Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vermont Catamounts (1946-48)




We conclude our quick trip through college football's graveyard with a look at some Vermont uniforms from the end of the leatherhead era. Vermont may be the home of a state university that gave up the sport more than 40 years ago and a high school all-star team that hasn't defeated New Hampshire in the Shrine Bowl since 2000, but passionate football fans can most definitely be found among the organic farms and Bernie signs.

It appears the Catamounts stuck with one jersey for their first postwar uniform, although it's hard to be certain -- some games are just flat-out lost to history from a photography standpoint and we'll never know what was worn for a particular game. There's a passing resemblance between the late-40s Cats and the early-50s Green Bay Packers

The 1946 Vermont uniform.
These are all from the Ariel yearbook.

In '47, a white jersey was added and the green jersey spouted a sleeve stripe -- just one -- in 48. The pants have those strange back stripes, which I think everyone else ditched during the Hoover administration. 

The '47 white jersey. This is not the
baseball hall of famer, BTW.

A little night action against Middlebury, which was
Vermont's traditional season-ending opponent until the late 1960s.
The Burlington Daily News was owned by the one and only
William Loeb and folded in 1961.
BONUS: For you Vermont completists, the 1968 uniform has been updated to include a third jersey, which is actually an old mid-60s top.

Want more uniforms from the ol' 802? Of course you do! 1962-631964-671968-691970-74.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Boston University Terriers (1965-67)



As I've probably mentioned before, Boston University is one of the tougher teams to research in this little uniform project. The school has no newspapers or yearbooks online, so virtually everything has to be researched from opposing teams' books/papers/photos/ephemera, plus the occasional eBay listing. Verrrrry slowwwwwwly, the blanks are filled in.

So it took me awhile to figure out that one of my favorite helmets -- the almost-not-quite-Baylor-style "BU" logo -- debuted in 1965, when the Terriers also unveiled a tiny "BOSTON UNIVERSITY" word mark above the front jersey number. Previously, BU wore white helmets with plain red and white jerseys.

I've always liked this look, even thought it would make a million times more sense to put just "BOSTON" across the front, in the manner of the school's hockey and basketball teams. A matching red jersey debuted in '67, when the unneeded stripes were removed from the helmet. BU switched to gray pants in '68.

The helmet logo changed, by my estimate, eight more times until the program was put down in 1997, but the red helmets remained a constant.

A BU program page from 1967. Sadly, this isn't mine;
it' s from an eBay listing.
The backside of BU's uniforms face the camera; the frontside faces
legendary UMass quarterback Greg Landry in 1966. I used this photo in a
UMass post last year. #shamelessplug

The team is gone, but the memories remain. More BU unis: 1997, 1990-921988-891984-871968-701963-64.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

Northeastern Huskies (1973-75)




With Halloween approaching, we'll focus on the gone-but-not-forgotten members of the football graveyard for the next few posts.

We'll start with Northeastern, a team that couldn't decide if gray should be part of its color scheme or not, as you can see from the examples above. From the 1950s through the '80s, the Huskies wore gray pants some years and jettisoned them the others. Perhaps they just a tossed a coin in the pre-season?

Northeastern in action in 1974, still wearing the 75th anniversary patch from '73.
Also of note is the special patch Northeastern wore to celebrate the school's 75th anniversary. The patch's logo was given big play in the school's Cauldron yearbook:


What's strange is that the patch was worn for the 1974 season, too. Best guess is that no one felt like removing the patch and besides, fans would notice only the funky-for-the-70s, all-lowercarse "nu" part.

The backside of Northeastern's road uniforms at UNH in 1975.
Some more doggie treats from Northeastern: 2008-091989-90, 1982-86, 1976-771963-68.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

UConn Huskies (1989-93); plus a bonus!







In an earlier post, we discussed UConn's 1980s uniforms, which were a rare oasis of stability after (and before) years of inconsistency and one- or two-year wonders. But in 1989, the Huskies did something odd: They kept virtually the exact same uniform, but changed the primary color from navy blue to royal blue. Not counting recent alternate uniforms (Dartmouth, UMass), I can't recall a team fiddling with one of its colors like this while keeping the exact same uniform. Perhaps the school was still trying to figure out what constituted "national flag blue."

As was the case with the royal blue version, some teeny-tiny alterations were made over the years. Stripes were added to the V-neck, the sleeve numbers became shoulder numbers and a Yankee Conference patch was added in '93. In '94, Skip "Not the Real" Holtz -- whose famous dad was a Huskies assistant in the 1960s -- took over as coach and the unis underwent another overhaul.


