time it’s the Vikings. We all agree they look stupid.
So here’s a classic-contemporary set of unis:
Moving along, we have Alec Pappas, with a Colorado Rockies remake:
The old seventies hockey team had a much more stylish logo so I re purposed it for baseball. I tried the wedding cake hat to look like the state flag after a fashion.
In today’s four-hole is Brad Kruizenga, an Illini tweaker:
As an Illini, I was disappointed in our showing a couple weeks ago (though much deserved). I revamped Illinois’ unis with a more traditional look. For the helmet, basically the 1960’s throwback with the white/blue/white line across the top. I ditched the terrible slant Illinois for a classic Block I. As for the pants, I’d mimic Washington Redskins pants with just a single stripe of each color (Blue/White on home. Orange/White on the road).
I so tried to keep it to 50 words!
Keep up the good work. Uni Watch is my favorite blog on the internets, by far.
OK everyone, thanks for sending in your submissions. Back with more next weekend.
2010 Season Uni Tracking
Now that the 2010 Season has concluded it’s time for all of you who have tracked your team through the entire season to send me your final tweaks. When I have a few spare hours, I plan on compiling them and adding them to the Uni Watch Archives, to be a part of the permanent record.
So, if you’ve been doing your due diligence with your team, send me your end-of-season tracking reports, and I’ll post them as a “sub article” on the weekends. OK? OK! And I promise they’ll make it into the UW archives before the year is out. Please feel free to accompany your tracking with a write up, especially if your team had any interesting trends or patterns.
Today, we have Eric Smallman, who tracked the Mariners this season:
Thanks Eric. Anyone else out there tracking? If you have, please send them in.
Tracking The Playoffs
Last weekend, Alex Rocklein showed off a really neat playoff tracker, in which he tracked playoff teams wins & losses, not only by their wins and losses, but also by uniform!
Since then, the NLCS and ALCS concluded this week, with last year’s World Series combatants both falling to relative playoff newbies — The Phillies fell in six games to the Giants, and the Yankees went down in six against the Rangers. Because the National League finally won the All-Star Game earlier this summer, for the first time since 2001, the National League rep, the Giants, will have the “home field.”
Congrats to the Giants and Rangers.
5 & 1
And now, the part of the post you’ve all been waiting for: The 5 & 1. After yesterday’s main article explaining what goes through the Mothervilker’s head, at least now we know why he picks what he picks — even if we’re still left scratching our heads when he’s done. Here’s what’s on tap for today:
5. Syracuse/West Virginia — Yesterday’s color palette special.
4. Duke/Va. Tech — Shoulder-stripe-apalooza!
3. Wisconsin/Iowa — All-whites look much better on an overcast day, eh?
2. Iowa State/Texas — A good showing for the Corn Belt this week.
1. LSU/Auburn — Picking this game was as easy as saying, “The Tigers are going to win” yesterday morning.
And my worst pick: Air Force/TCU — Lots of bad ones this week, but the Frogs’ BFBS look made for too much contrast.
Interesting. Very interesting. Thanks Jim. I guess I’ll keep you around another week.
That concludes today’s offerings. Everyone have a great Sunday.
If it’s wrong to wear a picture of Juan Williams rationalizing some nonesense on my Sarasota Clowns dodgeball jersey then I don’t want to be right. — Nangodi Phobian