By Phil Hecken
How much better would this season have been if tonight we’d be treated to a “plus one” game between undefeated Auburn and undefeated TCU? Would that answer the question as to “who is number one” and would we really, I mean really want to? As one who has vascillated between a full-fledged playoff and a return to the “old” bowl system, I can’t say I really do want to know. I think Auburn and Oregon pretty much settled it on the field, and I have to say, it was a pretty great “regular” season and a good bowl season. Would playoffs have made it better? Would a two or three loss team (I’m looking at you Crimson Tide) have caught lightning in a bottle and made a run to the title? Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa, but what if they’d played in Glendale?
I don’t want to discuss a playoff system or anything like that, but one thing I was thinking about was when a playoff was mentioned, someone pointed to a “thrilling” first round matchup of #1 Auburn vs #16 Middle Tennessee (or something similar). And that matchup was met with derision, as it should. But it wasn’t correct.
If we looked at, in a hypothetical world, a playoff system involving the top 16 teams, as ranked by the BCS, based on the final standings of December 5, 2010 — here’s what your first round matchups would have looked like:
#1 Auburn vs. #16 Alabama
#2 Oregon vs. #15 Nevada
#3 TCU vs. #14 Oklahoma State
#4 Stanford vs. #13 Virginia Tech
#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 Missouri
#6 THE Ohio State vs. #11 LSU
#7 Oklahoma vs. #10 Boise State
#8 Arkansas vs. #9 Michigan State
Not a bad matchup (on paper, anyway) in the whole bunch. In fact, the Stanford vs. Va Tech game ended up being the Orange Bowl.
Now, I’m not advocating for a playoff system…or even a plus-one. But those who criticize it as having crappy first round matchups which wouldn’t fill stadia aren’t really making anything approaching a convincing argument against it. There’s a lot of things wrong with a playoff (and possibly a lot right), but saying bad matchups involving lousy teams isn’t going to fly.
What’s your take on that?
Now then, I want to thank everyone who participated in the UW NCAA Football Pool, and extend congratulations to Mark Prusinski, who finished in first place with 26 out of 35 correct picks. Nice job!
My strategy of picking by the “better uniform” took a serious beating, as I finished pretty much in last place, with 15 out of 35. Of course, these were “straight” picks, and as it turns out, I’d have done better if we’d have been using the actual spread. Next year, we will. After going an almost impossibly bad 5-13 for the first 18 bowls, I rallied to go 10-7 over the final 17, and would have done even better than that with the spread. So, maybe picking the winner based on the better uni isn’t such a bad strategy after all. Let’s look at those final 17 games:
Meineke Bowl: South Florida 31 – Clemson 26. Inexplicably, I was duped into picking Clemson as having the better uni, when clearly this was not the case. Mea culpa. The spread for this game was 4.5, so this was almost a push for Clemson, but a half point is a half point. (Record 0-1; Record with the Spread 0-1)
Sun Bowl: Notre Dame 33 – Miami 17. Miama actually looked pretty good (by Hurricanes’ standards), but they still paled in comparison to the Irish. It’s always funny seeing warm weather schools playing in cold weather climes (who knew it would snow in El Paso?). The Irish were right at home in the weather and it showed. Better uni wins (Record 1-1; RWS: 1-1)
Liberty Bowl: UCF 10 – Georgia 6. Georgia looked better but this was more boring than a great defensive struggle. Still, with the Dogs getting 7, I’d have won this one. (Record 1-2; RWS 2-1)
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Florida State 26 – South Carolina 17. Seminoles looked and played better than the Cocks, who must have been still smarting from their SEC loss to Auburn. SC was actually favored by three, so this was a rout. (Record 2-2; RWS 3-1)
Ticket City Bowl: Texas Tech 45 – Northwestern 38. Both teams looked awful, and I’ll admit I didn’t watch but 2 minutes of this game, what with two others going on simultaneously. I picked NW, and I stand by it. Of course, they were getting 10 points, so add in that spread and this one was a win. (Record 2-3; RWS 4-1)
