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We Don’t Need No Meows

September 10, 2011

Much like football, storytelling is generally better in the South.  Take a gander at this here video of Coastal Carolina head football coach David Bennett.  In this press conference he is imparting some pearls of wisdom on his team and the greater football world.  Perhaps in response to all of the new fancy schmancy uniforms and accessories seen on the field these days, he wants his team to be more focused on playing the game than on how they look.  He has an interesting way of conveying that message.

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College Football Fashion Week

September 6, 2011

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week gets under way Thursday in New York, but the House of Nike and House of Under Armour debuted their fall collections this past weekend.  Instead of tents at Bryant Park we had stadiums in Atlanta, Dallas, and College Park, Maryland.

On Saturday Nike debuted three uniforms from its Pro Combat line.  Boise State and Georgia wore their new unis in their matchup against each other, and Oregon wore new duds against LSU.  The Pro Combat line has become a yearly showcase for Nike design and technology.  Different schools are chosen each year, and for 2011 in addition to the previously-mentioned teams are Army, Michigan State, Navy, Ohio State, and Stanford.  I liked Boise State’s design, especially the helmet with the large bronco on the side.  Their opponent, Georgia, on the other hand…  I usually love most things Nike, but I just couldn’t get with this.  Something about the all red seemed a bit lacking, and the helmet reminded me of an ornament.

As usual the pièce de resistance came with Oregon.  As the alma mater of Nike co-founder and Chairman, Phil Knight, the Ducks always get the latest and greatest swoosh-wear.  Each year they have eleventy million uniform combinations (yes, that is an exact count).  The black on black on black with highlights of lime green really stood out.

On Monday night Under Armour debuted new uniforms for the Maryland Terrapins.  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank graduated from Maryland prompting many to call the Terps the new Oregon of athletic apparel.  The team came out for warmups wearing helmets with a turtle-shell pattern.  They pulled the switcheroo on everyone, and nearly broke Twitter, wearing helmets with a Maryland state flag design to match their jerseys.  To say the design was met with some criticism would be a GROSS understatement.  Comments on the uniforms compared them to everything from the Knights Templar to Cirque du Soleil.  Based on the widespread backlash I feel like one of the few people in the country who actually liked the uniforms.  I loved the bold design and bright colors.  Having the uniforms shine in a night game under the lights always helps.  As with many designs that come down the runway during fashion week, these were for show and not ready to wear; the jerseys will not be sold in stores.  As is also the case with fashion there are always hits and misses, and not everyone agrees on which is which; but we can all enjoy the show.

 

Images:  1. Baltimore Business Journal; 2. NikeBlog.com; 3. Sole Collector; 4. SB Nation

Lone Star Defection

September 5, 2011

Goodbye to texas university
So long to the orange and the white

Those are the lines from the Texas A&M War Hymn, and it looks like the Aggies are taking it quite literally.  Last week A&M announced that it will be leaving behind the Longhorns of the University of Texas (or texas university, depending on who you ask) and the rest of the Big 12 Conference, effective next summer.

There were rumors last summer of Texas A&M bolting for the SEC amid an impending collapse of the Big 12.  In the end the conference lost two schools (Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big 10) and A&M stay put.  This year, however, saw the debut of the Longhorn Network; a channel revolving around University of Texas athletics.  This appeared to be the last straw for Texas A&M, not willing to play second fiddle to the Longhorns in the conference and in national exposure.

Texas A&M’s official letter of departure sent the “Aggies to the SEC” rumors into overdrive.  As a graduate of an SEC school and a fiercely loyal fan of the conference, I’m not a proponent of this move.  Not to sound like a conference xenophobe, but I like the SEC the way it is.  Part of what makes college football fun is the regional ties and distinctions.  The experience of Saturday in the SEC is different than that of the Pac-12* and the Big 10*.  Those differences create the richness of the college football landscape.  With conferences continuing to expand beyond their traditional footprints it seems as though we’re losing some of that.  I’m not saying I don’t like Texas A&M.  I had a blast during my visit to College Station last year.  But I also had a great time at USC; it doesn’t mean I think they’re a good fit for the SEC.

I had my feelings on the matter but wanted to get my cousin’s take.  She graduated from Texas A&M this year and is as passionate about her Aggies as I am about my Gators.  She doesn’t like the Big 12 departure either.  She isn’t sure they’re ready to compete in the SEC, but her primary concern was who the Aggies’ rivals would be.  On the other hand there are other Aggies I’ve encountered who are excited about the potential move and the ability to see their team make appearances east of the Mississippi.  Perspective is a wonderful thing.

I understand that what this all boils down to is expanding media markets and what makes sense financially for the schools and conferences.  But I do love those intangibles that make college football the best thing before and since sliced bread.

*They’ve seen geographic changes as well.

Images:  1. Striped Pants and Cowboy Boots; 2. Moi

To Catch a Football Fan

August 7, 2011

Law enforcement is not an easy job.  You have to deal with people who often are not too happy to see you, especially when you come calling with a warrant in hand.  Folks will often go to great lengths to avoid arrest.  So when the Lee County Sheriff’s Office needed help tracking down those who had evaded the long arm of the law they turned to the most powerful force in the South: college football.

The sheriff’s department set up a To Catch a Predator-type sting in Opelika, Alabama called Operation: Iron Snare.  In the sting to catch those delinquent on child support they sent out letters to the offenders telling them they had won tickets to the Iron Bowl, the annual AlabamaAuburn rivalry game.  When they arrived at the stated location to collect their tickets they were instead greeted by a camera crew and handcuffs.  Chris Hansen would be proud.  Video of the sting is posted below.  Have a seat, and have a look.

Image: Kontan’s Place

London Calling

July 31, 2011

This week ushered in the one year mark to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.  I’m always excited about the Olympics, and this time around is no different.  As usual with Olympic countdowns we were introduced to new facilities, medals, and host-country athletes.

The Aquatics Centre was unveiled as the most recently completed Olympic facility.  With gold medalists Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte preparing for the Games and one of my favorite athletes, Ian Thorpe (aka the Thorpedo) looking to make a comeback, the Aquatic Centre is sure to be one of London’s most popular venues.  Also located in Olympic Park, the Olympic Stadium, Basketball Arena, and International Broadcast Centre were completed earlier in the year.

The world’s most coveted neckwear debuted during the one year countdown.  The London 2012 Olympic medals were unveiled in a ceremony featuring Princess Anne; whose daughter, Zara Phillips, is training for the Olympics.  I have to say that I’m not taken with these medals.  I’m not a fan of the London 2012 logo, and seeing it on the medals doesn’t make it any better.  It looks like something I might see at a skating rink in the early ’90s.  But a medal is a medal, right?

In keeping with tradition we were introduced to some host country medal hopefuls.  The Brits haven’t been known as being particularly Olympic-dominant in recent times, but the home team usually gets a bit of a boost during the Games.  As mentioned earlier, Zara Phillips, thirteenth in line to the British throne and fresh off a royal wedding of her own, is an equestrian athlete expected to compete in the 2012 Olympics.  She and husband Mike Tindall decided to forego a honeymoon so they could continue to train in their respective sports (he is captain of the English rugby team).  Diver Tom Daley marked the completion of the Aquatics Centre by taking the first dive in the new facility.  The 17-year-old is expected to make a splash (pun intended) and medal in next year’s Games.

I’m saving up my pounds and pence to try to make it to London for the thirtieth Olympiad.  Hope to see you there!

 

Photos:  1.  We Love Bristol, 2.  London 2012, 3.  London 2012, 4.  The Telegraph

Bracketology: The Results

April 6, 2011

On Monday night in the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game the UConn Huskies beat the Butler Bulldogs to take the title.  As my parents’ alma mater I’m glad UConn won if the Gators couldn’t be in it.

As mentioned in previous posts I performed an experiment in making my bracket picks this year.  Instead of filling out one set of brackets, I did four.  In the first set I tried to use some logic to make my picks on Selection Sunday.  I filled out the second set a couple days later after I let the team selections and seedings marinate a little bit.  The next two methods of bracket selections came from the observation that many times the person who wins the bracket pool knows nothing about college basketball.  So for my third and fourth sets of brackets I filled out one based on uniforms and one based on mascots.  Which turned out to be the best method?

The results fluctuated throughout the tournament, but in the end the mascot bracket was the most successful.  Based on the scorekeeping of ESPN Tournament Challenge the mascots bracket came in first with 550 points (64th percentile), the Selection Sunday bracket was second with 540 points (60th percentile), the Tuesday bracket was third with 510 points (47th percentile), and coming in dead last was the uniforms bracket with 370 points (4th percentile).

The mascot method seems to have proven successful for many people.  Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s five-year-old son, Henry, gained a lot of press for his selections.  He picked his teams based on mascots and, at one point, was ranked 103rd out of nearly six million entries.  His standing fell as the tournament went on, but he still finished in the 93rd percentile.  Liam’s Mum, a frequent guest on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning and mother of one of the producers, made her selections based on mascots and was eerily accurate.  Liam’s mum is a British woman who knows nothing about sports.  They often have her on the show just to get a laugh out of her sports ignorance.  However, she had Butler and UConn in the championship game.  Her prediction for the final score?  53-39.  The actual final score?  53-41.

I guess it goes to show that the mascot method isn’t such a bad approach after all.  In a tournament where anything can happen and experts are made to eat crow, the “huskies are cuter than bulldogs” approach may serve you well in the future.

Photos: 1. Collegiate Hoops, 2. Star-Telegram

Peanuts and Cracker Jacks and Victoria’s Secret

March 31, 2011

Today is Major League Baseball‘s Opening Day.  To get you ready to play ball, Victoria’s Secret has an expanded line of MLB apparel.  The Pink brand debuted its baseball collection last year with offerings for 11 teams.  This year the line has been expanded to 23 teams and will include all 30 clubs for the 2012 season.  The gear will be sold at Victoria’s Secret stores in the clubs’ markets, in the teams’ stadiums, and on victoriassecret.com.  I really like this collection.  They’ve managed to make it feminine without being too frilly.  And even though the brand is called Pink, I love that the clothes are actually in the teams’ colors.  There’s a balance of clothes you can wear lounging around the house or to the game.

Victoria’s Secret has taken big steps to cater to the female sports fan.  The Pink collection already has a line for collegiate and NFL teams.  The fact that Victoria’s Secret, perhaps the most feminine of popular retail outlets, offers dedicated lines of sports apparel bucks the stereotype of the female fan.  I hope more companies pay attention and follow what Victoria’s Secret is doing.  I’m excited about the fact that a company of this caliber is actually mass producing team apparel specifically for women.  It’s nice to have options other shrunken down men’s designs and being forced to shop in the kids section.  We’re movin’ on up!

 

Images: Victoria’s Secret