A Very Busy Day, but First: A Uni Watch Look at Rowing Blazers

Today is going to be a very busy day in the uni-verse. In the NBA, the Mavericks are going to reveal have revealed their alternate uniform for 2015-16 (that’s next season, not this coming season), plus another team that I can’t name will be unveiling a new alternate uni. a new Pelicans alternate has leaked. Meanwhile, the Capitals are slated to reveal have revealed their uniform for this season’s NHL Winter Classic.

I might do a bonus post on all of this later in the day, or maybe I’ll just wait until tomorrow. For now, though, we have something completely different: a guest entry from Jack Carlson, who’s going to enlighten us on the very interesting uniform history of an oft-overlooked sport. Enjoy.

An Introduction to Rowing Blazers

By Jack Carlson

Most of us have blazers hanging in our closets, but few people realize that the word “blazer” originates with the “blazing red” flannel jackets worn by a college rowing team, the Lady Margaret Boat Club. In the course of researching my new book, www.rowingblazers.com/ “>Rowing Blazers (Vendome Press), I actually had the pleasure of seeing the first known written use of the word “blazer” to refer to an article of clothing. It appears, in quotation marks, in an 1852 register of uniforms worn by each Cambridge college rowing club in one of the world’s oldest rowing competitions, the May Bumps.

Today, for better or worse, most blazers aren’t bright red, and the word has lost its strict association with rowing jackets. But the sport of rowing maintains its bright and bizarre blazer tradition, full of its own myths, rituals and anecdotes. I’ve spent the past four years traveling around the world to hear these stories firsthand and to photograph rowers –- from college teams to Olympic champions -– in their own piped, striped, trimmed and badged blazers.

Rowing blazers began as purely practical items. They were made to be worn in the boat and were among the first uniforms in college sport. Their absurd color combinations and garish stripes were designed to help spectators on distant shores tell which crew was which, and their thick wool flannel material and relaxed fit were designed to maximize warmth, comfort, and ease of motion while rowing on chilly mornings on the Thames or the Cam.

But very early in the history of the sport, rowers, like athletes in other sports and in more recent times, developed a special attachment to their gear. They began wearing their blazers on terra firma, where they served as signs of status and athletic prowess, not unlike varsity jackets and letterman sweaters.

The Henley Royal Regatta — the most prestigious rowing event in the world, currently celebrating its 175th anniversary — has helped the sport maintain its blazer tradition by enforcing a strict blazer-and-tie dress code in its spectator enclosure, thereby providing an annual five-day forum for oarsmen and -women to see and be seen in their club colors.

In many clubs, small details of the blazer have great significance among cognoscenti and serve as visual measures for what one has achieved in the sport. The Argo Rowing Club in the Netherlands, for example, uses a green blazer with pocket badge featuring a white ship, and a rower will use a needle and thread to stitch a small white wave beneath the ship each time he wins a race. If he wins a national title, he may embroider a small Dutch flag at the top of the ship’s mast [click to enlarge]:


At other clubs, these signifiers are less subtle. At the Hampton School Boat Club in England, a normal rowing blazer is bright yellow with black stripes. But those who have won “the treble” in the same year (the Schools’ Head of the River; the National Schools Regatta; and the Henley Royal Regatta) wear “Curtains Blazers,” which are literally cut from the burlap curtains that hung in the school’s Great Hall, emblazoned with rampant lions and Saxon crowns.

Rowing jackets range from the understated to the absurd, and it is difficult to say which end of the spectrum is more prestigious. The blazers worn by the top Oxford crew are plain dark blue with matching dark blue grosgrain trim. They have no pocket badge, out of respect for Oxford having the original “blue blazer.” The blazers of an elite rowing society at Cambridge, on the other hand, are striped light blue, magenta, black, red, yellow and indigo. The club’s ties, socks, caps, scarves, and even watchbands feature the same stripes.

A pattern I noticed while doing research for the book that might be especially interesting to Uni Watch readers (and is, undoubtedly, connected to rowing’s history as one of the world’s oldest collegiate sports) is the frequency with which university colors were derived from its rowing team’s colors, rather than vice-versa. Harvard’s crimson, for example, originates with the color of the school’s rowing team, selected in 1858. The dark blue of Oxford University comes from the color worn by the university’s crew in the 1829 Boat Race. Likewise, Cambridge University’s duck-egg light blue was adopted from the color worn by the crew that won the 1836 Boat Race by 20 lengths. Yale’s university color was green until the rowing team, which had been wearing dark blue jackets since the 1850s, prompted the university as a whole to adopt blue in 1894. And Georgetown’s rowing team took blue and gray as its colors in 1876 as a sign that the northern and southern boys in the crew would be “pulling together” (a reference to the Union and Confederate uniform colors during the Civil War). The university followed suit several years later.

All images are from Rowing Blazers by Jack Carlson and are copyright Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved.


Paul here. Big thanks to Jack for this highly educational entry. I’m looking forward to meeting him tonight at his book launch party, where I expect there will be plenty of photo-worthy blazers on hand. Full report to follow later this week.

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Boy, are these terrific or what? Don’t recall seeing a lot of logo socks back in the day. If I had, a Cowboys and Bengals pair woulda been in my sock drawer. But if you’re a Dolphins fan, these socks should be just the thing.

Here’s the rest of this week’s picks:

• Stay in shape with this 1970s- era NHL Hockey Player’s Conditioning Manual.

• Interesting set of 22 1970s NFL matchbook covers.

• And here’s a lot of six 1966-1967 NFL book covers.

• Here’s a set of four 1965 NFL placemats. The key deal here is, while you’re eating dinner, you can learn all about offensive formations. “Mom, Brown Right Over Flip Zac 73 Chicago F Arrow X Curl — and pass the salt.”

• Technigraph alert! This 1965 49ers plaque would look good on the wall at Uni Watch HQ in Brooklyn. Or at my house, come to think of it. (P.S. Here’s a Falcons helmet still in the 1960s shrinkwrap!)

• Here’s a Wilson promo photo of Packers RB Paul Hornung. No facemask!

• Bucco Bruce is front and center on this 1970s Tampa Bay Buccaneers kids spiral notebook.