Capitol One Bowl: Alabama 49 – Michigan State 7. Of course I picked the Tide, and I’d pick them over any other team, so the opponent’s uniform was inconsequential. Sparty has such a gorgeous color, but those raglan sleeves and new fonts just aren’t workin. Easy win (Sparty was getting 11, but clearly, they needed 42). (Record 3-3; RWS 5-1)
Outback Bowl: Florida 37 – Penn State 24. Damn. I was worried that the “pro combat” Nike was going to outfit Florida with would be horrid. In fact, it was pretty sweet. Still, I would have taken Penn State over anyone but ‘bama. Maybe I need to rethink that. (Record 3-4; RWS 5-2)
Gator Bowl: Mississippi State 52 – Michigan 14. I really need to rethink my strategy of picking B1G teams when they become the Big
10 12 next year. Still, how can you pick against the Wolverines uni? I should have. MSU was giving 5.5 — they could have spotted Michigan 35.5. (Record 3-5; RWS 5-3)
Rose Bowl: TCU 21 – Wisconsin 19. Clearly Sconnie had the better unis. They were also 2.5 point dogs. I was rooting for TCU. So, I got my wish (TCU win), and I picked the better uni (with the spread)…but got screwed in the straight-pick UW pool. (Record 3-6; RWS 6-3)
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma 48 – Connecticut 20. This one was a slam dunk uni wise, and straight-pick wise. However, Oklahoma was also a 17 point favorite. That’s a lot of points to be giving up, but in the end, they won by 4 TDs. *Phew* (Record 4-6; RWS 7-3)
Orange Bowl: Stanford 40 – Va Tech 12. This was a good looking game, and I really liked the Va Tech orange helmets — but with a ass-whoopin’ like this, they’re probably one and done. Picked Stanford, so I was happy either way. Spread was only 3. Slam dunk. (Record 5-6; RWS 8-3)
Sugar Bowl: Ohio State 31 – Arkansas 26. A great game, and with THE Ohio State giving 3, it was a nailbiter by the spread, but a safe win either way. Arkansas has great colors, but needs to lose those side panels and the SNOL. (Record 6-6; RWS 9-3)
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Miami (Ohio) 35 – Middle Tennessee 21. This was actually a much nicer looking game than it could have been, but the better uni won again. With only 1.5 to give, Miami won easy. (Record 7-6; RWS 10-3)
Cotton Bowl: LSU 41 – Texas A&M 24. Another great looking game, and while it’s not quite the “real” Cotton Bowl, this worked just fine. Took the Tigers and only had to give 2.5, so this was easy pickins. (Record 8-6; RWS 11-3)
BBVA Compass Bowl: Pitt 24 – Kentucky 10. Pitt surprised me with the monochrome white, and it looked good. Kentucky also looked good, eschewing the mono-blue for a normal look. Glad I took Pitt though. (Record 9-6; RWS 12-3)
Fight Hunger Bowl: Nevada 20 – Boston College 13. BC had the better uni, but giant killer Nevada had the better game. However, Nevada was also a 9 point favorite. So, I lost the UW pick, but I’d have won with the spread. (Record 9-7; RWS 13-3)
BCS National Championship Game: Auburn 22 – Oregon 19. Great game, but boy did those Ducks unis disappoint. I was rooting for Oregon, but I picked the better uniform. So I won the UW pool. This line moved up and down in the weeks before the game, going from as high as making Auburn a 3 point favorite, and moving to even at game time. If we had “locked” at 3, this was a push. But it was 1.5 at Bowl Preview time, so that’s a win. (Record 10-7; RWS 14-3)
Well, there you have that. Interesting how straight picks would still have edged me a bit closer to not being in last place, but if they were with the spread (and for actual real money), I’ll take 14-3 any day. Next year, we’re figuring out how to find a pool where we can play by spreads.
Trackin’ the Ducks
UW #1 Seahawks Fan Michael Princip tracked the Oregon Ducks and all of their 2,456 possible uniform combinations all this season (as well as 2009), updating it after each game, and it has become a weekend fixture during the College season. As we all know, Oregon went an incredible 12-0 this season, losing only their unlucky 13th game, which was the National Championship game, earlier this week. It has been my great pleasure to work with Mike, and had not the great blizzard of 2010 hit the northeast, I would have been able to meet the man while he was in town showing Paul his Bulwark helmet project.
