By Phil Hecken, with the Mothervilker
In order to understand Jim Vilk, especially as he relates to everyone’s favorite “5 & 1” (which returns for a third season tomorrow), you’ve got to get into his kitchen. And what better way to do that than to have him discuss the unis he’ll be grading. Large sums of money have been won and lost trying to predict the 5 & 1, since it’s about as consistent and predictable as the Oregon uniform rotation. So I brought him back to discuss some of the new unis we’ll be seeing (in some cases, at least once) this season. So, here’s Akron’s finest, JV:
Apparently, Professor Hecken and I haven’t had our tenure revoked. Here we are again, handing out grades for the college football season’s freshman class of uniforms. Unlike last year’s two-part extravaganza, we’re focusing on the new unis featured in Paul’s recent college football preview. We’ll list those schools (with last year’s grades in parentheses), then play Point-Counterpoint while we give out new grades. If a team only came out with a new Toy Combat costume or some other one-off uniform, we’ll grade it on its own merit (or lack thereof) and not compare it with the regulars. Decals, socks/shoes, palm-design gloves (don’t get me started on those), and proposed-but-not-announced unis will not be graded. Now, if there are no questions, let’s begin, shall we?
JV (B- last year): Right off the bat, I get a shiny new apple on my desk! Better font and decent striping. Even without the cool stained glass look on the helmet stripes, this is a major upgrade. A-
PH (B last year): Clearly last year I graded them too high, because they’re improved…but they ain’t no B+ now. Better fonts, much better helmet striping now. Two too many pairs of pants, however. The golds would be just fine, TYVM. If the pants stripe matched the helmet, it’d be a B+. But they don’t…plus, I’m not a big fan of the stained glass design that you can’t see from more than one foot away. B
JV (A-): Adding “FSU” to the jerseys neither detracts nor adds to my original grade. A-
PH (B+): That’s a “change”? Meh. I’d prefer less jersey clutter but still a B+
JV (B-): Given the option (get it?), I’d stick with last year’s look. C
PH (C+): Didn’t think they could get worse, but they did. I’d like more legible numbers and clearly Russell is trying to copy one of Swooshie’s worst jersey features, the collar horns. They had the chance to ditch them, but made them worse. C
JV (C-): Last year, Phil and I were in agreement. This year, we aren’t. While it could use some tweaking, this is a fun look. C
PH (C-): Who says we aren’t in agreement? OH JEEBUS…that’s just…awful. Hey, UnderArmour, you’re not Nikegon. Stop trying to copy them. Imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery, it’s just lame. Even taking just a couple of these unis, and forgetting the 3,456 combos that are now possible, this is just waaaaay to bumperstickery. The turtle-shell helmet is kind of cool, and I actually like the bright gold, but this is just a train wreck. D
JV (A-): Lateral move. A-
PH (B+): Unlike FSU, here I actually like the addition of “STATE” to the jersey. Doesn’t change the grade, however. B+
JV (A): Adding orange pants *should* bump them up to an A+, but not until I see game photos. A
PH (B+): Adding orange pants *should* bump them down to a B-, but not until I see game photos. B
JV (B): Much better, but until they realize cardinals don’t have teeth I can’t give them an A. B+
PH (B): The jersey is an improvement, no doubt. I’ll give them a half grade higher. B+
JV (B-): The only thing they had going for them was NNOB and their helmets. Now the helmets display their new grade. C
PH (C+): Unlike Mothersunbowlker, I don’t really mind the added NOB, although it’s not needed. OK, half a grade off for that. C
