By Phil Hecken
Michigan State University, all clad in their amateur pacifist costumes, may have won the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Trophy in East Lansing yesterday, but it was their opponents, the Michigan Wolverines, who won the uniform war.
After warming up in their *normal* road attire, the Wolverines surprised everyone by breaking out a fauxback jersey (modeled after their “legacy” top) and, for the first time since 1975, white pants, right before kickoff. It was a stunning move (and a well-kept secret), and it made for one of the more visually appealing games of the season.
In a move that was surely embargoed, Paul forwarded me the following E-mail he received, right about kickoff (check the date stamp):
Date: October 15, 2011 12:01:52 PM EDT
Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Michigan Wears Retro Uniforms vs. Michigan State
Good Morning -
To celebrate Michigan’s rivalry game today vs. Michigan State, adidas surprised the Wolverines with retro-style football uniforms.
Similar to their “Under the Lights” jerseys worn against Notre Dame on Sept. 10, Michigan’s vintage-inspired uniforms today highlight a fusion of design elements from throughout Wolverine football’s 132 years.
Today’s jersey features a large number on the chest, a block M above the heart and repeating striped sleeves. The Wolverines’ adidas TECHFIT compression has “Victors” on the right bicep and “Valiant” on the left.
Also, since the “Under the Lights” game last month, player numbers appear on Michigan’s famous winged helmet for the first time since the late 1960s.
adidas Public Relations
I’m generally not a big fan of adidas’ football gear, particularly their *top-of-the-line* jerseys and pants we refer to as “super-stretchies,” but I have to say, this instantly became one of my favorites, and one I hope they don’t retire to the dustbin of history, especially after a tough (28-14) loss to Sparty. Some video of the game is here.
“Our players really enjoyed the uniforms from the night game with Notre Dame so we decided to surprise them and the country with a new-look design for the Michigan State game,” said Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. “This is such a great in-state rivalry that we decided to honor the former players that played in this game.”
According to the MgoBlue.com blog, “The legacy jersey is a compilation of design elements from different eras of Michigan football.” It also marked the first time since 1975 the Wolverines wore white pants. They wore white pants with a blue-maize-blue stripe (which repeated on the jersey sleeve) in 1974-75, for their road games. So the plain white pants they wore yesterday were at best a “nod” to the past. As far as the tiled jersey stripes, are they harking back to 1891? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that look, but I can’t place the era — did Michigan ever (aside from this year’s legacy game against Notre Dame) have a jersey pattern with tiled stripes before?
Yesterday, having only seen Nike’s fashion show shots, I gave the Spartan uniforms a “solid B+.” Having seen them in action, under the sun, I need to downgrade them to a “B.” The green and black kind of muddied each other, and as I had suspected, the “SPARTANS” NOB was virtually invisible. Still, the green and “bronze” were a great combination. Interestingly Sparty had some kind of darker bronze “airbrushing” on their helmets, giving them an even more 3-D appearance (and most likely trying to mimic an actual Spartan helmet contour). They also lost a half grade due to the numbers only being truly visible when reflected by sunlight.
Counterbalancing my reduced grade of “B” for the Spartans is an “A+” (with a bullet) for the Wolverines getup. If this was a one-shot (and I hope it isn’t), it’d still be an A+, but I would love for them to make it a part of their regular rotation. My only qualm is not with the uni itself, but just where exactly do they get the elements from (it’s supposedly celebrating the 132 year history of the football program). To my mind, it’s not really a fauxback or even a mashup — but that’s just semantics. Whatever you want to call it, it’s fantastic. Well done, Michigan (and adidas), well done. Next weekend LSU breaks out their amateur pacifist unis — against Auburn. Think UA will whip up something special for that one?
New NCAA Rundown
In what is now a regular Sunday feature during the NCAA season, my buddy Terry Duroncelet is here to give us the uni machinations and assorted athletic aesthetics for this week of the college football season. Here’s Terry:
First off, I want to apologize for the shorter-than-normal rundown, as there wasn’t a lot of uni-notable action Yesterday (watch, next week will be a two page summary just so that the NCAA can spite me).
• Miss. State wore the matte helmets from the Georgia game against South Carolina.
• Normally, I would be giving the College Cowboys crap for not wearing as much orange as they should be this year, but I’ll make an exception here.
• The Sam Houston State University Bearkats wore camo jerseys that they’ve dubbed “BearkatCamo”. The jerseys were worn to be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Lone Survivor Foundation. The jersey’s manufactured by Wilson were paired up with the Bearkats standard white pants (with orange “stripe”) by Nike. Helmets were unchanged (solid orange with white facemask and school logo decals). Additional info here. Credit Victor Quintana, Jr. for the heads up. Photo Gallery is here (thanks to Chris Mycoskie).
• Florida wore orange pants against Auburn. When was the last time they wore orange pants?
• Last week, I mentioned that Portland State wore white helmets, but if you look at these pictures (namely, this one), you’ll notice that only the Quarterback (#6) had a green helmet stripe, while everyone else didn’t. Anybody know why? Thanks to Rickey A. Layman II for bringing that to my attention.
• Washington State went mono-grey against Stanford. So we’ve seen the Vader Effect, the Stormtrooper Effect, and now the Death Star Effect. At least WASU can say that they’re actually going mono-grey, instead of these other schools wearing silver and calling it grey.
• Remember last week when I said that the pink IU helmet logo for the Hoosiers was to be an all-October thing? I spoke too soon.
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 Richard Paine, another Seahawk concepter who missed the deadline:
Big Fan. I saw that the Seahawk redesign competition is already up, but I took a few minutes and threw together a few ideas.
1. Remove the neon green and replace with smoke mist grey.
2. Clean up the look with non-monotone home and away jerseys and pants.
3. Smoke mist grey helmets.
Anyway, just a thought.
Here is another late addition. This time I took some Oregon U colors and adopted them to the Seahawks.
In the two-hole is Andrew Riehle, who was also late for the contest. In the words of the immortal Kenny Mayne, “Those who are late do not get soup.”
And we end the weekend with another NFL concept, from Marc Gilbert this one for your Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Here’s my concept for an update to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although unique, I was never a fan of the Pewter, so I ditched it–keeping the current logo and going with a deep orange and burgundy scheme.
– Marc Gilbert
That’s all folks. Check back next weekend for more.
by Rick Pearson
Oh, like with the truth he had a shot…
And…as always — the full size.
Tracking The 2011 MLB Playoffs
Alex Rocklein is back…so let’s put ‘em in the books!
Only one game was played last evening, and it was a big Game Six between the red-capped Rangers (IMHO their best look) and the Detroit Tigers. Unfortunately, for Detroit, it wasn’t much of a game, as the Rangers just exploded offensively, putting up a 9-spot early on, enabling them to coast to victory and return to the World Series for the second straight year. The Rangers rode their lucky red caps over white tops to three straight home victories (and four straight if you count the Rays series). Look for that in the Series as well.
Alex has now updated his 2011 MLB Playoff Tracker to reflect all the games so far. Tonight, the Wild Card Cardinals look to advance to the Series, but they have to win at least one game in Milwaukee. Fasten your seatbelts everyone. Baseball’s not done yet.
Jim Vilk’s 5 & 1
And now for the part of the post that
I wait up all night for you’ve all been waiting for…
And it was pretty late when I got this…again. And you know the Ducks, despite looking outstanding (albeit not in school colors — big shock), won’t even sniff the “5″. Here’s Movi:
Terp Tracker — Really…just wear the yellow pants every week.
Honorable Mentions to Michigan
/Michigan State — How about making these the permanent road unis?
Oklahoma/NebraskaIndiana/Wisconsin — Why don’t you guys run the wishbone while you’re at it?
5. Navy/Rutgers — That’s right, SCARLET Knights…wear that scarlet proudly.
4. BYU/Oregon State — OSU’s pants are borderline, but everything else in this game looks great.
3. Florida/Auburn — Florida’s awesome pants canceled out Auburn’s blech pants.
2. Alabama/Ole Miss — Even without the red jerseys, this looks fantastic.
1. Western Kentucky/Florida Atlantic — Would have been a great week for WKU to break out the red pants, but still…WOW.
And the bad one: Utah State/Fresno State — Lucky for Phil that Arizona State looked so good, or his Ducks would be here.
You’re nuts Vilk. Oregon & ASU was an outstandingly good looking game…worthy of a spot in the top 5, not the 1. Good thing it wasn’t there or this might have been your last 5 & 1.
And that will do it for today. You may have noticed the absence of the Duck Tracker the past two weekends. Unfortunately Jake has been unable to create the graphics for it, but we hope to be all up-to-date for next weekend. Thanks for your patience.
Today in the league where they play for pay — the Packers will be wearing their 1929-era throwbacks. I did a pretty intricate look at those last March, before they wore them in actual game play — you can check it out here if you’re so inclined. My only complaint, after last year’s game, was the helmet — I wish they had done something like this, or, failing that, gone with a mashup featuring gold helmets and pants. Still, should be nice to see again. Further info here.
Everyone have a super Sunday, and I’ll catch ya next weekend.
Dude, if you thought MSU looked good today, then you must think black socks go with brown dress shoes. — Jim Vilk