Speaking of the Bulwark, if you haven’t already checked out Paul’s mothership feature on Mike and his helmet, please give it a read. It’s great writing, interesting material, and a project we UWers should all hope Mike can get off the ground.
Part of Mike’s work with Paul involved working on an I-Pad app had the Ducks won their final game. Alas, they did not, and that app is now being given away free to starving children in Africa. But all is not for naught. Mike created an amazing rundown of Duck uniforms over the past several years. So, let’s have a look-see at what he did:
Some noteworthy Oregon Duck uniforms according to Michael Princip:
I can thank Jack Patera(1951-54) All Pro Hall of Fame Oregon Duck guard for my first introduction to Oregon football. Jack being the first ever coach for the Seahawks, got my attention and made me want to find out more about his former college team. Eventually in my teens, I got a chance to see what that 1954 Oregon Ducks team really looked like, and since most, if not all of the pictures were in black and white, and the fact the team’s uniforms were somewhat minimalist in design, I was unimpressed. Of course, now that I’ve edgermicated myself I have an appreciation for the unique elements on that basic 50’s set: shadow number font jerseys, shiny satin yellow pants, and yellow painted helmets with green single center stripes.
1967 was a big year for the Oregon Ducks football team. Not only did they get a new stadium (Autzen) and new head coach Jerry Frei, they also got a new absolutely super helmet design that year. A kelly green helmet with Oregon yellow interlocking smooth round edged UO that would make a perfect throwback lid 7 years from now when they commemorate Autzen Stadium’s 50th season, book it! Every time I see the Ducks practice in those plastic dark green helmets I picture those nice looking 1967 UO decals emblazoned on each side and perfectly in place with the game of today. Never understood why they only went with this helmet design for one season?
Taking a big leap here, not off a cliff yet, but rather to 1995, because this is the year where I really started to take notice of the Oregon Ducks’ uniforms. It was the first year that coach Mike Bellotti took the team over, and the first year where Nike took the lead in designing Oregon’s football uniforms. In ’95 the Ducks got rid of the green white green center decals on the helmets, too similar to what the Packers wear anyway. So, Nike and the Ducks escaped from the Pack(ers) and got rid of the center stripe decals altogether. In fact, they got rid of all the stripes.
1999, enter the black, the new ‘O’ logo, and green metallic painted helmets. From the no stripe to the two very bold side stripes, green shoulders and black mesh jerseys, with a good dose of toxic avenging yellow as the predominant look with this set that spanned 4 years. A sort of monochromatic seemed to be the only way to go with these, since those two very thick stripes really made it impossible to transition from different color tops and bottoms, all the while trying to maintain a clean look. The 2002 Fiesta Bowl was the best look, and favorite memory in these uniforms.
2003 was a strange set, on the one hand you had the ultra minimalist monochromatic whites, with the hint of diamond textured tessellated shoulder pattern. Then, on the other you had the bold limon color explosion set. Oh and I know that there were quite a few people, the uniform purists, who complained that Oregon had no school colors in the 2010 ‘Civil War’ game, well, how about those 2003 Ducks in that state classic?
Ok, now it starts getting a little crazy, no seriously, all the while a little more clever. Enter 2006, and the 384 possible uniform combinations. Although, when I do the math, I still don’t see where they get the 384? I mean, are they discounting some socks other than black and white, or…? Not the biggest fan of the diamond plate anti abrasives (shoulder & knee), just thought they could have toned it down to a little more deflect than reflect light. I did have a favorite combination in the green, black, and yellow pants; Patrick Chung’s lookin’ quite sporty here. Love the fact that the Nike design team retained player/coach feedback and incorporated it in the uniform’s design, focusing not only on the look but also the performance of the uniforms. Even Coach Bellotti got his way with the tapered Bellotti Bold jersey number fonts.
One other noteworthy combination from the 2006-08 set, the yellow fluorescent, and white silver flamed helmets. Very unique and very Oregon.
Now, it’s starting to get really good again. 2009 carbon anti abrasion wings meets spread offense whiz coach Chip Kelly. A brand new set of 80 uniform combinations were introduced, and most notably the matte finish on the helmets, as well as, the very retro muted stripe less pants. Favorite combination of the set had to be week 3 when the team were outfitted in white helmets, green jersey, and matte gray pants. One of those things I simply can’t explain, just worked for me, so much so that it inspired me to start the Duck Tracker. I can say that the silver/gray components of the uniform just play off and compliment the silver shoulder wings very nicely. Other uniform notables that year; week 4 mid 90s era throwbacks, week 10 Ninja Duck, and the ultimate throwback/mod hybrid ‘Civil War’ ensemble.