• Hmmm, why would a Pirates bobblehead be wearing red and green?

• I like how “CHIEFS” is emblazoned on the chest of this Wilson-branded jersey. Wonder why NFL teams haven’t done this? This ad says 1970s, but the uniform number suggests that it might have been made for Joe Cool’s time with the team (1993-1994).

• Nice 1970s San Diego Chargers poster by Stancraft. This one ends tonight!
(The seller has more here.)

• Seen plenty of these 1960s-1970s NFL helmet banks before- but never a Broncos version.

• This auction is for a pair of 1969 caricature drawings of Cowboys greats Chuck Howley and Bob Lilly. I think the artist missed the mark.

• Staying with the Cowboys, here’s a 1971 promo poster of “Bullet” Bob Hayes. No team markings on this one.

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’Skins Watch: As you know, ’Skins Watch now runs only on Fridays, but this can’t wait: The new season of South Park begins tomorrow, and they’re apparently going to address the ’Skins situation. This teaser video reportedly aired during Sunday’s Eagles/’Skins game, but only in the DC market:

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E-book reminder: In case you missed it yesterday, our friends at Diversion Books are currently offering Uni Watch readers a special $2.49 price on Mike Shropshire’s excellent book The Ice Bowl. Full details here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker

A joint effort by Garrett McGrath and Paul

Baseball News: Giants CEO Larry Baer talked on a podcast about how ads on MLB uniforms could become a reality under new commissioner Rob Manfred (thanks, Phil). … The Washington Post has a great piece about the traveling secretary and clubhouse staff with plenty of uni details (from David Goodfriend). … Back in 1966, an umpiring team’s uniforms were lost, so they had to wear pink Yankee Stadium ushers’ shirts and Yankees caps (great find by Todd Radom).

NFL News: The NFL logo was missing from Jets safety Antonio Allen’s jersey last night (from Matt Harris and Ross Hazlett). … Someone at Sunday’s Bills game was wearing OJ Simpson “Guilty” NOB jersey (from Brady Phelps). … Teddy Bridgewater switched from white gloves in the first half to black gloves in the second on Sunday (from Wesley Eustis). … The 1964 Dr. Pepper Bottler Meetings program featured a beautiful cover photo of an old Cowboys/Steelers game (thanks, Phil). … As you know, the Chargers have a yellow stripe on their socks. But Malcolm Floyd has two yellow stripes — one high and one low (from Jared Buccola). … Bears LB Jonathan Bostic wears No. 57. But is the 7 bigger than the 5? Sure looks that way (from Frank Mercogliano).

College Football News: The University of Louisville unveiled a gray and red uniform that they will be wearing at home against Florida State on Oct. 30 (thanks, Brinke). … Jameis Winston coming out in his full uniform for warm-ups on Saturday was a “miscommunication,” according to Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. … “I noticed during last Saturday’s Michigan/Utah game that when Utah QB Travis Wilson went down with an injury in the second quarter, one of the Utah athletic trainers was wearing a fanny pack with the Fiesta Bowl logo,” says Sean Lewis. “Utah has only appeared in the Fiesta Bowl one time (2005). I won’t go as far to suggest that the fanny pack was from that trip, but I can’t possibly think of another reason why a trainer would have something like that.” … Nebraska will be wearing those “Red Rising” unis Saturday night against Illinois. … 1968 throwbacks on tap this weekend for Virginia (thanks, Phil). … With Arizona State slated to do the blackout thing this weekend, here’s a look back at previous ASU blackout games (Phil again). … Here’s a good look at Navy’s 1963 “Beat Army” helmets, which also had helmet NOBs (from Erkki Corpuz).

Hockey News: Here’s a view of the All-Star Game patch on the Blue Jackets’ jersey. … The Calgary Hitmen wore their Bret Hart-inspired sweaters on Saturday (from Mike Styczen). … Great story from Graham Clayton, who writes: “In 1995 Sweden issued a stamp commemorating the country’s victory over Canada in the Gold Medal game at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. The stamp shows Peter Forsberg scoring against Canadian goalie Corey Hirsch. While Forsberg gave his permission for his image to feature on the stamp, Hirsch declined. Stamp designer Lars Sjööblom got around this by changing Hirsch’s uniform from red to blue and changing his number from 1 to 11.”

NBA News: A shot from a preseason photo shoot reveals that the Hawks have changed their chest insignia from the team name to the city name. As you can see, they’ve also removed the secondary logo on the right leg of the shorts, added the Pac-Man logo to the left leg, and moved the NBA logo from the left leg the upper-right thigh. (And of course they’ve also moved the NBA logo on the jersey from the front to the back, but that’s a league-wide thing.)

College Hoops News: The North Carolina State Wolfpack unveiled their new men’s basketball uniforms yesterday (thanks, Phil). … The Siena College Saints have new uniforms for the upcoming season as well. Look at those shorts! … Western Kentucky is asking for fan input on an alternate jersey design (thanks, Phil).

Grab Bag: “This past weekend I had the pleasure of being in Wisconsin,” says reader George Nikas. “I saw this sign in a local bar. I love the use of the logos, but the best part of it was that it’s carved in wood (or out of wood).” … A Detroit-area mom and daughter have been charged with putting a huge penis image on a local football field. … Melbourn Squash Club’s new logo tried to capture the essence of the sport without showing a racket. Interesting stuff (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Here’s a gallery of national cycling kits from the recent under-23 world championships (from Sean Clancy).

Monday Morning Uni Watch

Good morning, and happy autumnal equinox. As you can see at right, 49ers tailback Frank Gore took his signature biker shorts look to a new level yesterday. Okay, so it was only for pregame warm-ups, but still. Click on the photo, if you dare, to the get the full effect.

In other news from around the league yesterday:

• For the second time in three games, the Panthers wore their blue alternate jerseys. So the season is only three weeks old and they’ve already used up their allotment of alternate uni games.

• If the Cardinals are wearing their BFBS alts, shouldn’t coach Bruce Arians wear black instead of red?

• As you may have heard, former Titans kicker Rob Bironas died on Saturday. Tennessee didn’t add a memorial decal for him yesterday, but I suspect that will addressed prior to next Sunday’s game against the Colts.

• The Eagles once again wore white at home. My understanding is that they they will have to play at least three more games before their green jerseys are ready.

• Other teams wearing white at home (as a matter of choice, not necessity): the Dolphins, Browns, Jaguars, Saints, and Rams.

• At some point I’ll stop mentioning this every week, but for now I’m still amazed that the Chiefs are sticking with blank nose bumpers.

• Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch had one of his braids ripped out during a tackle, and didn’t seem to mind too much.

• Surprised to see Jags coach Gus Bradley and Colts coach Chuck Pagano sharing a pregame bro shake. I thought coaches use regular handshakes.

• Mike Williams of the Bills wore red socks (or red tights, or red tape, or something). He also did that in training camp, so apparently he really likes going red below the knee.

• Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward’s uni number was coming loose.

• Finally, there’s this: Last night the Panthers played the Steelers. And the day before that, the Pitt Panthers played a team that looks like the Steelers (i.e, Iowa). An interesting parallel!

(My thanks to all contributors, including Jeff Flynn, Seth Moorman, Chris Perrenot, and Jason Yates.)

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Click to enlarge

PermaRec update: I’ve just become aware of a truly spectacular storytelling project involving hundreds of old police mug shots from one town — New Castle, Pennsylvania. Get the full scoop in the latest entry on Permanent Record.

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New eBook Offer! Earlier this year we ran a very successful promotion around the e-version of Mike Shropshire’s classic baseball book Seasons in Hell. Now we have a new offer on another Shropshire e-title: The Ice Bowl, which is the definitive book on the legendary 1967 NFL title game and the season that led up to it. Believe me, if you’ve had enough of all the nonsense going on in the NFL lately, this book is a nice antidote.

Our friends at Diversion Books are once again offering a special price point for Uni Watch readers: $2.49, which is absolutely the lowest price currently available on the web and a full 50% off what you’ll find at Amazon, B&N, and so on. You can learn more about the book and download your copy here.

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Screen shot 2009-10-04 at 10.07.15 PM.png

Culinary Corner: On several occasions over the past year I’ve mentioned that I’m very fond of the smoked turkey tails served at Morgan’s, a barbecue restaurant in my neighborhood. I like them so much than I wanted to make my own — I figured I’d order some turkey tails from a butcher and then took them in my smoker.

The only problem was that I couldn’t find a New York butcher that could procure the tails for me. Last fall I called a bunch of places (including Ottonanelli’s, which specializes in game birds, unusual cuts, etc.), but they all told me, “Sorry — can’t get ’em.” So then I asked Morgan’s where they get theirs, but they wouldn’t tell me.

I wasn’t thinking about any of this when I headed to Philadelphia two days ago to see this program of vintage sex ed films (which was excellent, by the way). About six hours prior to the show, I stopped in at the excellent Reading Terminal Market, which features all sorts of food vendors. Naturally, I gravitated toward the butcher counters, one of which featured an offering that got me very, very excited (click to enlarge):


Now, I had tried to source raw tails last fall, not smoked — I was going to smoke them myself. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t have been able to carry a bunch of raw tails around with me all day — they would have gone bad. I didn’t have to worry about that with the pre-smoked tails.

I bought four pounds, which turned out to be 15 tails. Once I got them home, I warmed one of them in the oven and dove in. The verdict: They’re good (very smoky!), but I have to admit that they’re not as good as the ones at Morgan’s. I think this is due to two reasons:

• The tails I bought are larger than the ones served at Morgan’s, which may explain why they’re a bit tougher.

• Morgan’s fries the tails after smoking them. I could do this to the tails I bought, of course. Maybe I will.

Meanwhile, I’d still rather find raw tails and smoke them myself. But for now, this has been a good intermediate step.

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Sticker reminder: In case you missed it on Friday, the Uni Watch 15th-anniversary logo is now available as a high-quality vinyl sticker, suitable for plastering on the surface of your choice. Wanna get one (or more than one)? Full details here.

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Baseball News: It’s rookie hazing season, at least for the Mets. … Several Pirates wore two-in-ones yesterday, while pitcher Vance Worley wore genuine stirrups. The weird thing is that the stripe patterns didn’t match (thanks, Phil). … “On Saturday I did some volunteer work at the Long Island Ronald McDonald House and came across their amazing Mets-themed room,” says Gordon Blau. “They get professional decorators to do these, and it shows. One of the staff members said the designer knew nothing about baseball; he had to research everything from scratch. Pretty impressive work, considering!”

NFL News: During last Thursday’s Falcons/Bucs game, they showed a graphic that including photos of Matt Ryan, Dan Marino, and Peyton Manning. The weird thing is that the logo on Marino’s helmet — and maybe on Manning’s as well, although it’s hard to be sure — was blanked out (good spot by Treg Harris). … Remember when Terrell Suggs came out wearing a gladiator’s helmet prior to the Ravens’ second game? Turns out he’s been fined for that (thanks, Phil). … Washington QB Kirk Cousins is another athlete who wears the Qalo wedding band. If you’re not familiar with the Qalo, look here (from Tommy Turner). … Not sure I’ve seen this before: Texans center Chris Myers wears a fingerless glove on his snapping hand (from Seth Shaw). … DirecTV has one Sunday Ticker commercial featuring a guy in a Falcons jersey with Michael Vick’s old number and another commercial featuring Adrian Peterson. I’m assuming they’re still putting the finishing touches on the ad with the Ray Rice elevator video (from Dave Soline and Joseph Bailey). … John Oliver did an NFL segment last night, and he used an odd hybrid of the NFL logo: current design on top, but the old lettering on the bottom (good spot by Ferdinand Cesarano).

College Football News: NC State’s stadium has a display of North Carolina high school football helmets (from John Cole). … Serious uni number malfunctions on Saturday for Georgia Southern defensive lineman Jay Ellison. “Gotta love Adidas jerseys,” says Luke Parks. … Nebraska-Kearney did the flag-desecration thing on Saturday (from Jason Johnson). … Scott Ylinen notes that the numbers on the West Virginia scoreboard now match the font of the team’s uni numbers.

Hockey News: The Flyers’ 2012 Winter Classic jersey is now their third jersey. I’ll have more to say about this, and also about the Pens’ new third jersey, in an ESPN piece that will run either later today or tomorrow.

NBA News: Remember how the Mavericks were running a design contest to get some chump to design the team’s uniform for free to create the team’s 2015-16 uniform? The winning design will be unveiled tomorrow at 1pm Eastern. This will be the design for next season, not this coming season, which means it might be one of the earliest unveilings ever. … Also, I have it on good authority that another NBA team will unveiling a new alternate uni tomorrow. Can’t tell you which team, though. … New logos for the D-League’s Idaho Stampede.

Soccer News: “I was wondering why Sunday’s Manchester City vs. Chelsea game looked off,” writes Ben O’Connell. “Then I realized it was (sky) blue vs. (royal) blue. A quick Google search shows that usually the away team wears its second or third kits, but there have been occasions when both teams wore their home kits. Makes you wonder why American sports are so opposed to color vs. color.” … Terrible-looking G.I. Joe uni numbers and NOBs for Toronto FC (from Mark Sencich). … When AS Roma striker Gervinho removes his headband, it turns out he has a surprising hairline (from Alex Cohen). … Man U midfielder Angel de Maria keeps a photo of his wife and daughter inside his sock (from Jason Fetty).

Grab Bag: Here’s something I don’t think I’ve seen before: a bowling shirt for Canadian five-pin bowling (big thanks to Dave Kuruc). … “I noticed that the roof camera housing on NASCAR cars changed sometime this year,” says David Firestone. “The old configuration was a circular piece of metal on the roof near the front, but that has since changed to a teardrop-shaped configuration.” … You like these uniforms? That’s a screen shot from a 1970s roller derby match. As you can see from that link, MeTV will be making more of these matches available on a weekly basis — good stuff! (Big thanks to Steve Dodell.) … Yesterday afternoon I went to the Queens Museum to check out an exhibit on memorabilia from the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs. There were several uniforms on display, including this tour guide’s uni. In addition to the trylon and perisphere sleeve patch, the trylon/perisphere also appeared on the front buttons and the epaulet buttons. I also liked this press aide’s blazer. … “In 1961, Ferrari loaned a car to local driver Olivier Gendebien for the Belgian Grand Prix,” writes Graham Clayton. “The car was painted in the Belgian national racing colors of all yellow, which made it different from Ferrari’s traditional all-red paint scheme.”

Sunday Morning Uni Watch

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at West Virginia

By Phil Hecken

Coupla teams busted out new unis yesterday, including the Oklahoma Sooners (seen above), who wore what were described at their introduction as their “Bring The Wood” uniforms. You can read a bit more about those here. Can’t say I’m a fan, and for a while, it looked like the Mountaineers of West Virginia were going to take down the Sooners, but in they end the uniforms proved winners. The Ducks of Oregon also finally wore their black Mach Speed tops, combining those with the yellow helmet and pants for their matchup with Wazzu.

For the rest of yesterday’s action, here’s TJ Duroncelet.

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Sunday Morning Uni Watch
By Terry Duroncelet

Ive been having some weird dreams as of late. this past Tuesday, I had a dream about warming up with the Dodgers and Ice Cube. A couple of nights before that, I had this oddball dream about the Yankees throwing a parade and me dying (can’t give you an explanation on that one). And just about 24 hours ago, I dreamt that Florida State was playing in last night’s game against Clemson, but they started on defense in garnet helmets with gold facemasks (which is what they currently have, but with a black gradient), and when they switched to offense, you could actually see the team switching to their usual gold helmets, but they looked more shiny gold than normal, almost like Notre Dame’s helmets. They were even penalized for delay of game! Why am I telling you this? Because apparently, my dreams had more action than yesterday’s games, at least, in terms of uniforms. There wasn’t even any major news from Thursday or Friday’s games, so let’s jump straight into Saturday’s games…

• Small image, but Duke wore retro helmets against Tulane. I’m normally not a fan of brush script, but I think I’ll let this one slide.

• Speaking of fancy lids, Wisconsin brought back the red helmets against Bowling Green.

• Utah wore all-white against Michigan. Also, I couldn’t get a good photo or anything, but apparently, Michigan DL Ryan Glasgow literally came out of his shoes when trying to pursue the Utah QB.

• Well, it’s about time that Northwestern started mixing up their home look! Apparently, this is the first time in a while (if not ever) that they’ve worn white shoes. Loved the socks, too.

• Rutgers wore white helmets with flag decals against Navy.

• Yeesh, here’s hoping Syracuse never wears white/navy/navy ever again.

• Cincinnati wore mono-red with black helmets against Miami (Ohio). The helmet stripe looks to be new. Also, the RedHawks looked to have been wearing a new helmet (just keep clicking “larger” to blow up the image), similar to what Boise State and Arizona State wear often.

• Oklahoma wore their road alternates for the first time against West Virginia. They would’ve been solid if not for the crimson thorns near the armpits. The number font is something I could possibly see on the primary uniforms.

• Vanderbilt altered their “Anchor Down” uniforms in time for their game against South Carolina.

• Colgate wore new helmets on Saturday.

• I don’t normally cover Oregon too much (Tim does a great job of that), but I want to mention the Oregon/WASU game for two reasons: one being that Oregon looked like what would happen if you combined Mach Speed Oregon with the Steelers, which made the splash photo Paul used not too long ago all the more appropriate. The second thing is that Washington State wore all-white at home.

• Florida State followed through on their promise to fix the color on the helmets. They look to be in the classic colors from last year, with a matte facemask. Also, Clemson wore orange pants.

• Arizona wore a new white helmet for their white out game against Cal.

That’s about it for this week. Tune in next time for what looks to be the last Saturday before… THE PINKENING. See you next week.

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Thanks, TJ. Catch you next Sunday.


OSU 5 and 1 5 & 1
Comrade Marshall’s…

Five and One

Last weekend Comrade Robert Marshall filled in for the 5 & 1 in a pinch, and while it was awesome, we both knew that if he had had a full week of prep time, he could make it even better. Well, now is that time.

Catherine is fine and will return to Five and One duties shortly — I had actually planned on giving a few other folks a shot at the 5 & 1 this year, so this is just one of those times. There will probably be a guest 5 & 1 from time to time as well.

Anyway…here’s Comrade Marshall with your …

. . . . .

Five & One
By Robert Marshall

Thanks slaps this week was brutal!

Full Texas for Arizona, Washington State, and others. It works for the Longhorns, Auburn and some others but not for Arizona. Horrible choices for the Orange-boys that had no orange, and Rutgers which clearly loves this country more then your school(you should feel shame).Welcome to 2005 Wyoming! And then there is Oklahoma,. Bah-ha-ha-ha! pathetic. So let’s try to find 5 decent games….

5. Clemson-Florida State: FSU was improved, and Clemson was element of orange short of a full on nudge. This game might have been higher if I didn’t have to see Jameis every 5 seconds. Kids make mistakes, adults make me sick.

4. Alabama-Florida: Not only is it classic, but I love that the Florida striping is closet OCD. Does not matter the element for Florida or it’s base colour, it’s white-blue-orange ranger pattern

3. Washington-Georgia State: Um, i would change this subtly, but stick with gold-purple-gold.

2. Minnesota-San Jose State: Try to say it isn’t purdy.

1. Michigan Tech-Saginaw Valley: That’s how bad the week was, and that’s how much I have the stick-up for Michigan Tech.

Honorable mentions:

Just out because there was a lot of black… Oregon state-San Diego State.

Just missed… LSU-MSU missed on the classic side (Peaches!),

…and the contrast special of the week Nebraska-Miami should have been in there.

and one

Syracuse-Maryland: How about some orange Syrcause, and how about being clever instead of literal Maryland? Just awful.

. . .

Thanks, Robert!


Duck Tracker

Each week, as we have done on Uni Watch for the past five seasons, we’ll be tracking the uniform combinations of the Oregon Ducks. Back for his third season is Tim E. O’Brien, who’ll show you what the Ducks wore in their last game, and add a few words of wisdom.

Here’s Tim E. with the DT (click to enlarge)…

Duck Tracker Week 4

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Tim was “Super Busy” yesterday, so he’s unable to say anything (not that there is much that needs to be said) about the Ducks new uniforms (or at least new tops) last evening. But the Ducks went with yellow/black/yellow, breaking out their new “Mach Speed” tops — interestingly they did so on the road at Washington State, so the folks in Autzen have yet to see the black tops in the flesh. I’m sure they won’t need to wait too long.

Tim will be back next weekend with a writeup, I expect.

As usual, things are updated over at the Duck Tracker and on twitter (@DuckTracker). You can also follow my Northwestern (@NUniTracker) and Indiana (@Hoosier_Tracker) trackers.


EPL Tracker

Each Saturday, Alex Gerwitz will be tracking the kit combinations (shirt/shorts/socks) of the teams in the English Premier League from the previous weekend.

Here is the EPL tracker for Weeks 4 & 5 (click to enlarge):

EPL Tracker Weeks 4 & 5


Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: The Royals and Tigers are involved in a very tight pennant race (the Royals are trying to make the post season for the first time since 1985, I’m pretty certain), so you’d expect to see lots of fans in Royals gear at the game right? You could also find Waldo (great grab by Andrew Guydos). … The Padres wore their brown throwbacks again yesterday, and it sure looks nice when they get the sanis and stirrups right (h/t Patrick Kurish).

NFL News: “My daughter received her Teen Vogue magazine this month with an NFL merchandise tie in,” writes Joseph Bailey. “She told me she thought it was ironic to receive it this week with all the domestic violence stuff that has been happening.” … While I’m not certain whether the Dolphins will be going “all aqua” today (they’re calling for an “Aqua Out” by the fans), you may recall the team first went mono-aqua in 2002 against da Bears. They also went full aqua in 2003 and 2004, according to the Gridiron Uniform Database. … Wow, how long have the Bills had this new uni set? Apparently it’s news to San Diego (h/t Trevor Tierney).

NBA News: This appears to be a rejected look from 2005 when the Indiana Pacers switched from the pinstripes to their current design (from Robert Silverman). “Never seen this one before,” he adds.

Hockey News: The Buffalo Sabres might not have the best uniforms in the NHL, but they just may have the best women’s bathroom signage of ALL the leagues (great spot by AINKriet).

Grab Bag: Due to excessive heat at the Kyalami circuit for the 1978 South African Grand Prix, the pit crew for Arturio Merzario’s Merzario A1 worked on the car wearing shorts, swimming trunks or underwear (from Graham Clayton). … Reader Terence Kearns entitled his email “Kobe Lamela?” and went on to say, “So, Tottenham Hotspur Argentinian superstar Eric Lamela wore a Kobe Bryant full kit to get his haircut. No. Words.” … At last night’s Columbus Crew game they inducted Frankie Hejduk into their Ring of Honor. After they did that they honored him by waving these flags that resemble all the uniforms Hejduk wore when he played with the Crew (from Ryan Robey). … John Vittas saw this “Chargers” logo on a company sign the other day by his place of business in Fort Worth, TX. “Not very original,” John notes.


And that’s it for today. Everyone have a good Sunday. Back at ya next week.

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken


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“The Oilers, Islanders, and Flyers all introduced retro jerseys as thirds that gradually became their full-time uniforms, so it’s possible the Pens could continue that trend. And I, for one, hope that they do.”

— Rob S.


WFL Contest Entries - The Progressions

Charlotte Hornets 7 - Steve B. Creations

By Phil Hecken, with Aaron Johnson

You’ll recall about a month ago, Aaron Johnson and I took a look back at the World Football League (which would have turned 40 this year), and later announced a uniform contest to imagine what a WFL team (or teams) would look today like if the league had stayed in existence. We were pretty open-ended about the requirements. We suggested (but did not require) a “progression” of uniforms from 1974/75 up until today, assuming a team would have gone through several uniform iterations. That was a tall order, but three intrepid designers actually did just that, and two of them traced a full lineage!

We’re going to look at those today.

Overall, we’re very pleased at the number of submissions (more than 150 total design elements were submitted), by many submitters and for several teams. We’ll get to those, and enable voting, very soon.

Aaron wants to add a few words, and then we’ll look at the concepts by those who submitted a set of progressions (no voting today — just want to give you a taste of what’s to come). Here’s Aaron:

I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the WFL uniform design contest. When Phil told me there are 153 submissions I was shocked (and the designs are amazing). This year marks the 40th anniversary of the World Football League kicking off and from everything I saw the league would look great if it were still around today. The contest will begin in the near future. Right now, we’re going to start everything off with the progressions that three readers did (Steve B. Creations, Bryan Phillips, and Jordan Reagan).” — Aaron

For any images below, click to enlarge.

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We’ll begin with Steve B. (of Steve B. Creations), with the Charlotte Hornets:

(Here is) my submission for a redesigned Charlotte Hornets. Not only did I design a 2014 update, I’ve created an entire uniform history for the team. For each uniform set, I’ll give you a short synopsis.

Charlotte Hornets 1 - Steve B. Creations

Charlotte Hornets 2 - Steve B. Creations

These detail the first major change for the team. They add a black face mask to the helmet and go with an asymmetrical stripe pattern on their jerseys and pants, similar to other popular teams of that time (‘Skins and Argos). Black tops and white pants at home, and white tops and gold pants with striped socks for the road.

Charlotte Hornets 3 - Steve B. Creations

Charlotte Hornets 4 - Steve B. Creations

For the 1995 season, the team goes for an updated look. Stripes are scraped on the helmets and the logo is elongated to create a wraparound effect similar to the Seahawks and Roughriders. The jerseys no longer have stripes, but instead the new elongated logo on the sleeves. The TV numbers have also been moved to the shoulders. White pants are ditched and a black set is added. The stripe pattern on the pants is designed to mimic the black and gold stripes on the Hornet’s torso. The set also features two sets of solid socks, one black and one gold.

Charlotte Hornets 5 - Steve B. Creations

Charlotte Hornets 6 - Steve B. Creations

After 10 seasons, the Hornets change things up by going with a trendier look. The logo has been updated to make the Hornet appear to be in motion. Other details are added, like a more pointed stinger and a facial expression.

Gone is the popular gold helmet and is replaced with a black lid. Also, the primary home uniform is black on black. The Hornet’s stinger becomes a featured part of the uniform, being symbolized on both the jersey and pants, while the side panels symbolize the Hornet’s torso. White pants reenter the fold, and the addition of a gold alternate jersey give the team plenty of mix and match options (18 if my math is right). Finally, the team goes with a custom number font.

By 2009, the BFBS set is moved to alternate status, while the gold and black set becomes the new primary. By 2011, the black jersey is out entirely and the 1982-94 throwback uni serves as the alternate.

Charlotte Hornets 7 - Steve B. Creations

Charlotte Hornets 8 - Steve B. Creations

For the 2014 season, the team goes back to a more traditional look. Gone are the days of monochrome black. The gold helmet is reintroduced with a white mask. Stripes are added back to the lids as well. Also, the logo has been tweaked to fix the mouth. From a distance, the previous Hornet’s facial expression was said to look more like a smile than a snarl.

The stripes on all uniform elements are made to match, from the helmet down to the socks. The only remains from the previous set is the custom number font. While the new set still has the potential for many combinations, the team eventual settles on black over gold at home and white over gold on the road. Occasionally, the team may don the gold over white alts for a big Wednesday night game.

. . . . . . . . . .

Next up is Jordan Reagan, who wasn’t quite as in depth, but still has a three-stage progression for the “Houston Texans/Shreveport Steamers/Houston Rattlers.”

Long time reader but first time contributor. I apologize for the wordiness but I’m submitting five uniforms to the contest.

I chose to do a progression of uniforms for the Houston Texans/Shreveport Steamers/Houston Rattlers.

Houston Texans-Shereveport Steamers-Houston Rattlers 1 - Jordan Reagan
1992 Shreveport Steamers

The Shreveport Steamers went through a uniform redesign in 1992. They relegated the Steamboat Logo to the sleeve and dropped the drop shadow from the S on the helmets. The Steamers got a little stripe happy but maintained a “classic” look.

Houston Texans-Shereveport Steamers-Houston Rattlers 2 - Jordan Reagan
2002 Houston Rattlers

The team moved back to Houston in 2002 but since the Houston Texans had already set up shop they changed their name to the Houston Rattlers (the Timber Rattlesnake is the offical “Rattler”). Their colors changed to Black, Copper (not orange or brown even if it looks that way), and White. The terrible design choices of the early 2000’s are there; odd panels on the sleeves and pants (meant to simulate fangs), piping, and mismatched side panels. Their primary logo became the coiled rattlesnake shown on the sleeves.

Houston Texans-Shereveport Steamers-Houston Rattlers 5 - Jordan ReaganHouston Texans-Shereveport Steamers-Houston Rattlers 4 - Jordan Reagan
2014 Houston Rattlers Home . . . 2014 Houston Rattlers Away

Houston Texans-Shereveport Steamers-Houston Rattlers 3 - Jordan Reagan
2014 Houston Rattlers Alternate

In 2014 the team decided on a modern upgrade. Because they aren’t subjected to the NFL’s strict uniform policy they have two different helmets and some gradients. The helmet is matte black with Metallic Copper striping and facemask. The scaled panels on the jersey and pants are more subdued than illustrated. Those panels feature a flat copper with copper sheen details that reflect the stadium lights. The Rattlers fell into the BFBS uniform trope for their “Pride” uniforms, though at least black is a primary team color. The “Pride” uniform features the return of the “Coiled Rattler” logo and Metallic Gunmetal details.

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And we close today with Bryan Phillips, with the Southern California Sun:

For the WFL design contest, I chose to do an extensive uniform timeline of my local team, Southern California Sun.

So here is the basic summary of each time period:

Southern California Sun 1 - Brian Phillips Southern California Sun 2 - Brian Phillips

1980s: WFL stays alive and the Sun keep the same original look and logo. Some minor changes including orange jersey for home, drop shadow numerals for jersey, white pants with new striping.

Southern California Sun 3 - Brian Phillips Southern California Sun 4 - Brian Phillips

Southern California Sun 5 - Brian PhillipsSouthern California Sun 6 - Brian Phillips

1990s: The Walt Disney Company not only introduces the Mighty Ducks and purchases the Angels, but they acquire their own football team by purchasing the Sun. They change the location name to Anaheim and the Magenta to Eggplant (like all the other hip 90s teams). The logo changes into a cartoon sun created by a Disney animator and the wordmark becomes something “bold and fun”. ALSO, they get their very own Disney original film starring John Goodman and Kevin Costner as two brothers with opposite coaching styles that need to learn to work together in order to bring home an unlikely championship. Along the way they learn the importance of family and the power of teamwork.

Southern California Sun 7 - Brian Phillips Southern California Sun 8 - Brian Phillips

Southern California Sun 9 - Brian Phillips

2000s: Disney sells ownership of the team over with the rest of their sport franchises. Team stays in Anaheim. They keep the same colors and logos but change the uniforms. The uniforms involve shoulder yokes, strange pant striping, and different numeral font choice.

Southern California Sun 10 - Brian Phillips Southern California Sun 11 - Brian Phillips

Southern California Sun 13 - Brian Phillips Southern California Sun 14 - Brian Phillips
2014 Los Angeles Sun Home & Road

Southern California Sun 12 - Brian Phillips Southern California Sun 15 - Brian Phillips
2014 Los Angeles Sun Alternate

Southern California Sun 16 - Brian Phillips

Current: After many years of being without a football team, Los Angeles finally has their wish come true! The Sun change ownership again and are relocated to Los Angeles to play at any of the many proposed football stadiums (probably Farmers Field next to Staples Center). They become the Los Angeles Sun and go through a complete overhaul. New colors (Maroon and Burnt Orange). New logo (inspired by the original look) and most notably a new uniform. The uniform relies heavily on what they would call a Sunburst Gradient on the shoulders and pant striping. They would also introduce an all black uniform titled “Midnight Solar Flare”. The All-Black alternate would be covered in glowing reflective material on the orange numerals, shoulder gradients, and pant striping that would light up under the stadium lights for night games.

Paul Lukas would probably go on the record as referring to the uniforms as “the cheeto dust uniforms” or something of that nature.

As you can see I wasn’t necessarily going for the most pleasing uniform aesthetic, but the most realistic uniform history for an originally bright team in a league that fell apart after two seasons.

. . . . . . . . . .

And there you have it! Three tremendous entries showing the WFL uniform progressions. Great work, gentlemen.

OK — next time we’ll be back with more entries. There were a LOT so, it’s probably going to be over the course of a few weekends, and there were some instances of 4 or 5 submitters for a single team, others teams had 3, 2 or only 1 entry — we’ll figure out how we’ll break up the voting at that time (likely on a team-by-team basis except for the single or double entries, where we may combine those). But until that time, how about a big standing ovation (or at least a virtual interwebs clap) for our three progressive submitters!


Pittsburgh Penguins New Third

Pens new third 2
Click to enlarge

Yesterday morning, the Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled their new (and long-awaited) third uniform, which as you can see, is basically a return to their classic black and athletic gold uniforms of the 1980s and 1990s. And it’s fantastic. It’s a look that many of us grew up knowing (and loving) and its return is much appreciated. As Mike Engle said in yesterday’s comments, “Isn’t it awesome when the way a team used to look becomes the way a team should look, and then becomes the way a team looks?” I couldn’t have said it better.

Here’s a couple more looks (the second one via our friend Chris Creamer over at SportsLogos). Feast your eyes on what a hockey uniform should look like (click to enlarge):

Pens new third3

Pens new third4

You can watch a short video of the new jersey here. And here’s a list of dates during which the thirds will be worn.

What do you think readers? Did the Pens score a hat trick with this retro-feeling third or what?


classic scoreboards splashClassic Ballpark Scoreboards

I’m pleased to continue with a new weekend feature here at Uni Watch, “Classic Ballpark Scoreboards,” which are created by Gary Chanko. You probably know Gary best for his wonderful colorizations, but he has been a solid contributor for many years, and this is his new project. This segment will appear every Saturday on Uni Watch.

Here’s Gary (click on images to enlarge):

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Classic Ballpark Scoreboards – Third in a Series
by Gary Chanko

Ebbets Field and Royals Stadium are the subjects of this week’s look back at classic ballpark scoreboards.

. . . . .

Ebbets Field

Ebbetts Field Scoreboard

Home of: Brooklyn Dodgers
Last baseball game:September 24, 1957; Demolished:1960

Charisma, color, zaniness. Ebbets Field had all of that, including one unmistakable scoreboard. Columnist Ed Burn’s amusing 1937 article and illustration tells it all.

In 1930 the iconic scoreboard was installed, featuring Abe Stark’s famous “Hit Sign, Win Suit” advertisement. The notable Schaefer Beer ad was added in 1948 and is captured in the illustration.

A Few Things to Know

• The first Abe Stark advertisement was placed along the right field wall. It was a relatively easy target before being moved to the bottom of a new scoreboard in 1930. The second Abe Stark sign was only several feet high making it much easier for Dodgers outfielders to intercept balls headed for a free suit. It was six seasons before Abe had to cough up the first free suit.

• The Schaefer Beer advertisement featured “h” and “e” indicators for hits and errors.

From the 1951 ground rules edition: “Batted balls landing on top of the scoreboard, clock included, – in play.” Huh?

• The center field flag pole avoided the wrecking ball and now lives at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

• The Bulova clock also survived the demolition. It found a minor league ballpark home at McCormick Field in Ashville, North Carolina for a number of years.

. . . . .

Royals Stadium

Royals Stadium Scoreboard

Home of: Kansas City Royals
First baseball game:April 10, 1973; Still considered one of the best venues.

Originally opened as Royals Stadium, the ballpark was renamed Kauffman Stadium (1993) in honor of the team’s founding owner. Now 41 years old, it’s the sixth oldest major league ballpark.

Major renovations completed in 2009 included a new LED fueled high def scoreboard, but the original Royal Crest (dot matrix) scoreboard was also state of the art at the time. A 1971 artist rendering shows the proposed scoreboard and famous water fountain feature. The Royal Crest scoreboard display from the 1976 season is the subject of the graphic illustration.

A Few Things to Know

• The original scoreboard was twelve stories tall (40 feet wide and 80 feet high) and used over 16,000 light bulbs for the display. The new HD scoreboard (84 feet wide and 104 feet tall) is over 3.5 times larger in area!

• In the seventies the scoreboard’s dot matrix animated graphics represented advanced technology. If you find this vintage scoreboard style interesting, you will enjoy this past Uni-Watch posting.

• The original scoreboard lasted until 2007 before being dismantled.

• The original plans for Royals Stadium included a “rolling” cover that would have moved on rails between the ballpark and the adjacent Arrowhead Stadium. It was estimated to cost nearly as much as the $10 million ballpark! The original scoreboard was only $2.75 million, or about $15 million in today’s dollars.

. . . . .

Next week it’s on to two more classic ballparks with uncommon histories and celebrated scoreboards, Forbes Field and Wrigley Field.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Classic Ballpark Scoreboards…on the wall

I received a nice e-mail from reader David Feigenbaum who had asked that I put him in touch with Gary about the scoreboard series, wondering if these were available as prints, which I’m reposting below:

Gary & Phil,

Here are a couple of photos of the print framed and hanging in my office.

Gary, thank you. I saw my first major league game in the Polo Grounds about 6 weeks prior to the date of your print. Phil, thanks for hooking me up with Gary. You guys should market these prints.


A couple readers have inquired about Gary’s posters. I’m happy to host the feature, but I’m not involved beyond that.

If anyone is interested in purchasing a digital copy of these posters, Gary is working on an online purchase option. In the interim you can contact him directly at Classicscoreboards@gmail.com.


colorize thisColorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

We haven’t heard from colorizer Pete Woychick in a while, but he’s back today with a *revised* colorization of Jack Trice.

I’ll let Pete explain.

Click on image to enlarge:

. . .

Jack Trice Colorized - Pete Woychick

Hi Phil–

A while back, I sent in a colorization of Iowa State’s Jack Trice. In light of new evidence, I’ve adjusted the jersey color. It’s a good reminder that we colorizers shouldn’t always trust our eyes.



. . . . .

Thanks Pete. Great to have another of your colorizations. Please keep them coming!


Uni Watch News Ticker:

Baseball News: From the “Things that cannot be unseen” file, did you know that San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore threw out a Padres first pitch in sparkly high heels? Well, now you do (with thanks, I think, to Brady Phelps). Actually, if you can read the small print on that link, it’s a domestic violence awareness initiative, so it’s not quite what it seems. You can find out more about this initiative here. … Joanna Zwiep writes, “Another Minor League team is likely to be getting new uniforms/logo. The former Daytona Cubs are now affiliated with the Reds.” Also, “I feel like this may have been on the site previously, but a search turned up nothing. I was watching a rerun of Boy Meets World, and in one scene Mr. Feeny was wearing a Phillies jersey that appeared to have pockets sewn into the sides.” … From Busch Stadium Friday night, notes Matt Larsen, comes a fan who learned how to express his love of the Cardinals AND the Blues.

NFL News: Check out the length of the line to exchange Ray Rice jerseys at M&T Bank Stadium (h/t Keith Olbermann). … Meanwhile, the Vikings don’t seem to be in as big a rush to exchange Adrian Peterson swag (yet). … Looks like the NFL may have just lost a huge Pinktober sponsor, as Procter & Gamble pulls out of cancer initiative due to NFL off-field issues (big thanks to @holycalamity). … Tomorrow, the Miami Dolphins are hoping to “aqua out” the Stadium (and they’re giving away this t-shirt to help. — Not only that, according to this blog, they’re going mono-aqua. OK then. After tweeting that, I was told the Dolphins would be wearing white tops (because it’s a day game); so we’ll just have to see.

College Football News: Missouri will be wearing this uniform today — check out what appear to be tiger-stripe numbers (from Nick Bianchi). The numbers were updated because of the NCAA rule against same color numbers as unis (h/t Jack Peglow). Also, when did we return to Standard Time? … The SMU Mustangs will go white/red/gray for today’s game against Texas A&M (thanks to Steve Stovall). … The Bill Synder Schnider Snyder statue at Bill Snyder Family Stadium has Nike shoes (nice spot by Collin Harrison). … In yesterday’s ticker, there was a photo of LeBron James wearing an Akron Zips jersey, but with a Nike swoosh (Akron is outfitted by adidas). Apparently some folks thought it was photoshopped, but the photo was legit (In one version of the picture, tweeted by Zips coach Terry Bowden, the jersey James wore had an adidas logo — turns out THAT was the photoshopped one). They are ALL douchebags, aren’t they? … The U will be wearing white/white/green today against Nebraska.

NBA News: Paul is referenced and quoted in this NESN article which notes those NBA sleeved jerseys are hated and not selling well. That’s probably very bad news for the NBA, “especially considering that these gimmick jerseys are created pretty much solely for merchandising purposes.”

Grab Bag: U of A Wildcat hockey, a club team in the ACHA, will be wearing special, customized pink jerseys against Stony Brook in January (thanks to Justin Aniba). … Reader KC writes, “My daughter attends Seneca Valley High School in Germantown, MD. Their normal colors are Green & Gold (packer like). They wear dark at home. Well (last) night was military appreciation night and they were wearing dark gray pants and top, with green numbers outlined in gold.” … New third kit for Newcastle United (from Chris Rodgers). … Looks like we have new basketball uniforms for Southeastern Louisiana (from Chris Mycoskie). … New white uniforms for Long Beach Poly (via DigitalScout).


And that’s it for today, folks. Big thanks to Gary, Pete, Aaron, and of course, the three concepters who were featured today, as well as you tweeterers and ticker submissionists. Back tomorrow with SMUW, a special 5 & 1 guest, and more. Enjoy the college football (and everything else on the agenda) today — and if you see any good 5 & 1 matchups, post them down in the comments below. OK? OK!

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.


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“I like being educated.”

— Dumb Guy