By Phil Hecken
This post has been more than two months in the making. And it’s worth the wait. Unlike last weekend, when my guest author and I enjoyed a civilized discourse, today’s guest author likes to mix it up a bit. That’s right, it’s none other than Natty Bagger himself, Robert Marshall.
Now, friends, you know of Mr. Marshall’s obsession with B1G football (I mean, look at that ball, and poor, poor hapless Michigan — he doesn’t even have the sense to cover his nuts). Robert made all those.
You also know of Robert’s genius with bobbleheads (yeah, he made all those too)…even one of/for me (look, it moves) — and of course, you must know of the care and precision and love that goes into each and every bobble.
But did you ever wonder what happens to all that extra mold? And did you ever wonder where Mr. Marshall has been these past several months? ‘Twas a self-imposed hiatus that ends today as Michigan and Ohio State meet in The Game (with apologies to Conn). It began on Labor Day when Paul ran this column — and now — that genius infographic is finally ready for prime time.
by Robert Marshall
This is going to be a bit dryer then my usual writing, but do not be alarmed, my brain-pan is as dented as ever, but I want to be as succinct as possible. Has this not been a great college football season? Tons of great games, and conference champions will soon be crowned. No championship, not even a national title is more important to me then a Big Ten championship, and no game means more to me then the game against, as I should call them on this day, that team up north. Now I am not trying to say that the THE-scUM game is the best rivalry in the country, it is not, the best rivalry is the one you are a part of, but even those who are Big Ten detractors have to admit like most rivalry games, it is a helluva game every year no matter if the teams are #1 and #2 like they were in 2006 or not. So in that spirit I tried to make a sort of 3D infographic showing the history of the Big Ten through what would be important to any Ohio State or Michigan fan. The piece shows which the 13 teams (remember U of Chicago) won the conference, whether that team went on to win the Rose Bowl, and who won “the” game for every season. But there are a few extras as well, so let’s get down to it.
I wanted the piece to look like it was started in the 40’s, have a real retro feel, so I made my cherub sculpture to reflect that, and then I made my molds. Every time I would go to pour a bobble head, if I had a little extra plaster, I would pour some of cherubs for this project, which 4 years later is not completely finished, but close enough to show on this rivalry Saturday. Sometimes I would put bricks on them, or wrap them super tight just to give the figures some personality. As for the uniforms, again, I wanted it to have a 40’s feel, so I gave the two teams as much as a 40′ feel as possible. Michigan was easy, the home uniform has had few changes over the years except for colour shades, especially since the establishment of the winged helmet in 1938. The Buckeyes were trickier since I couldn’t use the Woody Hayes uniforms, but ultimately I decided more or less on a Bill Willis/Les Horvath era look. Obviously the team winning at home or on the road, effects which uniform the team is in. If the two teams did not play, the figures are in a green uniform to blend into the background. As with that other image, you can see here if the teams did not play, but still won the conference, despite being green, they still reflect the teams uniform, but without defeating each other, it is a shallow conference win, so again, they are allowed to recede into the background. You can also see in that image that if they tied like the 0-0 game in 1900, both uniforms are on the figure, if one team won the conference despite a tie, the team that won the conference’s uniform is shown because by virtue of the tie, they still accomplished their ultimate goal, and it also helps to show the conference winner with less confusion.
I needed to set the shelving so it would be sturdy, so it just made sense to group them in fours since there are four classes, and I started the timeline with cherubs depicting when the two teams first started (1879 & 1890) playing what would eventually morph into what we now think of as football in front of the lily white virginal roses. Next to that I show when all the Big Ten teams either established what we now call the Big Ten or joined it, and as you can see with the 1896 figure next to them the team that won the conference, in this case Wisconsin, gets a little nub above the heads of the game winner because that is ultimately more important then the one game. If the conference winner went to the Rose Bowl and won there is a red rose, a loss shows a pink rose.
Each player gets his “personality” from what happened in both the game and the season. Obviously the jersey number is the year, in this case 1933, and the score of the ball game with the winner listed first is on the base, this is from the 2006 1-2 match-up. If the player has a green base, they did not win the Big Ten, just “the” game. If the player has a blue base they were conference champions, outright or shared. If the base is gold a recognised national title was earned. In addition to the base, if a national title of some sort was earned, their heads are cocked upwards.
As for the Rose Bowl, if the team won the game, they are surrounded by red roses, if they lost pink roses. If the team was denied their spot in the Rose Bowl because of sanction, the old no repeat rule, or because they were in the national title game instead, they are given black mourning roses. If Ohio State beat Michigan and the Wolverines went on to play in the Rose anyway, then they stand on a bed of blue roses. If the opposite is true then Michigan stands on grey roses. White roses are used in addition to red and pink in 1901 and 1920 to show again each teams first Rose Bowl appearance. The final use of the roses is for stadium dedications–in 1922 for the Horseshoe, and 1927 for the Big House. You will notice that the roses do not wrap around the base, but the reason for this is after Michigan ruined the Ohio stadium dedication a horseshoe of yellow roses was painted in the stadium, and I believe they are still there today, they were when I was in school in the late 80’s.
I am sure by this time you have noticed that some of the faces are beat up, and there is of course a reason for that too. If the face has a scar, be it under blood or not, and I believe there are 22ish of these, the game directly effected if either team won the conference. if the player has one black eye, one of the teams was ranked in the top 5 at the time of the game, two black eyes and both teams were in the top 5. All of the figures have blue eyes unless they beat Notre Dame in a bowl game and ruined their end of the season, in this case you get green eyes. If the player is looking down the team either got a coach fired (Cooper) or lost (Bruce) a coach.
There are a couple of unique faces. One is for the 1950 “snow bowl” in Columbus when a freak snow storm hit. The buckeyes were given the choice of cancelling the game and going to Pasadena or playing it, and they chose to play, and Michigan won the game 9-3 without ever getting a first down earning the trip to Pasadena for themselves. The second unique face is on 2010, and I think we know why this is, last years vacated game, and you will notice that his head is pointed down, not only for the shame, but the loss of Tressel.
There are a few additions specifically of uni note. 1934 is wearing gold pants because of coach Schmidt’s famous “they put their pants on just like we do” line that started not only a 4 game winning streak that saw the Bucks outscore the Wolverines 112-0, but the now infamous gold pants issued to Ohio State players after victories. Next up, the winged helmet that Ohio State first wore in 1930, and Michigan adopted in 1938. I find it amusing that Michigan trademark was actually first worn years earlier by the Buckeyes, but there is similar payback in the other direction later, and you can see the silver and gold wings on the 1930 and 1938 helmets for the buckeyes and wolverines respectively. The final uniform acknowledgement is 1967 when Ohio first revealed their Buckeye leaf merit decals.
At the top of the piece is a row of white figures that are for future games. You will note that they are all cream coloured, and slightly green except the last one which is again lily white. The idea was that there are 150 figures for the first 150 meeting, and then the final figure was to be looking off into the future, but last years vacated game pretty much screwed that up.
I believe that sums everything up, but I will monitor the comments every so often today to answer any questions, except when the game is on, but before I wrap up there are a few things not on this “infographic”, but that is only because I have not figured out how to resolve them. The first of which is the colour barrier which Ohio state broke in 1929 with Dr. William M. Bell, and Michigan broke in 1932 with Willis Ward. I am thinking the resolution could be as easy a making the cherubs African-American, each team did win in their colour breaking year, but that seems a bit too easy.
I also want to include each teams Academic All Americans, 25 for Ohio and 17 for Michigan. You will notice that there is no inclusion of any individual players name, just the numbers for the years and the hope that you won in the year of your favourite or biggest players which in the case of Archie Griffin and Tommy Harmon is a fail. The “Griffin” image also shows Indiana LONE Big Ten title.
The final addition is the beginning of script Ohio, which was actually first performed by the Michigan band in 1932. While they did not do the moving script, it was in fact performed 4 years before The Best Damn Band In The Land performed it in 1936. I find it amusing that Michigan first performed the script and Ohio State first wore the wings, two images so iconic to the other schools. Again I have not figured out how to resolve this, what I want are small brass or metal instruments, preferably sousaphones obviously, but I would settle for any instrument really.
I have a second project that I have started working on as well. once again it will be in the old printer box style, but the compartments will be of different sizes, and you will see why. The box will house sections where “trophies” can be placed. While these are still in the sculpture state, and have not been poured, painted and attached to wood where applicable, you can see the beginning stages. Some of you will recognise some of them, and notice I have not made them all. You will also notice that there are some things in the lower right that I may also use. Not sure who will play for the squirrel and acorns, but the keg of beer will be for the Michigan State-Ohio State game since my brother graduated from MSU. In addition to the trophies, there are figures for all the Big Ten teams who you will be able to move around the box. I am open to any suggestions for how to handle games between teams who don’t play for an actual trophy. Obviously Buckeye games could have a nut as the trophy, but others are not as easy, so if anyone is aware of some interesting information about two schools that may be of use, I would indeed be interested.
On the way out, I am sure at least a few of you will be wondering if you can have or buy some of these cherubs so that you can have one for your favourite team, but these are not and will not be for sale. However, I am interested in trading for beat buttons from any team, maybe we can swap.
Tremendous, tremendous stuff, Robert. Even though I’m *betting* on Michigan, I’ll be rooting for the scarlet & gray today.
Stanford’s Amateur Pacifist Costumes
We’re almost through with swooshie’s
toy combat amateur pacifist costumes for this season (the Army/Navy game will feature both teams in surprisingly good-looking one-offs), but today Stanford takes on the Irish with their own pro combat uni. As you know, I hate the idea of one-offs, but some of them, based solely on how they look as a uniform (discounting such novel things like history, tradition and school colors) don’t look too bad. Unfortunately, Stanford ain’t one of ’em.
The helmet, which looks to be black or very dark gray with a red “S” at least comes in an attractive matte finish, and thick red stripe. Now, Stanford’s topper normally looks like this, even when they do their inane and trendy black for black’s sake uniforms. You think they may repurpose this new helmet for use with the BFBS togs down the line?
The rest of the “uniform” isn’t so hot. The jersey is a nice deep cardinal color (almost crimson/maroon), and the numbers appear to be gray outlined in white (or very light gray). That’s where the goodness ends. They’re sporting a monochrome cardinal uniform, with black socks, and a special number font — which reminds me a bit of the Texas Rangers font. NOB will be black (and unless there’s a lot of sunlight, probably unlikely at night), probably very hard to read, and the comp sleeves will match the pants stripes. Of course, in typical pro combat style, the pants stripes don’t terminate at the waist (God forbid), but end so another Stanford “S” can ride free on the hips.
Hey, if Superman ever needed a new costume, I got one for him. Seriously, though, I know that’s just a compression jersey, but…really? And of course, there are the gloves. Nike did a’ight this year with their toy combat unis, but this one seems almost like an afterthought. Not as bad as Georgia, but close. C+.
The only question now becomes whether adidas will up the ante, like they did in the Irish/Wolverines game, and provide Notre Dame with another one-off of their own, or a combination of the 9-10-11 uni, the new gold dome, or the Maryland-game one-off. Or maybe the Irish will actually look like the Irish. But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it? With so many other games (good games) today, this one might slip beneath your radar, but it’s an 8:00 pm (ET) start, and it’ll be on ABC.
50 Years Ago…This Weekend
Back again with Rick Pearson who is here to bring us his look at the featured ABC television college football matchup from 50 years ago. As always, Rick documented the game via his “kid cards”. Here’s Rick to tell us about it.
Nov. 25, 1961…Ohio State at Michigan
It’s Ohio State/Michigan Saturday! Believe it not, these actually were considered Rivalry Unis for the only game on TV today. … No one-game specials required to improve the situation by “adding something” or “recalling the past”. … The game didn’t need anything extra and–as the game program shows–remembering wasn’t a problem, either. … We talked about the Buckeye roads earlier this season, that the shoulder yoke striping was added, while the homes were pretty basic. … Those shoulder stripes harked back to an earlier road uni, btw; this one from 1955. … The exterior padding on the helmet changed as years progressed, first stopping part way down the back, then later extending the full length … Michigan? Hey, it’s Michigan. Maize and blue with winged helmets. … And, yes, the helmet numbers were maize. I got that wrong. … Still struck by how big the front looks without a modern facemask covering part of it. … Neither Maentz nor Perdue played pro football (I always guessed Perdue might have been a chicken heir, but never knew for sure). … Ohio State won big, 50-20.
Great job, as always, Rick. Now, let THE GAME begin…
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 everyone’s favorite anonymous poster, The Hungry, Hungry Hipster, who has some tweaks for a tv station I’ve never seen…
I was looking at the NFL Network logo and I was curious what it would look like if some colors were swapped around. I thought it might look more balanced if the red panels in the football shape were moved from the bottom to the top and the blue panels from the top to the bottom.
I think the logo looks better this way, but I also made a tweak with alternating panels. I think I like this tweak the most. These aresmall adjustments but sometimes all it takes is a subtle change to make a big difference visually.
Next up is Ben Miller, who has tweaked the Zips. Yes, you read that right. Question is, would Jim Vilk wear these?
The University of Akron Football team is well on its way to another 1 win season. Its been said look good, feel good; feel good, play good. They play on the field may not change but a least they will look good. Here is what I think the Akron Blue & Gold should be wearing.
We close with Ruben Zendejas, who has an interesting concept…and a GREAT black & white photo for the colorizers to try their hand at:
I’m a big BYU fan and I love our classic uniforms, but i wouldn’t mind a one-off or a throwback now and then. I found this old photo from the 1920’s and thought it was interesting that they were using both shoulder yoke stripes and northwestern stripes. I made this as kind of a throw back uni. I also incorporated a couple different other logos from past eras in the gloves and helmet.
That’s it for today. Back with more tomorrow.
by Rick Pearson
But it has a great snowball fight…
And, here’s the full size.
And that will do it for today — just about the greatest day in College Football there is — couple title games still up for grabs, tons of big games (aside from OSU/UM), like the Iron Bowl and the Civil War today…just a great day to enjoy the games. Oh, and UCLA will be wearing a new costume (all white) for their fantastic rivalry game against USC — in a game that used to be color vs. color — WTF?
Everyone have a fantastic Saturday.
“Paging Mr. Marshall – we now need Globetrotters stirrups and Oswego hockey stirrups. Get to it.” — Jet