2010 is the 2nd year for the winged set, and it made the trip to the BCS National Championship game. Highlights of the 2010 season has to be the debut of the liquid print carbon helmets in week three with the yellow ‘O’, and the ‘Civil War’ version with the white ‘O’. Got to say, the white ‘O’ looks much better on the carbon fiber print. Other favorites of the season; green jerseys with the Bellotti Bold in yellow, and the silver kicks.
Thanks Mike — awesome job, just like all year long. But wait — there’s more…Mike has a vision of what the Ducks will look like in 2017. All those 12 year old kids who are just ga-ga over the Ducks now can prepare to wear this when they fall all over themselves to sign their letters of intent following the UnderArmouradidas High School Bowl. Here’s how Mike sees it:
“It’s almost impossible to determine where Nike and The Ducks will go next with their uniform designs. However, there is one uniform that’s almost a lock as far as the Ducks wearing it as a throwback, or maybe a throwback/mod hybrid, and that’s in 2017 when they commemorate Autzen stadium’s 50th season. In addition to the new stadium and new head coach that season, the Ducks also got a fantastic and unique new helmet design. If this doesn’t happen, then someone’s not doing their job.”
Had enough Ducks yet? Well…this is probably it for them until next fall — or until they introduce a new uniform set, which could be next week for all we know.
On that note, here’s your final look at the 2010 Oregon Duck Tracker. Mike will be back with me next fall when we start anew. Perhaps they’ll have new unis, and we can only hope for an unblemished record and a national championship for
Team Nikegon the Ducks.
Lots and lots of tweaks keep pouring in, so obviously this is a popular feature. A bunch new to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
Got a big set of tweaks today…so lets get right into it.
Now, on to today’s tweaks:
Starting off the show is Kevin Wos, who begins with a Chargers redux:
I decided to do a hypothetical Chargers Pro Combat-style uniform in anticipation of Nike taking over the NFL in 2012. It’s a combination of their current uniform and some slight differences I included, such as a powder blue pants secondary away combination. Unfortunately, MSPaint+GIMP has its limits when it comes to drawing these.
Next up is Andrew DeFrank, who has some regular and some “pro combat” style tweaks for us. Check it out:
I wanted to show some of my concepts for NFL teams. These use a 2D “Pro Combat” Template, but they really just concepts for everyday NFL wear, nothing crazy Nike or whatever. I also added a “Pro Combat” version using the 3D template seen so often. These are just the 2D Home put on to a 3D template.
The Redskins are my favorite team, and I love their gold pants. I also love their helmet from the 1950’s, the feather design. It’s unique and cleans up the cluttered helmet. I also added the striping only seen on the gold pants to the white and red pants. I added the spear design to the sleeves.
I think that the current Hawks uniforms are just boring. When I saw the Seahawks concept on the “2nd helmet” post here on UniWatch, I felt inspired! I think that the neon can be used in great ways, and I added it to the current Seahawk helmet logo, replacing the lighter blue. I tried to incorporate the really cool full Seahawk logo into the jersey as well. The navy pants alternate also brings many more combo’s (All blue, etc.)
I didn’t change too much, but I added the Viking head to the shoulders like the older jerseys, and added piping all the way up the jersey from the pants. That’s about it. A purple pants away could also be seen.
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the Bills throwbacks? The striping is one of my favorite parts. For some reason, the pants stripe seems very cool to me, along with the 4 stripes on the sleeves. It even works well in today’s terrible sleeves. I updated the sleeves on the white jersey to have the second color trim to be consistent with the home. I kept the current helmet because although the white looks good, the red is a better choice. There is actually a cool story about why they switched in the 80’s. The QB kept throwing INT’s to the 4/5 AFC East teams with white helmets (Jets had green, Colts were there). A red alt was just a fun Monday Night idea. The Pro Combat was unfortunately a little rushed. My trial for photoshop had run out, and for some reason my “last use” was acting up. I couldn’t zoom in, and the sleeves aren’t looking great.
