Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fairfield Stags (2002)

Despite its relatively recent history, Fairfield is not the easiest team to research, perhaps because it pulled the plug just before anything and everything became digitized for posterity. It also doesn't help that the Stags' gridiron existence was only seven years (1996-2002) and it's likely few remember -- or care -- that Fairfield ever had a team.

Fans look on during Fairfield's final football season.
From the Manor yearbook.

So at long last, here's Fairfield uniform from the last season, when it went 5-6 and folded its tent anyway. The school overhauled its logos in '02, which is reflected in the helmets. Everything else remained the same, except for the removal of the MAAC patch on the shirts -- perhaps the equipment manager knew something was up?

A close-up of the final Fairfield helmet.
I ran this in my original post on Fairfield,
but here it is again.

You can find my only other post on Fairfield here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

UConn Huskies (2015)

Last, but not least, in our 2015 roundup of uniforms from New England (and a few other places) is UConn, which has this weird thing about face masks. The Huskies alternated between white and blue masks on the same helmet last year and did the same with red and blue masks this year, resulting in eight separate combos overall, nine when you throw in the bowl game. Like UMass and Sacred Heart, UConn also jumped onto the gray uniform bandwagon this year. (Who started that trend, anyway? I want to say Ole Miss. ...)

One year after a 2-10 season, the Huskies went 6-7 overall, 4-4 in American Athletic Conference play and lost to Marshall in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

UConn Huskies (1965)

Earlier, we looked at the rather unique uniform the UConn Huskies employed in 2002. But that doesn't hold an arc light to what they trotted out in 1965.

The jerseys are more or less conventional, although the curved numbers are different. (Other teams, like Navy and Vermont, used that font or something quite similar, though). The helmets, however, are bizarre even by today's standards (shudder) -- blue on one side, white on the other and a gold stripe down the middle. Who knows what the idea behind that one was; I'm sure an explanation is buried in some old, dusty newspaper microfilm. The only helmet since that could be considered even a distant descendant would be the current Jacksonville Jaguars' helmet.

The '65 UConn Huskies in action, from the Nutmeg yearbook. 

The '64 helmets were identical to the blue half, but used throughout. The logo looks like a prototype of the 1970s design, only with a thicker "C" and no stitches in the middle.

Honestly, I'm surprised no one's used this helmet style today, especially in an age of pretentious black-on-black helmets and other styles used to recruit teenagers who are into shiny objects. At the very least, it would make an awesome throwback.

Photos from the Yale win; a huge deal then,
as hard as it is to believe 50 years later.

The '65 Huskies were only 3-6, but the season was highlighted by their first-ever victory over Yale, which was a huge deal after years of drubbings from the Bulldogs. Today, of course, a Yale victory over UConn would be an even bigger upset. How times have changed. ... In a fun bit of trivia, the Huskies had as many wins (3) as future NFL head coaches on the staff (see pic below).

The '65 Huskies coaching staff, with THREE future NFL coaches: Sam Rutigliano (Browns),
Lou Holtz (Jets) and Rick Forzano (Lions). Holtz, of course, is much better known as
a national-championship-winning college coach and Mark May's sparring partner on ESPN.

More UConn unis for the Huskymanicas: 20142013, 20021989-931984-881971-7219701966-671958-6019571934Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhode Island.

Johnathan, pre nose-job, apparantly. The cheerleader has that
"please don't look directly at me" look on her face.

Monday, December 21, 2015

UConn Huskies (2002)

With UConn heading to a bowl game later this week (the St. Petersburg Bowl; it was way cooler when it was called the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl), the time is ripe to look at a couple of the Huskies' more unusual short-lived uniform styles, which is saying something for a team that seems to specializes in the unusual and short-lived.

The early aughties was an exciting time to be a UConn fan. The Huskies left the Division I-AA/FCS Atlantic 10 for the bright lights of I-A/FBS. In 2003, they left quaint-but-outdated Memorial Stadium for shinny new Rentschler Field. In '04, it they gained admission to the Big East and earned their first bowl victory. It was an amazing rise for a team that went 4-7 in 1999, its last in I-AA.

And along the way, there was a uniform change or two or three.

I want to focus on the 2002 uniform, which might be the most bizarre of the bunch. First of all, there's the helmet, which is super-classy and sadly lasted only that season before the "C" helmet took over in 2003. The jerseys use a machine font for the numbers and wordmark, but utilize a Champion-style font (if you were around in the 90s, you know what I mean) for the player names. The numbers on the home shirts have a thick-as-cheese-dip drop shadow, and another thick outline after that. There's also a patch commemorating the final season at Memorial Stadium.