These UConn media guide covers show off the Huskies' early-90s uniforms.
Magnifi-Zeke? Sometimes, it's better to use no pun at all
rather than stretch for one.
As noted by this post's title, I promised a bonus, and here it is. For God knows what reason, the Huskies have farted around with the face masks in the Bob Dicao era. This year's helmets are white, but have blue face masks some weeks, red the others (I prefer the blue). Last season (Diaco's first), the uniforms were a carryover from the 2013 school-wide graphic overhaul and used three helmets: Blue with white face masks, white with blue face masks and white with white face masks. I wasn't aware of the third helmet version until after my original 2014 uniform post, and for months, it's been hanging over me like income tax day or car inspection time. (When I go to bed at night, I say "God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy and God bless the Helmet Project.")

So, better late than ever, here are the updated 2014 UConn uniforms. The original 2014 post has also been updated. Now I can get some sleep.




Craving some more UConn unis? Check these out: 201420131984-881971-7219701966-67, 1958-6019571934Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhode Island.


If more mascots would just hug it out,
this world would be a far better place.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Maine Black Bears (1930); Yale Bulldogs (1930)



On Saturday, Maine hosts Yale in the Black Bears' homecoming game, where they'll celebrate the school's 150th anniversary by donning shirts inspired by the 1920s.

Maine and Yale used to play every so often in the 1920s and '30s, when college football was a very different world and Yale was a national powerhouse that played in front of crowds of up to 80,000 at the Yale Bowl. Basically, it was Maine's equivalent of today's FBS games. In 1929, Maine visited Yale and was smothered 38-0 even though the game was played with 10-minute quarters, according to the Yale Daily News account of the game. And hey, here are some highlights ...



It must have been hard to tell the teams apart, since both wore white helmets, navy jerseys and tan pants.

I have decided to give Maine light blue friction strips for the uni graphic, since contemporary accounts always make reference to the "light blue" or "pale blue," and the friction strips are noticeably lighter than the ones from 1928-29. 


No, it's not an all-star team from a pickup league;
it's the 1930 Maine Black Bears. Most of the players
are wearing new jerseys, but others appears to wearing whatever
was lying around at the moment.

As you can see from the team picture above, Maine was not afraid to recycle its uniforms to the max. (Jayvee and freshman team pictures from the early '40s show players wearing rags from the '20s.) I didn't see any style other than the first one in the above clip, but I figured I'd play it safe. For all I know, those shirts were worn only for the team pic before some new shirts arrived. Notice everyone in the front (likely the starters) is wearing the new garb.


A close-up of the 1930 Maine jersey, plus an account of
the Yale game from that year from the Prism yearbook.
Note the description of Maine as the "Pale Blue."

No. 48 for Yale was the legendary (at least for that era) Albie Booth, all 5-6, 144 pounds of him. "Little Boy Blue" was a tailback who ran, threw and kicked -- the classic single-wing triple threat. Following a career that landed him in the College Football Hall of Fame, Booth was an assistant for Yale and managed the ice cream division of a dairy, which is making my very hungry. 


Despite what this otherwise awesome card says,
Albie Booth was a single-wing tailback.

Also Saturday, Maine will honor its 1965 Tangerine Bowl team. Read more about that team (and its uniforms, of course) here.

Can't bear to be without Black Bear uniforms? Here are some more: 20142011-131997-991976-84197519741965more 19651957-591949-50, 1928-29. Rivalry week: Maine-New Hampshire.

Want more from the sons of old Eli? Look here: 201420131997-981994, 1996, 1979-8219781974-77,  1967-6819651959-60. Rivalry Week: Harvard-Yale.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rhode Island Rams (1962)


Rhode Island's "traditional" uniform generally features ram horns on the helmet and lots of light blue, but the Rams aren't afraid to deviate every so often, such as with their navy jerseys the last few years.

The Rams scope the scene in the all-blue home uniform.

Rhody takes on Brown in the all-white uniform.

Nineteen sixty-two featured a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B. While Rhody returned to horned helmets after an absence of several years, it also switched to navy blue jerseys, last worn in the mid-1940s. Of note is the monochrome all-blue look, a rarity for the 1960s. Even though they debuted new home and road jerseys, the Rams continued to wear the '61 roads (with light blue numbers) for a few games.


The alternate road with the 1962 jerseys (top)
and the home uniform with white pants (above).

