“Did You Know?” Week One Recap

by Hunter Martinez-Buehrer (Sidelines_OU)

Here we are at last. College football finally kicked off and one week (well, two if you count week 0) is now in the record books. But one thing that has piqued my interest is those record books. Back in High School when I played football, my coach would always do a pep talk that he called “Did you know” where he would talk about the history of our team vs. our opponent before the game. This was a fun tradition, and I’ve decided to bring it over to the College Football landscape as a recap instead.

So here it is, A mixture of knowledge and a recap of a few of the games from Saturday in our first edition of “Did you know?”

Did You Know? Oklahoma vs Missouri State

Photo by Ty Russel

Oklahoma’s 48-0 rout against Missouri State is the team’s first shutout since 2015 when they beat Kansas State 55-0.

Did anyone really expect the Sooners to struggle in this matchup against this FCS team? No, of course not. But did anyone expect the Sooners to hold the Bears scoreless and to only 135 yards total? Maybe some of you, but still an impressive feat nonetheless. Spencer Rattler’s first start as QB went as well as you can do. His stat line tells the whole story, where he went 14-17 for 290 yards and 4 TDs. His two big throws went for a 58 yard TD to Marvin Mims and a 53 yard TD to Charleston Rambo. The defense held the Bears to a total of 135 total yards, only 7 first downs, and had 1 interception. This performance is eerily similar to their 2015 game against Kansas State, the last time OU shut out an opponent. In that game, the Wildcats only had 110 total yards, 7 first downs, and 3 turnovers. The Sooners are back in action in 2 weeks when they play the Wildcats of Kansas State. 

Did You Know? FSU vs Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech’s 16-13 road win over Florida State is their first road game win against an ACC opponent to open up a season since 1996.

Well, this was certainly a surprise. Florida State had higher expectations after bringing in Mike Norvell from Memphis, but as it turns out, the former-FSU-commit-turned-Georgia-Tech-QB Jeff Sims helped push the Yellow Jackets to victory. He went 24-35 with 277 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT. What really sealed the deal was the mistakes by Florida State, who committed 3 turnovers throughout the entire game, including a fumble deep in their own territory which let the Yellow Jackets take the lead late in the game. The entire game was full of mistakes on both sides though, as Georgia Tech had turnovers, missed field goals, and bad offensive drives. This was evident in the score at halftime where FSU had a 10-0 lead. However, the Seminoles just couldn’t pull away, and their mistakes on offense and turnovers on defense lead to GT to come back and eventually take the win. This win is special, as it’s the first time GT has won an opening game on the road vs. an ACC team since 1996 when they beat Wake Forest 28-16 with a strong performance by eventual College Football Hall of Famer Joe Hamilton.

Did You Know? UTSA vs Texas State

UTSA earns emotional win over Texas State in double-OT - ExpressNews.com

This was the first year in the I-35 rivalry between UTSA and Texas State where the game went into Overtime.

If I told you about a game where both teams had around 500 yards, both teams had more than 20 first downs, you had a pick 6 for one team, both teams scored more than 45 points, AND it went into 2OT before we had a winner, would you want to watch?

Look no further than Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, TX where the Roadrunners of UTSA and the Bobcats of Texas State did battle Saturday night in a 51-48 shootout in probably the best game of this rivalry, to which UTSA now holds a 4-0 all time series lead dating back to 2012. It started looking like an early UTSA rout, with the Roadrunners taking a 24-7 lead by halftime, however the Bobcats came storming back to tie it at 41, and would have won the game if not for a missed PAT, which sent the game into overtime. There, after the teams traded touchdowns, Texas State kicker Alan Orona missed a field goal from 20 yards, and UTSA won the game on the next possession with a made field goal of their own. Stars of the game go to Texas State Quarterback Tyler Vitt, who went 26/40 with 346 yards and 4 TDs (along with 2 INTs) and UTSA running back Sincere McCormick, who had 197 yards on 29 carries with 1 touchdown. Seriously, go watch the highlights (or full game) if you can, this will definitely be a hidden gem for this season, and has been the best game in the entire history of meetings between these two teams.