Today’s last batch is another set of pro combat tweaks, this time for the Miami Hurricanes, and they come from Drew Glover. Dig:
I’d really like to see the ‘Canes get back to a more traditional look. This is basically what they wore for most of the 80s with the addition of long socks and sock stripes. I just can’t resist an all white uniform.
– Drew Glover
Tremendous job by all of today’s tweakers. Back tomorrow with more.
Last week saw 2-2, picking by the better uniform, so it wasn’t quite the start I’d hoped for. But there’s two big games today and another two tomorrow, so let’s see if we can’t build upon the meh start. Interesting twist this week, as I was under the impression that the two teams who played on Sunday last weekend would also play on Sunday this week — not so — they both have Saturday games. So, not only are they playing well rested teams coming off bye-weeks, they’re also playing on short rest. Will this have an effect on the final outcomes? Only time will tell. Let’s go.
Ravens vs. Steelers (4:15 pm EST, CBS)
The Ravens are coming off a big win over the Chiefs, and in that game they sported the white jersey over ballet pants look (a look they’ve worn since mid-October for their road games). Clearly, they favor the black, stripeless pants, so it’s a safe bet they’ll be wearing them today. The Steelers, who beat the Ravens in December (when the Ravens broke out the purple over black) in Balto, also lost to the Ravens at home in October. In that game, the Ravens wore white over white, which is a much more appealing look. Will they go back to that today?
These two teams don’t like each other, and clearly either team can win. The Steelers are 3.5 point favorites with an over/under of 37. Now, if the Ravens wear their black tights, they are not the better looking team, but I like that white over white set. So, I’m going to hedge here, as I do like the Stillers homes, but the terribly screwy sleeve stripes and the “slash” font (not that the Ravens is much better) is enough to give the all white Ravens the edge. So…
The Pick: Steelers (17-10) if the Ravens wear their ballet tights and Ravens (Ravens 14 – Steelers 9) if they go all white.
Packers vs. Falcons (8:00 pm EST, FOX)
If this game were just about the unis, this would be an incredibly easy pick. The Pack will be in white over gold, as they always are, on the road. When these two teams met in Atlanta in late November, Atlanta wore their standard red over white, and they won 20-17 on a last second field goal. I’d expect they’ll wear the same today.
Atlanta has had two weeks to prepare for this game, while the Pack has only six days, and they know they can play Atlanta even in the dome. But will it be enough? Aaron Rodgers, as I told you last week, is one hell of a QB, and while Matt Ryan is coming into his own, will the turf, the rest and the home crowd be enough? I’m thinking no. Atlanta is favored by 3 points, with an over/under of 46. That seems a little low for a dome game, but for some reason, defenses seem to rise in the post season.
The Pick: Falcons win, but don’t cover, eking out a 35-33 win in a classic shootout inside the Georgia Dome.
Now, if you have real money on either of these games, you might want to play it safe and pick the opposite. Although I did nail the Jets and Packer upsets last week, I totally blew the Seahawks (although I certainly wasn’t alone) and really thought the Chiefs had a prayer.
OK everyone. That’s just about it for today. This may mark the end and a new beginning for yours truly, as earlier this week, I became the proud new owner of a mac. Now, as of Saturday morning, I’m still using my ancient, decrepit PC, and I’ve been a windows/IE/PC user all my life, so making the changeover may not be smooth, but I look forward to it. Big thanks to Paul for finally providing the push (and a really nice Apple Store gift card for my birthday — thanks buddy) to machood. If all goes well, I’ll be able to *produce* some pretty slick video/podcasts/audio slides and all that good stuff I was supposed to learn in J-school. So wish me luck with that … and hopefully some pretty cool weekend posts in the not-too-distant future. It’s funny, after I bought my new mac, I got a cup of 7-11 coffee (which I’ve loved for eons)…and suddenly it didn’t taste so good anymore and I had an urge for Starbux. Uh oh.
Everyone have a great Saturday…enjoy the football today — it’s our last Saturday of football until the fall. How many days till pitchers and catchers again?
I take it you were never part of a team that wasn’t pixelated. — Robert “Chimp” Marshall