There are more uniforms out there from Rhody: 201420131997-991983-921976-82, 1967-7119661957-611936-39. Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhody.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Columbia Lions (1983)


As of this writing, Columbia has lost 24 consecutive games, which means the Lions are still two seasons away from its infamous 44-game streak from 1983-88. But with former Penn legend Al Bagnoli now coaching the Lions, there's little change they'll get within sniffing distance of that streak, especial after a couple of tough-but-close losses this season.

The 44-game streak began on Nov. 12, 1983, with a 31-6 loss to Cornell, but Columbia had already gone winless in its last three games, thanks to a loss sandwiched between two ties (remember those?). The Lions finished 1-7-2 that year, followed by 0-9, 0-10, 0-10, 0-10 and 2-8 in 1988. After defeating Yale 21-18 on Oct. 15, 1983, Columbia's next win came five years, 47 games and three coaches later.

Columbia's 44-game losing streak began against Cornell in 1983.

Columbia quarterback John Witkowski leads the Lions over Yale in '83
--- their last win for five years. More than three decades later, Witkowski
remains the Lions' career leader in passing yards, touchdowns completion and total offense. 
As it did in the 1970s (see links below), Columbia tore through a number of uniform styles in the '80s, with several year-to-year changes. The '83 road jersey, which lasted only one year, above resembles a Mesozoic version of the Tennessee Titans-esque 2003-05 jersey. The home shirt had been worn since 1980.

In '84, another overhaul was made, with crowns adorning the shoulders -- another one-year style.

Columbia has made quite a few uniform changes over the years: 2015201420132003-0519961974-761971-7319701965-67.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Princeton Tigers (1945-46)




Alas, most of my Princeton posts so far on this little ol' blog have been rehashes of their minute uniform changes of the 1970s and '80s. Time to get a little adventurous.

At the end of World War II, the Tigers' uniforms sported orange front numbers with a white outline -- the first instance of two-toned numbers I can find among the teams covered here. By my best guesstimates, the back numbers were white -- it's hard to tell when looking through 70-year-old newspapers -- and they wore tan pants. (They appear darker than Princeton's pants from '47 onward. My guess is that the Tigers switched to gray pants in '47.)  No white jerseys were worn.

Princeton takes on Columbia in 1945. Not sure where this picture came from.
Football photos from wartime/immediate postwar college papers are rare, for obvious reasons.

A nice shot of the 1946 uniform, with the two-toned number.
Nothing says "old school" like wingbacks, which make me
hungry for wings, actually.

For '46, the helmets went from leather to plastic, which makes the Tigers the first team on this blog to make the switch, to the best of my knowledge. (Delaware didn't go plastic until the mid-60s. Talk about a traditional school.) 

A neat photo of Princeton against Yale and
the great Levi Jackson in 1946.
On the prowl for more Princeton? Check these out: 2014201319961993-95, 1994,  1987-901984-861975-771979-831970-72. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Boston College Eagles (1957)


As mentioned in an earlier post, Boston College was unceremoniously dumped from Fenway Park by Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey after the 1956 season because the football players were tearing up Fenway's green grass. (Of course, Yawkey later allowed the Boston Patriots to play at Fenway in the 1960s, but that's an issue for another time.)

This left the Eagles without a stadium, and rumors of the program's demise swirled. But instead of complaining (or asking taxpayers for help), the BC fathers rolled up their sleeves and raised $350,000 toward the construction of Alumni Stadium, which was built in time for the 1957 season opener. (And I was amazed at how quickly a Dollar General can be erected.) The stadium seated 26,000 fans and bore little resemblance to the current 44,500-seat gem.

You can read more about the stadium's history here.

Alumni Stadium opens for business in 1957.
It doesn't bear much semblance to the current facility.
Note the classic red scoreboard in the far end zone.

Alas, the only thing that went wrong was the opening game, a 46-6 loss to Navy. The Eagles recovered and finished 7-2, but somehow, wins over future college football graveyard members Boston U., Detroit, Marquette and Quantico Marines (?!) were not enough to warrant bowl consideration.

The '57 Eagles take the field. The caption is a reference to
a loss to Holy Cross that day.

By 1957, the BC uniforms had discarded the clear face masks, which were a big deal for a couple years in the mid-50s, for gray metal and/or white plastic bars. Plastic helmet shells made their return after an absence of a few years, too.

Once again, most of the info here is culled from Reid Oslin's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious book, Boston College Football Vault. Just buy a copy already.

BC takes on BU in '57.
This is a rivalry better suited for hockey than football.

Craving some more BC unis? Look right here: