By Phil Hecken
When I first started following Uni Watch, I really didn’t much care for college football — part of this of course was due to the fact that I attended a small, upstate New York institution which played in the Division III “NESCAC” (New England Small College Athletic Conference), and part of it is due to living on Long Island, where professional sports are king. In fact, about the closest I came to caring about a college program is when my pop took me to a game at his alma mater. Still, though, I never really caught the jones. Other than the Bowl games, of which there really only should be four (Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange), I didn’t care.
Until I started following Uni Watch, that is.
Since that time, I’ve really come to appreciate the college game, and on any given weekend, I probably watch more college ball than pro. I’ve learned a lot about the game and its history, but the one thing that’s always struck me have been the rivalries. Over the past few years, with the help of some of the Uni Watch faithful, I’ve examined a few of the rivalry games, including the Civil War and the Backyard Brawl. This year, I plan on a tremendous look at what is simply known as “The Game” (whereupon I’ll be joined by Robert Marshall, who has something really special planned…I mean really special. Mr. Marshall lives and dies with the “BigTen” [B1G], which kicks off play this weekend).
Today, I’m joined by Tim E. O’Brien, who is here to give us a look at some of the bigger rivalries of the B1G — since Nike has been dressing many of its teams in pro combat costumes, Tim will show us how he’d dress the teams for their big games if he ruled the universe. This way, we can look back in 50 years and say, “what the hell were they thinking”? Either that or, “Wow — those would have been great uniforms.” I’ll let you be the judge. So on that note, here’s Tim E.:
BigTen Rivalry Uniforms
By Tim E. O’Brien
This weekend, BigTen conference football returns and so do BigTen rivalry games. In honor of the conference season kickoff, I decided to create what I referred to as a ‘Rivalry Series’ (although inspiration credit goes to this guy here). What follows are six rivalry games, their special uniforms and descriptions.
(Before we get to the designs, just note that I do not think these teams should wear these every day, these are just my NikeProCombat/One-Off concept ideas. My every day B1G ideas are these.)
• Indiana: I bring back my much beloved candy-striped pants but pair them with (a variation of) their actual 2011 jersey. The helmet matches their current lid and features the iconic interlocking ‘IU’ while the socks and compression shirt echo the candy stripe theme.
• Purdue: As this years visitors, Purdue comes to The Rock wearing all old gold. The ‘P’ logos; helmet, shoulder and pants stripes; and numbers all sink up to match: Black trimming White. The numbers are a modern variation of classic varsity block. Finally, the compression shirt and socks are Boiler black.
• Illinois: The Illini host this year’s
Sweet Sioux Tomahawk game Land of Lincoln game, and they come onto Memorial Stadium wearing fauxbacks. Three simple stripes grace the shoulders and pants. A rounded version of the state name appears on the helmet (as opposed to “Illini” which has appeared on the lid in the past).
• Northwestern: The Wildcats are also donning a fauxback of sorts. The white helmet is inspired by this helmet from NU history. The jersey is basically their current road uni with the addition of the ‘N-Cat’ logo while the pants have a purple double stripe that give the ‘Cats a sleek, clean look.
• Nebraska: As the home team, Nebraska comes out in a uniform that honors many of their best teams from their long, storied history. While the helmet design is the same as the one’s they’ve worn since 1970, the red facemask harkens back to 1982. The jersey focuses on both those eras as well. The shoulder numbers are from the 1970 unis while the sleeve ‘N’s are from the 1983 team. While the pants are from both eras, the red belt screams 1983.
• Iowa: The Hawkeyes come into Memorial Stadium wearing fauxbacks to their 1958 National Championship team. While Iowa has worn fauxbacks to this era before, they’ve never worn the road version of these before. That’s a shame, because those were some beautious unis. The moving of the stripes from the sleeves to the shoulders is just for player continuity (no lost stripes due to lack of undershirt).
Also, the facemask is unapologetically black.
• Wisconsin: The home team in 2011 comes out wearing something like nothing you’ve ever seen take the field at Camp Randall. The helmet is a variation of the current helmet that rids the flying W of it’s unnecessary drop shaddow. This harkens back to most of Wisconsin’s history, when the helmets were only white and red.
The shoulders are adorned with stripes that will quickly remind any UW fan of Bucky Badger. While the pants are almost identical to their current set, the socks pick up on the Bucky Badger theme and run with it all the way to victory.
• Minnesota: The Golden Gophers have a tough task winning in Camp Randall. This Fauxback set calls upon the predecessors of this Minnesota football squad to lead them back to the path of victory and BigTen supremacy. The undershirt features Goldy Gopher’s double stripe (just like my other concepts) and gold become predominant to remind the team of their victorious and glorious past.
• Penn State: The home team for this game will march into Happy Valley with a uniform that will be very recognizable to it’s fans and opponents. While there are some design changes (many of them have a fauxback feel) the biggest difference may be the color on the uniform.
The Blue on these unis are more royal blue than the current navy blue unis the Nittany Lions currently wear. Combine that with helmet numbers, the return of white jersey accents and a singular, thin blue stripe on the pants and Penn State has a modern update of a classic uniform.
• Michigan State: The shoulders of jersey pop thanks to a green field that adorns them which flows nicely into the optional green compression with an updated version of MSU’s ‘S’ logo. While the jersey numbers revert to a more traditional font, the university mark is updated to match the ‘S’ logo font. Thick white stripes grace both the helmet, pants and socks and help unify this uniform. No ‘bronze’ here (I’m looking at you, Nike).
• Michigan: As a BigTen alumnus, it’s very hard for me to conceive Michigan wearing anything but their normal helmets, blue jerseys and maze pants at The Big House. I actually liked the fauxback they wore against Notre Dame, but I didn’t want to re-tread the ground Adidas already walked. Instead, I made minor changes to the current home uni and left one of the best lids in all of sports untouched.
The jersey gets an ‘M’ logo sewn onto the shoulder as sort of a ‘pride-patch’. While a player’s name and number are usually the only thing to grace a Wolverine uni, I wanted the ‘M’ to be on there to remind the players that the glory of the game should go to Michigan.
While I added a blue belt to the pants, I removed the ‘M’ logo from them just to simplify the uni even more. The shoes and compression shirt are team colors but I’m not sure how much even I am digging the maze sleeves.
• Ohio State: The Buckeyes are Nike Pro Combat veterans at this point. With the theme of most of their NPC unis being ‘fauxback’ I continue this trend with a look back to the late ’60s (just on the cusp of one of their greatest eras like hopefully this will be).
While I could not find the exact specifics of the road uniform that matches this helmet, these jerseys, pants and socks probably approximate the jersey pretty well. The differing color TV numbers are a signature part of OSU’s look from this era and the Northwestern stripes that adorn the helmet, jersey, pants and socks unify this set as a world class Ohio State uniform.
Well, that about wraps that up. You may have noticed the two new templates I was using. I’m proud to say that I created both of them and the one that features both the front and back of the uni has been improved even since I created these B1G concepts.
Thank you Tim.
by Rick Pearson
“He also hears voices from OnStar…”
And of course, 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 George Scordo, who has tweaked the Broncos. The Denver Broncos:
I’m trying to clean up and simplify the Broncos’ look without completely trampling the history of the team, both past and present. They are switching to orange home uni’s as their primaries next season.
Here’s my take:
*bring back the late 80’s stripes on the shoulders and match them to the pants (matches that earlier Elway photo) striping
*no more swoosh effect (I know, with Nike doing the design, fat chance) – ’cause it seems antiquated now
*no jersey-side coloring
*no 2nd color on the uni-numbers or TV-numbers. Just a one color number (I HATE shadowing & unnecessary piping)
*helmets look good. Leave ’em alone (leave the “orange mane” striping too. I like it. – matches the logo)
*Keep the font and front wordmark – too team specific to dump
*on the road, go white with blue numbers (no orange outline), and the same striping pattern. At least consider the orange pants, I mean, it works for Clemson, why not the Broncos?