JV (B): Nice lids. They make up for the font. B+
PH (B+): They still have great colors, and while I don’t like the collarbone horns, I realize they’re the BULLS. I guess that’s what they’re going for with that. No change IMHO with the new lid(s). B+
JV (B-): Boomer Hoosier? Gonna miss the helmet and shoulder stripes, but not those things on the sides. A-
PH (C): Hoosier Daddy! YES! Someone got it right. You say looking like Oklahoma is a bad thing? No, looking like Maryland is a bad thing. Best upgrade so far. B+
Michigan (only grading the one-off uniform)
JV: Who’s “M to the 16th power”? I don’t see him on the roster. Seriously, though, that’s a nice look. A
PH: This one is sweet, although I don’t see the need for a “one off.” If there’s one thing I like more than stripes, it’s tiled stripes, and this has that in spades. I’m NOT a fan of the visible stitching on the numbers and “M” but I get what three stripes is going for. Doesn’t quite make the coveted “A” but I’ll give it an A-
JV (A+): Two patches too many? Probably. One patch too many, for sure. A-
PH (A-): You know what bothers me more than the two patches? The mountain in the middle. Half grade reduction. B+
JV (A++): Call me a rebel, but I’ll miss the trim. Then again, I still miss the old helmet numbers. A+
PH (A+): Call me a relic, call me what you will…say I’m old fashioned, say I’m over the hill. But the best uniform in college football just got better. A+ (I have no higher grade, but think of it as a 99 going to 100)
JV (B+): Lateral move. B+
PH (C+): Did Kordell Stewart become the Boiler’s coach? STOP messing with the varsity block people! And the helmet stripe is a downgrade too. C-
JV (C): There many two-clawed bears in Texas? Even with the silly stripes, it’s an improvement from last year’s mix&match mess. B
PH (C-): Baylor had a fantastic uniform. Nike has been ruining it ever since. D
JV (A-): An improvement, but not enough to change the grade. A-
PH (B+): Bigger wordmark & chest logo? How about keep the bigger wordmark and ditch the logo? Half grade diminution. B
JV (C+): Guess I can’t call BFBS, since black is a school color. Actually a slight improvement from last year. B-
PH (C+): There can be only one Nikegon, and OSU aint it. I do love the gray uni, but there’s way too many unis and helmets now and too much crap on all of them. C
JV (B): I could have lived with the font, but not when you add a tramp stamp, too. C-
PH (C-): Hey, maybe the tramp stamp will encourage the players to keep their shirts tucked in. On second thought, maybe it will encourage them to untuck more. Either way, this uni-set sucks. And it’s too bad, because they have great colors. No grade change, but there’s not much further they can go down. C-
Houston (only grading the throwback)
JV: Getting a real Phi Slama Jama vibe here. When’s hoops season? A+
PH: What’s with the shocker? Isn’t that like, ASU’s thing? Nice uni, but not a big fan of the RAL, throwback or not. B+
JV (A): Lateral move. A
PH (A-): I liked it, a lot, before, but I’m not sure I like the trendy, larger “The Herd” font. Not enough to drop them down a half grade, tho. A-
JV (B-): Any team that copies Miami’s eyebrows-over-the-numbers striping should also be considered for the SMU Penalty. Even worse than last year’s diamond-sided piping. C-
PH (C+): *Sigh* The state of college football uniform design is in the terlet. The latest trend of putting TNDPL (Team Name Down Pant Leg) is one of the worst diseases to infect the FBS teams. It may be the worst bumpersticker of all. C-
JV (C+): That’s only the first of three new helmet designs. I like it, but… Incomplete
PH (C-): Sweet helmet! Matte black finish and numbers (at least on one side). But like MoVi says, incomplete.
JV (C): Helmet looks better. That wasn’t the problem, though. C
PH (D): I actually think the helmet looks worse. And yeah, that was the least of their problems. D-
JV (C+): Um, no. Someone didn’t study over the summer. C-
PH (C-): GAH. As bad as the new uni is, it’s better than the old one. And that’s not saying much. C
Notre Dame (grading the one-off only)
JV: I think I like them, but it’s hard to tell from those pics. For now, A-
PH: Sweet. ND looks better with green numbers (and a green jersey instead of blue). Nice job! A-
JV (B): Lateral move with the new helmets, but a major backslide with everything else. C-
PH (C+): Holy F*CK that’s bad. And shouldn’t a school with the word “green” in their name have some, ya know, GREEN on their uni? Major downgrade. C-
JV (C+): With the Sabres and Bills improving their looks, the Bulls figured someone had to look bad in Buffalo. C-
PH (B+): I thought we were grading FBS schools. What’s that? Buffalo is an FBS school? Yeesh. Pretty colors (although royal and black just don’t go well together) and those fonts are to die for (in a bad way). C+
JV (A++): Still one of the best unis. Ever. A++
PH (A): Wow. Didn’t think they could improve upon their A, but they did. All it took was replacing TEMPLE with that gorgeous logo. Well done! A+
JV (B): Normally, I like a horsey helmet, but just give me the W. B
PH (B+): Either the W or the horsey. Not both, and not on top of one another. B
Boise State (just the Toy Combat costume)
JV: Say it with me, Phil: “Because The Jeff hates it…” B- PH: “…we like it.” B
PH: Not so fast there, Jimbo. That’s only one reason to like it. I think the stormtrooper look is pretty nice. If you need to know more, the fuller explanation is here. B
JV (C): I graded them too low last year. Even with the BFBS, they should have been a B-. This year’s font drops them back down, though. C
PH (C-): I graded them too low too. And I’ll agree with Señor Vilk — that font is shite. And STOP adding black. That purple is a great shade and it looks fine with just white. Shoulda given them a C last year. C-
JV (C): WYO WYO why did the brown jerseys remain unchanged? Make them like the others. B-
PH (D): Even forgetting the bumperstickers, that brown, gold & white was never put together well. They might have a decent combo or two now with the brown helmet. Wait. No they won’t. And how bad will that monochrome brown head to toe look? And why the hell would you put a brown decal on a brown helmet? Get the feces jokes ready. D
JV (A-): I graded them that high? But I didn’t like Sparky. BFBS drags down an otherwise improved look. A-
PH (B): And they needed an all black uni because??? I actually like the new helmet logo and compared to their previous piping, those shoulder tines actually make sense. Slight improvement but for the BFBS. Push. B
JV (A): Matching the helmet to the pants will mean more to Phil than it does to me. Still a good move, though. A
PH (B): HOLY CRAP they got the golds to match!!! That’s like music to my OCD eyes. What? A-
Oregon (Toy Combat costume only)
JV: It’s the unchangeable equation in Vilkamatics: Bellotti Bold + BFBS = F. Stealth numbers? Fine. F-
PH: Oh Nikegon, you’ve done it again. Pass me another cup of kool-aid. No one does ninja like a duck. A
JV (B): I can appreciate the subtle topography feature, but not on the backside. C
PH (C): Is it just me or does UA make every progressive uniform worse than its predecessor? And I may be the only person on the planet who thinks the topography feature is incredibly stupid, especially since it won’t be visible from more than one foot away. C-
JV (A-): Lose the alt uni and the prickly font and we’d be talking improvement. But we’re not. B-
PH (B): The gray pants are nice, and will look great with the red lid and jersey. Normally, I’d like the gray bucket, but it’s way too shiny — it needs to be matte like the pants. That gray over black? Uh, no. Overall a downgrade (although the red/red/gray is really nice). B-
JV (A+): Points off for the tramp stamp. A-
PH (A): The ONE uniform I thought UA couldn’t downgrade just got downgraded with the stamp of tramp. Dammit…I love(d) this uni. A-
Georgia (Toy Combat costume only)
JV: Even if I was a Georgia fan, I’d like it. The facemask and the collar are the only downers, and they’re not that bad. B+
PH: Even if I were a Bulldog fan, I’d hate it. Too much red, stupid face mask treatment. I already gave this a C in last weekend’s post, so it keeps that grade now. C
JV (B-): Oooooooo! Aaaaaaaah! Oops, what’s that peeking out from under that blue jersey? Still… A
PH (B): I like that checkerboard pattern on the blue top, but I don’t like the epaulette effect on the white jersey. They can fix that, right? Still a B
JV (B+): Here’s your college word of the day to describe the change: infinitesimal. B+
PH (B): They added collar trim and moved the mountain from the right chest to the collar. Which is a total look at me move. Which I hate. Which moves them down to a B-
JV (B-): A mild upgrade. B
PH (B-): If their colors weren’t garnet and black, I’d dislike this even more. Once again, UA tweaks a bad design and makes it worse. C+
JV (C-): Looks like an improvement, but show me game photos. A tentative B-
PH (C-): Another adidas team to have the mountain moved to the collar. However, they ditched the crap on the sleeves, so that’s a plus. Black numbers outlined in white, instead of white numbers outlined in black and red. Winner. I kinda liked the black hat/red jersey/black pants tho. Now it seems it may just be mono red. Still, a nice improvement overall. B
JV (D+): That “old” pic was too kind. For a team that also wore this, the plain unis are an upgrade. C+
PH (D-): Those helmets are black, right? And now they go from a blue top with white pants, to mono blue? They finally get rid of the crap on their uni but they better have white pants as an option. And fix the color of the helmet (even if it’s not black, it doesn’t match the blue). D-
JV (B+): A prickly font, yes, but it’s almost canceled out by this. J’adore les fleurs de lis! B+
PH (B): Still doesn’t look very good. And if the fleurs de lis’s were visible from more than 2 feet away, I might like them as a design feature. As it is, it just looks like a gradient. B-
JV (B-): What’s worse than a “TroJanS” logo? An even bigger “TroJanS” logo. C
PH (B+): Clearly Jim has never needed to be worried about having larger Trojans. B
JV (B): Welcome to the Honor Society, Hilltoppers! A+
PH (C-): Hmmm. I like the new jerseys, although they don’t need a gray one. And they should have one pair of pants…in gray or maybe white, since they have a white lid. And it doesn’t look like the pants stripes quite go all the way down to the end of the pant leg…but compared to last season? Big upgrade. B
JV (B-): That would look good on blue turf, not green. C
PH (B): The mono green is bad, especially with the green helmet. And unless the colors are off, the green has gone from a much more “
yellow gold-green” to a green with more … green-green? I like how they got rid of the jersey piping, but the helmet change is a downgrade. And if the greens are different shades, then that’s a downgrade too. B-
JV (B-): Like a real bulldog, unsightly in the front and even worse in the rear. C-
PH (C): The good: ditching the dropshadow. The bad: every other tweak. Hey Fresno, Arizona called, they want their gradient striping back. C-
JV (B-): See the above description for Fresno State. Yowza. C-
PH (B-): Holy shit. What’s with the ass stripes? Unless there’s some reason for that, like some Hawai’ian tradition or something, there’s no call for that. D
JV (A-): Whew! Ending on a good note. A lateral move. A-
PH (C-): They went from a C- uniform to a C- uniform. What’s good about that? Nothing. C-
Trackin’ the Ducks
A bit of sad news greets us this fall, as #1 Ducks Fan Michael Princip will be relinquishing his duties as the head Duck Tracker. About a week ago I exchanged E-mails with Mike, and he hit me with this:
As much as I want to continue with the duck tracker, I really don’t think I’ll have the time to. I am pretty much working two jobs right now, and with any free time I get, there is family stuff I have to get to.
The Bulwark helmet project is part of the 2nd job I am involved with, and it is really taking up most of my time, outside of my full time job. I hope to have some information to share with you guys, once we get past the initial testing phase.
Best of luck with all that Michael, and we’ll miss your tracking. But…
in every crisis, there is an opportunity. We are now looking for a new Duck Tracker to take up the reins. Mike has even offered to allow the next Duck Tracker to use his template. So here’s what I propose — this is Mike’s 2010 Duck Tracker. If you’re interested in tracking the Ducks for 2011 — drop me a line after today’s game, and send me a sample of your work — feel free to work off Mike’s template or come up with your own. I haven’t decided how we’ll do the DT this year, but it will live on — perhaps one person will become the tracker, or perhaps we’ll have a group effort. But show me your chops.
by Rick Pearson
Don’t know if this milestone is dopey…or kinda “ball-playing nice”…
And, as always, the full-size.
We have another new set of tweaks 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 at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with G. Pong, who has a Padres tweak using Timmy E’s template:
This is my first try at a tweak, I read in the blog that the padres are considering a redesign, so I took a shot at it. The colors are borrowed from the other San Diego team, the Chargers. Didn’t include the yellow though, to much like my Classic Brewers otherwise. I also like two tone hats sometimes, even though it is frowned upon. Hope it looks classy!
Next up is big set of tweaks from Terry Duroncelet, mostly baseball this time around:
Hello, Uni Watch. I noticed in my comments and in my last Uni Tweaks submission that I kinda sound arrogant, and I just wanted to say that I’m not that kind of person. I am always very happy and humbled to see all of the submissions every weekend, and I hope that this continues for many years. I have since relocated to Slidell, Louisiana, and will be there for about a year. But enough talk, I have some new concepts today.
Cubs: NNOB on the home uniform, and a fauxback road uniform.
Rays: I heard a while back that the Rays look too much like the AL East rival NY Yankees, so I decided to utilize the Columbia Blue more. I also gave them a different sock stripe pattern than the St. Louis Cardinals stirrups they used last year.
Tigers: I erased the white twill away from the road uniform, and since AL road jerseys don’t have that NOB rule that the NL roads do, I decided to try something different: NOB on the home uni, NNOB on the road uni. As for the socks, I honestly don’t know where I got the inspiration for them… *holds in laughter*
Orioles: Current uniform (sans-wordmark on the road sleeve) with classic hosiery.
Bullets *ahem* Wizards: I got rid of the ball/monument logo from the back of the neck, and gave them simple red-white-blue striped socks. BTW, isn’t it time that striped socks returned to the NBA?
Angels Fauxback: Although I like the Yin/Yang thing going on in the LA area; Blue NL Dodgers vs. Red AL Angels, I went along and made up a fauxback uniform using the current template and the older navy crown/red brim hat and navy socks.
Denver Broncos: Current logo, number font, and socks, with a nod to the past in design and colors.
Minnesota Twins #1: I made the Harmon Killebrew-era pinstripes the primary home uniform, and put the navy-edged-in-red numbers on the road as well. I also added a matching pant braid to the pants to better correspond with the jersey.
Minnesota Twins #2 I took the throwback numbers and put them on the Twins’ (or is it Twins’s?) current home uniform, and took the TV numbers off of the road uniforms in looks #1 and #2. The numbers on the second version are supposed to play off of their jersey scripts.
New York Yankees: I went back to the McAuliffe font that they used to use in Babe Ruth’s day, added a matching pant stripe on the road uniform, and streamlined the interlocking ‘NY’ on the home jersey.
Boston Red Sox: The sad reality is that it’ll be a good few years before MLB players get it through their heads that this is baseball, not bedtime *coughpajamapantscough*, so here’s my alternative solution to today’s colorless uniforms: Negro League-style contrast plackets, which I’ve done before with the Dodgers and the A’s. I also made the hanging Sox/socks more prominent on the road uniform.
Any and all commentary is welcome.
Last up today is Rick Porter, who wants to…gasp…change PSU:
JoePa might pop his coke bottle glasses if they came out wearing these..
Rick (a.k.a. Slidetuba)
Thanks for the tweaks, lads. Back tomorrow with more.
I will occasionally be featuring the uni-tracking that our various readers undertake throughout the season. Today we have Walter Young, who tracks the Amazin’s.
My monthly frivolous Mets uniform tracking documentation.
First, a complete 2011, April through August calendar, tracking the Mets daily wardrobe. Depending how you post it, the individual game results are hyperlinks to their respective ESPN box scores/game photos.
Second, a combined breakdown of Mets uniform combinations used through August 31.
Thanks Walt! Anyone else who tracks their team can send me your tracking reports.
That it for today kids. Don’t forget, there’s still two days left to enter the Seahawks Redesign Contest (details in that post).
Hope everyone came though Irene OK and that you guys have your power back (if you lost it) now. I never lost power but my cable/interwebs/phone was out for almost a day, and the summer residence was without power for three days and phone for four. Have a great Saturday.
“How cruel would it be to have logo creep for eternity?” — Jeffrey Lowery