A closeup of the 2003 UConn media guide cover, showing three
of the four combos the Huskies wore in 2002.

But the topper is the manufacturer. Instead of the tried-and-true apparel companies of the day (Nike, Reebok, Russell, Wilson), UConn opted for freaking AEROPOSTALE, known more for making overpriced clothes for mallrats than for sports gear. As far as I know, this is the only time Aeropostale dipped its toe into the sports world, at least for a major school.

The Aeropostale jersey logo in all its glory.

It all adds up to a uniform out of bizzaro world.

While UConn coach Randy Edsall raved about the overhaul at the time, perhaps he had second thoughts, as the Huskies shook things up the next year ... and the year after that, by which time Aeropostale had been ditched for Nike.

The back cover of the 2003 media guide.

You can see more photos of the '02 Huskies here.

Craving some more UConn unis? Check these out: 20142013, 1989-931984-881971-7219701966-671958-6019571934Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhode Island.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bryant, Central Connecticut State, Sacred Heart (2015)

We continue the 2015 round-up with the NEC 3. This leaves us with only UConn, which I'm saving for after next week's bowl game.

The Bulldogs, who went 5-6 overall, 3-3 in the NEC, kept the exact same look from last year. 

Central Connecticut State
The "other" Blue Devils kept the same home jersey and pants, but introduced completely new -- and vastly improved, sez I -- road versions. Hopefully, there'll be an accompanying home version in 2016. One oddity: When CCSU opted to wear white pants at home against Dartmouth, it chose to wear last year's pants instead of the new white pants. Give CCSU credit for continuity. The Devils were 4-7 overall, 3-3 in NEC action.

Sacred Heart
The normally staid Pioneers decided to mix things up a bit this fall. They added red alternate pants and an all bluish-gray alternate uniform that kept the same basic design as the home and road shirts. It's not as good as UMass' gray uni, but it's far better than Penn's. Last season's NEC champs were 6-5 overall, 3-3 league.

Monday, December 14, 2015

UMass, UNH, Yale (2015)

The 2015 roundup continues!

The Minutemen introduced a swell new redesign for 2015, which apparently went down well with the players; you can read some of their comments here. UMass also added a gray alternate uniform; gray jerseys aren't my bag, but these weren't horrible or anything. They were better than Penn's, at least. The Minutemen opted for a more streamlined approach, rather than mix 'n match each week, a la Dartmouth. UMass went 3-9 overall, 2-6 in its final season in the Mid-American Conference.

The Wildcats didn't change a darn thing from 2014. Good (non-) move, says I. UNH went 7-5 overall, 5-3 in the CAA and reached the NCAA playoffs for the 381st consecutive year.

The Bulldogs made a couple subtle changes from 2014 -- the road jerseys were tweaked to conform with the home version, and the "classic" two-stripe pants were restored after a brief Nikefication. Yale was 6-4 overall, 3-4 in the Ivy League.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Maine, Penn, Princeton, Rhode Island (2015)

The 2015 uniform round-up marches on!

The Black Bears tweaked their number and wordmark font from 2014, then added an alternate jersey in honor of the school's 150th anniversary (I am the proud owner of one) and changed the helmet logo in midseason. Maine was 3-8 overall (its worst record in 20 years) and 3-5 in the CAA. Coach Jack Cosgrove stepped down after 23 seasons.

The Quakers added a sweet white jersey to match the home version, but the ugly gray uniform and the red shirt with the sports-bra pattern stuck around for another year. A year after a one-win season, Penn went 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy League for a share of the Ivy title.

Like Penn, Princeton's white jersey now matches the home top, while the orange alternate was retired. Those pants still scream 2005, however. When you think about it, so many NFL teams (Falcons, Cardinals, Broncos, Bengals) have some really dated looks with certain elements -- drop-shadow numbers, curvy pants stripes -- that need to be overhauled. In terms of uniform fashion, the college teams have really left the pros in the dust.

The Tigers were 5-5 overall, but only 2-5 in the Ivy League.

Rhode Island
Now this uniform, new for 2015, is kinda like that movie "12 Monkeys" from the 1990s: It's not great, but it has all sorts of interesting little bits to keep people gabbing for a while. 