Did You Know? Coastal Carolina vs Kansas

Coastal Carolina now has a 2-0 all time record vs. the Big 12 conference* and are 2-1 against P5 opponents under head coach Jamey Chadwell.

*Yes, I know, it’s Kansas, but can you still understand how absolutely insane that is? The Jayhawks didn’t just lose, they were throttled. The Chanticleers scored 28 straight points before the Jayhawks were able to put points on the board with a field goal.

The real star of the game was Coastal Car. QB Grayson McCall, who went 11-18 with 113 yards and 3 touchdowns in the air. On the ground, McCall also had 73 yards on 11 rushes with 2 touchdowns. That’s right, McCall had a role in every single touchdown that was scored by the Chanticleers. This recently absorbed school into the FBS level has now never lost a game against a Big 12 opponent.

The other Big 12 school they played was West Virginia, but that was before the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference, so in my eyes it doesn’t count as a game against the conference. This matchup was a lot more entertaining compared to last year though, as the score was 12-7 in 2019. However, the clear elephant in the room is how far Kansas and Les Miles still need to go before the Jayhawks can be excited for something other than basketball. The Big 12 overall had a rough time with the Sun Belt conference last night, as Kansas State and Iowa State also lost to Sun Belt members Arkansas State and Louisiana respectively.

So, did you know all four of these facts? If you didn’t, now you know!

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Week 2 Top 25

After a wild first full week of college football, we have our Week 2 Top 25 poll ready. The Big 12 went winless against the Sun Belt, UNC woke up in the fourth quarter, and FSU got stung. Louisiana’s upset performance was enough to earn them a first place vote by one of our writers.

This poll is comprised of the votes of SidelinesSports.Net writers. Note: We are now only rankings teams that currently intend to play this season.

Top 25 Poll:

1Clemson (8)272
2Alabama (2)264
3Oklahoma248
4Georgia238
5Texas199
6Florida192
7Oklahoma State192
8LSU187
9Notre Dame187
10Auburn164
11Texas A&M148
12North Carolina140
13Cincinnati138
14UCF118
15Louisiana (1)95
16Memphis90
17Miami (FL)81
18Tennessee73
19Louisville71
20Army64
21BYU54
22Appalachian State52
23Kentucky35
24Virginia Tech31
25Baylor20

Others Receiving Votes:

Pittsburgh18
TCU10
SMU9
Arkansas State4
West Virginia3
UAB2
Texas Tech1
Coastal Carolina1
Houston1

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter @Sidelines_SN!

College Football Playoff Predictions

The College Football Playoff isn’t even a decade old and it already has to adjust for a global pandemic. To be fair, the model itself doesn’t appear to be changing much – four teams will still compete in a tournament, with seeding set by the College Football Playoff committee. The semifinals will be at great locations this year; the historic Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. As far as the rankings, the first will come out Tuesday, November 17. The Playoff Selection show itself will be Sunday, December 20. That leaves one question – who will be in?

CFP prediction 1

1. Clemson

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence gets engaged

We’re highly expecting yet another undefeated regular season for Clemson. Their shortened schedule (with the Citadel being their only true out of conference game) leaves very few threats. Notre Dame is the only opponent that really jumps out as a test for Clemson, and while this will be a talented Notre Dame squad behind Ian Book’s leadership, it simply won’t be enough to cut it. The usual suspects like Pitt and Syracuse could provide a scare, but Trevor Lawrence’s talent and a great supporting cast (eyes on Etienne for best Running Back in college) mean they will waltz to another College Football Playoff appearance, where they’ll beat Alabama in yet another matchup but lose the title game to our next team.

2. Georgia

Kearis Jackson - 2020 - Football - University of Georgia Athletics

Of all four teams we have projected to make the playoff, Georgia returns the most overall production (65%) with 10 starters. Plus, Jamie Newman is not only a Heisman candidate but a proven baller with experience carrying a roster further than it should’ve gone. So, what happens when he is on an already good roster? We predict a national championship. Georgia has been criticized for an unimaginative offense, but we believe bringing in Todd Monken as OC will help them finally piece together both sides of the ball, as LSU did last year on their undefeated championship run. Georgia doesn’t exactly have an easy schedule, and we predict them dropping 1 in the regular season to Alabama, but we think they’ll win the SEC title game and every game afterward.

3. Oklahoma

Oklahoma football: The level Spencer Rattler is searching to reach

Seems like OU is always the fourth seed, doesn’t it? We don’t predict that changing this season. Spencer Rattler has all the makings of yet another elite OU QB, and he already has some experience in Lincoln Riley’s system. The loss of Kennedy Brooks (who announced he’s opting out) certainly hurts the diversity of OU’s offense, but Jeremiah Hall can help open up the offense. Oklahoma State is the biggest threat on OU’s schedule and we predict them or Iowa State gets a win over the Sooners this season, but we ultimately expect Riley’s coaching, an elite QB in Rattler and a top of the league passing game to bring the Sooners to another College Football Playoff appearance (but yet another semifinal loss).

4. Alabama

Najee Harris - Football - University of Alabama Athletics

This will be an interesting year for Alabama. We just hit the first 2 year title drought for the Crimson Tide since 2013-2014. They’re QB situation is interesting, with Mac Jones coming back as the projected starter but high school phenom Bryce Young waiting in the wing. The Tide’s defense looks airtight, so most questions are on the offensive side of the ball, and Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith are pretty powerful answers. We think the Crimson Tide will go undefeated in the regular season but lose the SEC title game to Georgia. This sets them up for a rematch with Clemson, and a strategic Dabo will exploit their few weaknesses (likely via Etienne) to scrape past them.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know on Twitter @Sidelines_SN, and bookmark SidelinesSports.Net on your browser (Ctrl+D on most browsers)!

Bad Idea Time: Why Don’t Nebraska and Iowa Join The Big 12?

new 12

We’re in the midst of perhaps the craziest week of off season College Football has ever seen. The Big 10 and Pac 12, as well as MAC and Mountain West conference, have all announced they will be cancelling the fall season, perhaps playing in the spring. Many star players are “opting out”, instead choosing to prepare for the NFL draft.

However, there is a notable detail about these votes to cancel the season. The Pac 12 voted unanimously, but there were two dissenters in the Big 10; Nebraska and Iowa. These two schools had leadership vote to play in the fall.

So, why not let them?

It’s already the weirdest College Football off season, let’s make it weirder. Both Nebraska and Iowa are very much in the Big 12 footprint (Nebraska previously played in the conference), it wouldn’t be much additional travel for Big 12 teams. We are of course, not the first to suggest this, and Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren already shot down the idea saying it wouldn’t be appropriate. Our (admittedly bad) proposal of the day? Nebraska and Iowa should just join the Big 12 permanently.

2019 Oklahoma Sooners Football Countdown to Kickoff | 86 Days! The ...

As noted, both schools already fall in the footprint of the conference. Furthermore, both have existing rivalries in conference, with Nebraska vs. Oklahoma and Iowa vs. Iowa State being long time feuds. This would also bump the Big 12 to twelve teams; a radical idea! The conference could then split into two six-team divisions, and add a little more sense to the Big 12 title game (especially since fans have long complained matching up the 2 best teams in conference reduces the chances of a Big 12 team making the playoff).

Money is the biggest downside, but it’s not all that bad. The Big Ten reportedly made $780 million total last year, giving $55 million to each of its full members. The Big 12 on the other hand made around $380 million, only giving $38.8 million to each member school. A $17 million dollar drop is a pretty big downside; but who is to say Big 12 revenue won’t skyrocket with the addition of these two teams? The move would add two historical football schools who have long been playing at the highest level. Nebraska vs. Texas and Nebraska vs, Oklahoma would surely be marquee games. Plus, both schools would be making money this season while the rest of the Big 10 will not, and will likely make less anyway if the season is pushed to the spring.

Iowa vs. Iowa State 2017: 9 cool things about the Hawkeyes win ...

It’s not a good idea, but it’s a fun idea. And it will make the Big 12 a more competitive conference compared to the Big 10 and SEC, as well as actually having the same number of teams as its name. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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College Football Realignment: A 12 Conference Model for the Future

By Andrew Sheridan, @SidelinesKState

new conf

Not too long ago, Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde released his version of how he would like to see College Football be realigned. Naturally, as every CFB nerd has done, this inspired me to create an overhaul realignment of College Football. So without further ado, here it is – College Football Realignment: A 12 Conference Model for the Future.

Realignment is more relevant than ever right now as schools deal with the issues thrown at them by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some conferences have cancelled the Fall football season while others have moved to Conference-Only schedules. Of course, this leads to questions such as, “Why can Iowa travel to Rutgers but not play Iowa State?” In reality, that answer has nothing to do with travel and everything to do with conference regulation, but that’s a story for another time. Even though the reason for moving to Conference-Only schedules isn’t 100% about distance traveled, regional conferences would be the perfect fit for College Football right now.

As conferences move to Conference-Only schedules, there will almost certainly not be as many games on the schedule. A very harsh reality is that we will likely see a shortened season this academic year, if at all. To keep things fair and equal, every team should have to play every team. This way, there can’t be one Big 10 team who has to play Ohio State, Penn State, and Minnesota while another gets to play Rutgers, Northwestern, and Purdue. In this instance, 10-team conferences would be ideal, as it would provide at minimum a 9-game schedule while still seeing every conference foe.

So, let’s get into it!

What’s wrong with the system we have right now?

To be blunt, there are several issues with the system in place as of now. Include the long-standing issues with new things such as COVID-19 financial issues, and we have even more problems. Let’s take a look.

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee

Through the past several seasons, everybody has had their gripes with the CFP Committee. Since the CFP started, the Committee has been far too inconsistent with how they base their rankings of teams. Here are some examples:

  • 2014: 1-loss teams Baylor and TCU both missed out on the inaugural playoff due to weak non-conference schedules and not being named an outright Conference Champion.

New Precedent: Conference Champion with better than average Non-Conference Schedule.

  • 2016: Big Ten Champion Penn State (2 losses) would miss out on the Playoff in place of 1-loss Ohio State. In this case, Ohio State was given the argument of a strong non-conference schedule after defeating Oklahoma, who finished #5 in the AP Poll that season.

Precedent Broken: Conference Champions

New Precedent: Have a strong Non-Conference Schedule and 1 loss or less.

  • 2017: The University of Central Florida finished the season with a record of 13-0, AAC Champions, and as Peach Bowl Champions. Despite their unblemished record, UCF still missed out on the College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, Alabama would finish (before postseason) with a record of 11-1 and no conference, or even division, championship title. On top of this, Alabama’s non-conference schedule was also very weak. Alabama was selected as the 4th team in that year’s Playoff.

Precedent Broken: Conference Champions; Better than Average Non-Conference Schedule; Undefeated Record

New Precedent: Group of 5 teams stand NO chance at making the CFP.

  • 2018: Once again, UCF would finish the regular season with an undefeated record. Again, they were left out of the Playoff. At least a previously set precedent was finally followed.

Dominant Divisions

Oftentimes, we see individual divisions within a conference that are simply dominant. This can be found when multiple teams from one division would win the other division in the conference. Here are some examples:

  • Big Ten East: Time and time again, the Big Ten East has proved its dominance over the B1G West. There have only been a handful of years when the West was even relatively close to the level of play the Big Ten East played at. Looking back all the way back to 2014 when the CFP was introduced, the East has won the B1G Championship every time.
  • SEC West: Along with the Big Ten East, the SEC West has also been dominant over the SEC East. With the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and the Mississippi schools (sorry, A&M), this division was always bound to be light years ahead of the SEC East. Since 2014, the SEC East has only won the SEC Championship one time. However, that very same year, the SEC Champion, Georgia, lost in the National Championship to SEC West team Alabama. In fact, the SEC East has only won the SEC Championship ONE time since 2009!
  • ACC Atlantic: While not as commonly thought of, the ACC Atlantic has largely dominated the ACC for the past several years. Largely in part due to Clemson and Florida State, the ACC Atlantic has won every ACC Championship since 2011. Only once out of those 11 games was the ACC Coastal team ranked higher.
  • PAC-12 North: Though you may not think this one too likely given the teams in the South, the PAC-12 North has won eight of the nine PAC-12 Championship games played. The lone loss was when #11 USC bested #14 Stanford in 2017.

Recruiting

Due to the difference in prestige between the Power 5 and Group of 5, recruiting faces major discrepancies. The majority of the time, P5 schools bring in the better recruits for a number of reasons:

  • Better Coaches
  • Chance for National Championship
  • Better Chance at NFL
  • Better Facilities
  • Get Paid More (yes, it happens; don’t deny it)

Realignment would not immediately solve all of these problems, but it would help to begin progress toward solving these issues in the long-run.

Travel Costs

Travel can be very costly to athletic departments, conferences, and the NCAA as a whole. Conferences aligned geographically would help to cut thousands of dollars spent on travel every season.

So, What is the Proposal?

This version of realignment organizes schools based on their geographic regions while still attempting to maintain Primary Rivalries.

The Layout

Instead of the 10 conferences made up of various numbers of teams that we see today, College Football would be made up of 12 different conferences made up of 10 teams each. This would help to balance out the conferences across the board. The FBS currently consists of 130 different schools across the country. The new layout would only see 120 teams in the FBS. This new alignment would see 13 teams relegated to the FCS while 3 teams will be promoted to the FBS.

So, to summarize:

  • 120 Total Teams
  • 12 Conferences
  • 10 Teams per Conference
  • 13 Teams Relegated to FCS
  • 3 Teams Promoted to FBS

Every team would play a Round-Robin style set of conference games resulting in 9 conference games. Each team would then play 3 non-conference games with the option to play 1 FCS team available (I know this is not liked, but the payouts for the FCS schools are needed to help keep their athletic departments alive).

The Top 2 finishers in each conference would advance to the First Round of the College Football Playoff where the winner would advance to the Round of 12. Yes, that’s right; the Playoff will be expanded to a 24-team Playoff.

All other teams with at least 6 wins would play in normal bowl games, as is done currently.

Here is how the new College Football Playoff will look:

  • 24 Teams
    • All Auto-Bids
  • Top 2 per Conference Advance
  • Round 1 (Round of 24):
    • “Conference Championships”
    • Neutral Site or Higher Seed is Host; Dependent on Conference
  • Round 2 (Top 12):
    • 4 Highest Remaining Seeds on BYE
    • Seeds 5-12 in Traditional 8-Team Format Tournament
    • Higher Seed is Host
  • Round 3 (National Quarterfinals):
    • Seeds 1-8 in Traditional 8-Team Format Tournament
    • Neutral Site
  • Round 4 (National Semifinals):
    • 4 Remaining Teams in Traditional 4-Team Tournament Format
    • Neutral Site
  • Round 5 (National Championship):
    • 2 Remaining Teams in Traditional 2-Team Tournament Format
    • Neutral Site

CFP

The Rankings

The current system in place to determine how a team is ranked in College Football is via the College Football Playoff Committee, a group of 13 people. While the idea of having humans selecting the rankings may seem appealing at first, the appeal quickly dies away. Of course, this is simply because we as humans have opinions, and that’s okay, but opinions shouldn’t be choosing how the teams are ranked, or at least choosing alone. The new ranking system will be made up of 7 different ranking systems averaged together. We bring old and new together as we have 4 computer rankings and 3 human rankings combine. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • 7 Polls Averaged
  • 4 Computer Polls
    • MaxDiff
    • BCS
    • ESPN FPI
    • Heck-Miles
  • 3 Human Polls
    • CFP Committee
    • AP
    • Coaches

The Conferences

  • AAC – American Athletic Conference
      • Headquarters in Louisville, KY or Indianapolis, IN or Richmond, VA
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis, IN
        • M&T Bank Stadium; Baltimore, MD
        • FedEx Field; Washington D.C.
  • ACC – Atlantic Coastal Conference
      • Headquarters in Charlotte, NC or Columbia, SC
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, NC
        • Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, PA
  • B1G – Big Ten Conference
      • Headquarters in Columbus, OH or Detroit, MI or Indianapolis, IN
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Ford Field; Detroit, MI
        • Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis, IN
        • Paul Brown Stadium; Cincinnati, OH
  • CPC – Central Plains Conference
      • Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN or Chicago, IL
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Soldier Field; Chicago, IL
        • U.S. Bank Stadium; Minneapolis, MN
  • GCC – Gulf Coast Conference
      • Headquarters in Houston, TX or New Orleans, LA
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, LA
        • NRG Stadium; Houston, TX
  • GPC – Great Plains Conference
      • Headquarters in Kansas City, KS/MO or Denver, CO
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, MO
        • Empower Field at Mile High; Denver, CO
  • MWC – Mountain West Conference
      • Headquarters in Seattle, WA or Salt Lake City, UT
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Century-Link Field; Seattle, WA
        • Allegiant Field; Las Vegas, NV
  • NEC – Northeastern Conference
      • Headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA or New York City, NY or Trenton, NJ
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Metlife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ
        • Heinz Field; Pittsburg, PA
        • Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, MA
  • PAC – Pacific Athletic Conference
      • Headquarters in Los Angeles, CA or San Francisco, CA
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, CA
        • SoFi Stadium; Inglewood, CA
        • State Farm Stadium; Phoenix, AZ
  • SAC – Southern America Conference
      • Headquarters in Dallas, TX or Oklahoma City, OK
      • Possible Conference Championship Location:
        • AT&T Stadium; Arlington, TX
        • Alamodome; San Antonio, TX
  • SBC – Sun Belt Conference
      • Headquarters in Memphis, TN or Nashville, TN or Mobile, AL
        • Nissan Stadium; Nashville, TN
        • Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium; Memphis, TN
  • SEC – Southeastern Conference
    • Headquarters in Atlanta, GA or Orlando, FL or Tampa, FL
    • Possible Conference Championship Location:
      • Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Atlanta, GA
      • Camping World Stadium; Orlando, FL
      • Hard Rock Stadium; Miami, FL
      • Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, FL
      • TIAA Bank Field; Jacksonville, FL

Realignment

Finally, the moment you all clicked this article for! Where does your team end up?

The following 13 teams said goodbye to the FBS:

  • Akron
  • Bowling Green State
  • Central Michigan
  • East Carolina
  • Kent State
  • Liberty
  • Middle Tennessee State
  • New Mexico State
  • Rice
  • Texas State
  • UConn
  • UMass
  • UTEP

Meanwhile, we had 3 teams say hello to the FBS:

  • James Madison
  • North Dakota State
  • Northern Iowa

And alas, here they are: the Realignment!

  • AAC – American Athletic Conference

AAC

  • ACC – Atlantic Coastal Conference

ACC

  • B1G – Big Ten Conference

big

  • CPC – Central Plains Conference

cpc

  • GCC – Gulf Coast Conference

gcc

  • GPC – Great Plains Conference

gpc

  • MWC – Mountain West Conference

mwc

  • NEC – Northeastern Conference

nec

  • PAC – Pacific Athletic Conference

pac

  • SAC – Southern America Conference

sac

  • SBC – Sun Belt Conference

sbc

  • SEC – Southeastern Conference

sec

new conf

Do you like where your team landed at? Could you see the FBS moving to a model similar to this in the future or do you think conferences will grow into Super Conferences in the future?

Be sure to follow @Sidelines_SN on Twitter and Instagram to continue to see more great content like this! Leave us some feedback! We would love to know what you think of our content!

Best Helmets of the CFB Season So Far:

Football is about a lot of things. Teamwork. Strength. Strategy. But one thing is more important than all: cool helmets. That’s right. It’s great when we see a flashy one handed catch, or a 99-yard kick return, but we all know the reason we tune in every Saturday is to see some dope domes, right?

Okay, maybe not, but we’re still going to make a list of our favorites anyway.

4. Florida State

Image Courtesy of @safid_deen on Twitter

Although the teams performance may not have been as spectacular, these helmets shone during the Seminole’s Monday night match up against Virginia Tech. Or, didn’t shine, because they were matte black. Huge props to the equipment crew; the garnet/black gradient on the helmet was just perfect. These lids capped off a slick black uniform that I was a huge fan of, although many FSU fans believed it cursed the team.

Image result for florida state virginia tech football

3. Duke

Image result for duke army football script helmet

 

Image Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

Duke brought back the script helmets that have been featured against UNC and against NIU in the Quick Lane bowl. I can’t get enough of them – in fact I’d be happy if Duke switched to this look full time. After all, Duke used this look from 1978-2003. The chrome lettering looked especially great against the all blue base of the uniform.

2. Hawaii

Image result for hawaii colorado state

Image Courtesy of sbnation.com

Hurricane Lane devastated the Hawaiian islands prior to their first match up against Colorado State, leaving many without power or worse. Hawaii turned this into a rallying cry and paid homage with these beautiful island decals on a black base helmet. Not only did these lids carry significant meaning for the players and their people, but they looked incredible. Even better, Hawaii won the game in a major upset – and haven’t lost since.

1. Tulane

Image Courtesy of @uniswag on Twitter

No other equipment team stood a chance when these bad boys were released. C’mon, what’s not to love about Angry Wave? Tulane has sported similar helmets before, but this was the first with the light blue face mask which really makes the accents on Angry Wave pop. Plus, these domes went with a beautiful blue uniform for the Green Wave.

tulane.png

Image Courtesy of AmericanAthleticConf on YouTube

Will anyone be able to beat Tulane’s helmet this season? Is there another team that should’ve made this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Must-Watch Spring Games

While the basketball world is in the depths of March Madness, College Football fans are gearing up for spring games; the slight whiff of fall ball that gets us through the off season (besides of course, frequent and rampant speculation).

Here’s our list of must-watch spring games with details.

spring games.png

Thoughts on the games? Think we should have included others? Let us know in the comments below.

Requiem for Russell Athletic

russt

Image Courtesy of ramblinwreck.com

On September 28, 2017 Russell announced they would cease producing uniforms for football teams.

This didn’t come as much of a surprise since they only had two FBS college football teams left wearing them, Georgia Tech and Southern Miss, who both announced they would be switching to Adidas when their Russell Athletic contracts expired in 2018.

So, in memoriam, we take a look back at Russell Athletic’s history, contributions and mistakes in sports apparel design.

The History:

russell hist.png

Image Courtesy of logonoid.com

Russell Manufacturing Co. was founded in Alexander City, Alabama in 1902 by Benjamin Russell. However, they did not produce athletic apparel until 1938, six years after they acquired Southern Manufacturing Company.

During World War II, Russell Manufacturing’s main focus was supplying the U.S. Army and Navy with shirts, athletic wear and undergarments. However, they continued to expand their athletic wear production during this time and by the 1960’s would become the largest sports apparel manufacturer.

From the 70’s onward they began to dominate many sports leagues as uniform of choice. 18 of the 28 NFL teams during this era sported Russell at some point, including the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. The corporation signed a five year deal to become the exclusive producer of Major League Baseball uniforms in 1992, which was expanded until 1999. Between 1999 and 2004 (when Majestic took over) there was no sole supplier of MLB kits, but Russell continued to supply many. Russell also had deals with Little League Baseball and the Harlem Globetrotters.

As far as college football, current FBS teams that once donned Russell Athletic include Coastal Carolina, Washington State, Western Kentucky, Ohio University, Southern Miss and, of course, Georgia Tech.

However, Russell’s partnerships waned throughout the 21st century until we got to where we are today. Russell has announced that they plan to focus their resources on providing consumer apparel, and will cease producing team uniforms for any sport.

The Highlights:

While most won’t remember Russell uniforms fondly (especially Yellow Jacket fans), there were some diamonds in the rough. Here are some of our favorite past kits from the manufacturer:

Western Kentucky: Boca Raton Bowl, 2016

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Image Courtesy of latimes.com

This uniform might be one of Russell’s most memorable, and not just because of WKU’s 51-31 victory over a strong Memphis team. WKU’s helmets are one of the few chrome domes I approve of (another being Memphis’ striped buckets), and the bold black and red on these jersey supported them without overshadowing them. I think the black and white shoulder striped looked great with the numbers and black pants. This was a great victory for both the Hilltoppers and Russell.

Ohio University: vs. Eastern Michigan, 2012

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Image Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

If you’re a close follower of Gridlines you know I’m a huge fan of “color rush” uniforms; and this 2012 Bobcats kit is no exception. It’s such a beautiful shade of green on these bad boys, and it looked even better matched up against Eastern Michigan’s white background. Russell stuck to the basic here, but the simple all green look definitely made an impact. Only flaw here, in my opinion, are the white/black/white shoulders, but they don’t detract enough to take away from this overall stunning kit.

Georgia Tech: Orange Bowl, 2014

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Image Courtesy of rantsports.com

This one might not be as stunning as the last two, but it was one of the acceptable uniforms Russell ever put out for the Yellow Jackets. Why? Because Georgia Tech’s colors are white, *gold* (old gold, if we’re being nit-picky) and blue. Russell really struggled with the concept of gold, and for some reason used what I can only describe as p*$$ color. Here, however, we get a brilliant blue and a real gold color, at least on the helmet. The pants were fine, too.

The Lowlights:

Yes, what we all came for. The true eulogy for Russell Athletic. Here are the worst of the worst.

Southern Miss: vs. FAU, 2013

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Image Courtesy of fansided.com

I genuinely do not even know where to begin. Digital camo has long been trying to worm its ugly way into athletics, with no signs of stopping (I’m looking at you, San Antonio Spurs). But this is truly one of the worst. If they had gone for solid black with the camo accent it might’ve been somewhat redeemable, but these kits just look like a West Virginia uniform if I was watching the game while on salvia. I hope Adidas treats you better, Golden Eagles. Just please, no tire treads.

Georgia Tech: Chick-Fil-A Bowl, 2008

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Image Courtesy of uniformcritics.com

Yes, these uniforms somewhat capture the blue and gold, but…no. The shoulder spread looked absolutely atrocious, separating the jersey into a strange top half and bottom half look. This kit looks like mustard stains all over a Penn State uniform. The gold on the sides looks terrible as well and certainly doesn’t help the cause. Georgia Tech should’ve stuck to it’s classic looks, and at most used it’s honeycomb alternate pattern. Tech, I hope Adidas treats you better too.

Ohio University: vs. Miami-Ohio, 2013

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Image Courtesy of uniformcritics.com

While I always appreciate special looks for a rivalry, this didn’t do the Battle of the Bricks justice. The brick pattern came out looking more like a loosely-applied stamp, and was done in the absolute ugliest shade of green possible. Green and white are classic colors and Ohio has some of the best branding in the MAC, so it hurts me to see Russell disrespect them like this. This was a neat concept too, ruined by an inept athletic apparel company.

At least you can’t hurt us anymore, Russell. Goodnight, sweet prince, and good riddance.

Did we forget a highlight, or an abomination? Comment below, and be sure to check Gridlines for weekly updates!