See attached photo: David Bruton wears my concept, the rest of the players are wearing today’s alts. Good before & after effect.
George in Denver
Next up is Isaac Schemm with 2 playoff teams:
Two simple uni tweaks: a white “NEW YORK” uni for the Yankees, in case they ever play a neutral-site game as the home team (which will probably never happen), and some more interesting stirrups for the Brewers to match their current uniform set.
And closing down the tweak show today is Matt Locatelli, who really has an interesting concept here:
Hi, Phil —
This probably isn’t what you meant, but I thought I’d share.
A couple of years ago, the designers at www.puckdrawn.com had a what-if series, featuring hypothetical hockey uniforms from the major participants of World War II. (Good stuff.) It got me into a Last of the Mohicans mindset, so I redesigned France’s unis on the assumption that Montcalm was leading hockey players instead of soldiers against Fort William Henry.
For myself, I’m saddened by the events in Yaroslavl, Russia. At the very least, I hope my artwork lightens the mood at Uni Watch headquarters.
Keep up the great work!
— Matt L.
Alrighty. Thanks gentlemen. Back with more tweaks tomrrow.
Seems I’m not alone.
Even Sports Illustrated has also taken notice. In fact, they’ve got an entire gallery devoted to Mr. Garay’s looks.
Thanks to Mako Mameli for the tip!
MLB Uni Tracking – 2011 Final Results
Now that the MLB regular season has ended (mercifully for some of us fans), all those who spent the season keeping track of your teams uniform machinations should now feel free to send in your final results.
Today we have two dutiful trackers whose teams, sadly, didn’t make it past “GO.” We’ll start with Mike Menner, who was a Twins tracker:
The season just ended for my Local Nine, the Twins. Here is my uni-tracking Excel sheet. With the home whites and home blue alts shelved since early May, the cream pins had their chance to shine–and look really good. Alas, they certainly didn’t help the Twins win much this year. In any event, I made a few comments about significant game action, where I sat for games attended, as well as my own personal Win Loss. Thanks to Bethany Heck’s awesome Eephus League scorebook, I also made sure to keep track of gametime temps for games I saw, thus that bit of minutiae.
Here’s hoping for a better 2012 in Minnesota.
Keep up the great work,
Also sending in his final tracking was Eric Smallman, who tracked the Mariners all season:
Here are the updated uniform stats for the 2011 Mariners.
A bit more variety this year, as the Mariners reinstated the “Northwest green” alt jersey from the mid-nineties, and moved the blue alt jersey to road alt status.
Please note that the games from the infamous “U2” Marlins series are listed here as being on the road, while ESPN.com (for one) shows those games as part of the Mariners’ home record. (Fun fact: when the Marlins took the field for the top of the first inning, the stadium PA played a U2 song. Friday’s was “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and Sunday’s was “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” I didn’t attend or listen to Saturday’s game, but I’m assuming it was done then as well.)
Thank you Eric & Mike. OK all you trackers — send me your final results and I’ll be sure to post them here.
Tracking The Playoffs
Last year, 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!
He tracked the teams through the World Series, which as everyone
not named Brinke regrets, the Giants end up winning. He’ll be doing so again for us this year.
Just one game got played yesterday, with the Texas Texases giving a rather large bird to the uni gods by wearing their softball tops to open the playoffs and…they got their butts whooped by the properly attired Rays.
I’ll be back with Alex’ 2011 Playoff Tracker tomorrow, when we have a full slate of games under our belts.
And that will do it for this fine first Saturday in October. Get ready for a month of pink accoutrements. Big day of college football today, what with the rivalry games breaking out all over, then a nice dose of NFL tomorrow — plus a ton of MLB playoffs. Oh yeah, it’s good to be a uni-fan these days. Tomorrow I’ll be back with your two Seahawks Uniform Redesign Contest finalists (with voting!) and the usual ton of Sunday fun. Have a great Saturday everybody.
“And though it eventually languished in slow inexorable oxidation, it had for a brief glorious moment, an identity of its own.” — Gordon Blau