Rhody has two different shirts and two different pants, but each is a different color -- light blue and white for the shirts, navy and camo gray (!) for the pants. Much as Dartmouth thought outside the box and added a tree patch to the shirts in '14, Rhody introduced an anchor patch this fall. I have a co-worker who went to Rhody and said that's a fitting logo, considering the state of the program these days. The navy helmet with light blue horns was retained.

The Rams went 1-11 overall, 1-8 in the CAA for the second straight year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dartmouth, Delaware, Harvard, Holy Cross (2015)

We continue our 2015 year in review with Delaware and three more Ivy League schools.

The Big Green, which unveiled a gray alternate helmet and pants in 2014, added a black helmet, jersey and pants to its arsenal in '15, giving Dartmouth 27 possible combinations. The Greenies wore nine combos in 10 games -- I have to admit; it was a blast trying to guess Dartmouth's uniform for a given week, and I found myself checking the Big Green's Twitter feed every Wednesday for the weekly uniform announcement. I was pulling for Dartmouth to go 10-for-10 for the season in unique combos, but alas, it repeated the all-white look in the next-to-last game. Maybe the Big Green will increase the fun in '16 and add a green helmet and pants.

Note how Dartmouth was smart with its color combos; every one was well-coordinated and there was no random stuff like black-green-gray or white-green-black. (Actually, the Greenies tried that one a while back.)

Dartmouth went 9-1 overall, 6-1 in the Ivy League for a share of its first Ivy title in 19 years.

The Blue Hens switched manufacturers to Adidas from Under Armour and their jerseys received a new (and improved, in my opinion) look -- the busy stripes are gone and the big "DELAWARE" across the front is a nice touch. I'm glad the state-of-Delaware patch with the six stars (for the school's six national titles) remained. Nothing beats the classic look of yore, of course. The Hens were an un-Delaware-like 4-7 overall, 3-5 in the CAA.

The Crimson also added a black jersey, and introduced crimson pants, to boot. The alternate-uniform trend has definitely invaded the FCS level, but hey, it makes this blog more fun, right? Harvard also eliminated the helmet stripes, which had been around since the 1960s. The Crimson went 9-1 overall, 6-1 Ivy for a share of its third straight Ancient Eight title.

Holy Cross
The only change from last year was the return of the big-arse Patriot League patch the Crusaders wore in the 90s and aughties. The Cross was 6-5 overall, 3-3 in Patriot League play.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Boston College, Brown, Columbia, Cornell (2015)

It's time for our annual roundup of who wore what this season. I'm going to hold off on UConn until after the Huskies play their bowl game, and I'm also going to wait until the end for the NEC Three (Bryant, Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart). Today, we begin with Boston College and three Ivy League schools.

Boston College
The Eagles kept the basic template from the last few years, plus wore a quasi-throwback for its Fenway Park game against Notre Dame. In the "really minute changes" department, the ACC logo patch changed for the second straight year. After reaching a bowl game each of the last two seasons, the Eagles tumbled to a 3-8 record, 0-8 in the ACC.

The Bears unveiled a new home jersey and more conventional-looking pants than in previous years, but kept last year's road shirt. I'm guessing they'll add a matching road shirt for 2016. Brown was 5-5 overall, 3-4 in Ivy League play.

We covered the Lions' new uniforms here. Coming off back-to-back winless seasons, Columbia went 2-8 (1-6 Ivy) and was shockingly competitive in several of the losses. 

The Big Red didn't alter a thing from the last couple years. ... OK, the sock color changed.  (Cornell is one of the few schools around to have a uniform sock design.) Cornell was 1-9 overall, 1-6 in the Ancient Eight.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Harvard Crimson (1950-52)

In the late 1940s, Harvard experimented with black helmets and pants, which didn't go well aesthetically or on the field (1-8 in '49). In '50, the Crimson, under new coach Lloyd Jordan, returned to traditional crimson helmets and tan pants. Maybe it was the uniforms (OK, it was more likely the coach), but Harvard improved from 1-8 in '50 to 3-5-1 in '51 to 5-4 in '52.

With common sense and traditional uniforms restored,
Harvard battles Dartmouth in 1950. This pic is from the incredible
Digital Commonwealth site, guaranteed to decrease your productivity at work.

Harvard continued to wear Red Sox-style numbers during this period, but switched to a more football-ish font in '53. As much I love the unique number font employed by the Sawx, it just doesn't lend itself to football -- too thin and wide. On the other hand, I would't be shocked if the Sox started marketing a football jersey ...

Havard faces Cornell in 1950. Insert Big Lebowski reference here.

Other Harvard unis you may have missed: 2012-142008-111980-831975-79; 1972-731967-701962-63, 1948-49. Rivalry Week: Harvard-Yale.

Monday, November 30, 2015

UMass Redmen (1951-52)

When studying the era when UMass used gold/yellow as an accent color, one can't help but notice a passing resemblance between the Red/Minutemen and their football brethren on Chestnut Hill, although that shouldn't be said too loudly around a UMass supporter.

But check out these uniforms from 1951-52: If they didn't have the UMass tag at the bottom, you would have thought it was a BC uniform, right? Hell, I'd have thought it was a BC uni.

The 1951 UMass uniform, right, with gold helmet and pants ...

... and the '52 version, when a funky white helmet
began to see action.

Gold continued to be bold at UMass throughout the '50s. In '52, a funky white helmet began seeing some playing time, and by '53, white helmets and pants had taken over, only for the gold to return in '55. The gold helmets were dumped in '58 and the pants hung around until '60. Gold stuck around as jersey trim on and off until 1985.

Much, much more from the Minutemen: 201420132000-021986-871978-84197419721966-68, 1960-621938-39.

Alumni Field, the home of UMass football until 1965, is shown in 1952.
Check out the close proximity of the track and baseball field.
I presume the stands on the right were moveable.
Wonder if a track meet and baseball game were ever held at the same time?

Friday, November 27, 2015

New Hampshire Wildcats (1936)

On Saturday, New Hampshire hosts Colgate in the first round of the NCAA FCS playoffs in what will likely be the final football game at ancient, wizened Cowell Stadium before a new stadium on the same site opens in 2016. 

Cowell Stadium (then Alumni Field), 1936. Going by my research,
I believe those are Maine players in the foreground.
Looks strange with no Lundholm Gym in the background.

Then known as Alumni Field (which I think was the name for every stadium in America in those days), the stadium opened for business on Sept. 6, 1936 with a 66-0 nail-biter against Lowell Textile (one of a couple schools that was a forerunner to UMass Lowell). The field's dedication game -- I've never understood why a stadium's dedication game happened after the opening game; talk about anticlimactic -- was on Oct. 10, a 27-6 loss to Maine.

The 1936 Wildcats, the first team to play in Cowell Stadium.

The Wildcats' uniforms were similar to what they wore in 1939, except for the helmets, which remained unconventional. Two different dark jerseys were worn, and I haven't the foggiest idea why.

There are plenty more Wildcat uniforms where this came from: 20142010-13199819751966-6719501947-48, 1938. Rivalry Week: Maine-UNH.

This page from the 1938 Granite yearbook (which covered the
events of the 1936-37 school year) celebrates UNH sports, including some shots
of the new football stadium. It looks state of the art here.
What would it be called now -- art of the state?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dartmouth Big Green (1944)

This past weekend, Notre Dame "hosted" Boston College at Boston's Fenway Park, the baseball shrine that housed plenty of college and pro football games until the late 1960s. In 1944, the Fighting Irish played their first-ever game in Boston at Fenway ... against the Dartmouth Big Green (a.k.a. Indians). This game and the 1945 rematch in South Bend marked the only times these schools squared off on the gridiron (World War II made for some strange football bedfellows). 

The Valley News, where I work as a sports guy, did a fun story on their historic encounters a few years ago, with plenty of cool pictures and memorabilia.

As the for the uniforms ... This was when Notre Dame wore green, not blue, jerseys at home. Although Dartmouth was technically the home team, the Irish apparently insisted on wearing the green shirts. According to the Oct. 14, 1944 Boston Globe:

"One team will be Notre Dame, in this corner, wearing a fetching Kelley green jersey ... The other team will be Dartmouth, attired in white above the waistline, but festooned with deep green satin pants ... thereby salvaging its traditional color scheme for the day."

The 1944 Dartmouth Big Green/Indians, decked out in all green.

From research, it appears Dartmouth also wore gray (possibly tan) pants that year, too, at least with the white jerseys. I have no record of the Big Green wearing the green pants before or after '44 ... at least until 2005.

Dartmouth, in white shirts and light-colored pants, takes on
Holy Cross in 1944. These pix are from the phenomenal
Dartmouth College Photographic Files.

As for the game, it was pretty much over before the coin toss. Notre Dame won, 64-0. The Irish also took the '45 game in South Bend, 34-0.

Some other Big Green unis we've profiled: 201420132005-062003-04, 1978-8619701955-561951-541936-38. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.