Thursday, December 6, 2018

The 5 Best Student Sections in College Basketball

College basketball is now in full swing, and it won’t be long before we start talking about tournament-bound teams and those that need a little push to get into the postseason discussion. What better way to get that push than with a rowdy, supportive student section at your back? College basketball has always been known for its passionate student fans, so here are five of our favorites.

1. Duke Blue Devils - Known as the Cameron Crazies, the student section of Cameron Indoor Stadium has long been the envy of many college basketball teams. The arena itself is small and cozy enough that fans are right on top of the floor, and the student section starts just above floor level. Opposing players even have to inbound the ball with students lingering inches away!

Blue Devils fans reaching out, courtesy of tarheelblog.com

2. Pittsburgh Panthers - The student section for the Panthers is known as the Oakland Zoo, and the rowdiness of the fans certainly makes it feel like a zoo. They’re loud all game long and make sure the opposition knows they’re there. Just try making a free throw when facing the Oakland Zoo. We dare you.

theblacksheeponline.com's view of the Oakland Zoo

3. Iowa State Cyclones - What’s worse than one student section to deal with half the game? The answer is two student sections on either side of the court. Iowa State has positioned two sets of bleachers under either hoop and filled them with over 2,500 screaming Cyclone fans to make sure the opposition never gets comfortable driving to the basket.

Wikipedia.org's view of Cyclone fans at either hoop

4. Michigan State Spartans - There’s nothing more cozy and inviting than a 360-degree view of screaming basketball fans trying to disrupt your focus. Lovingly call the Izzone after men’s head coach Tom Izzo, the student section in East Lansing wraps entirely around the floor, making for an intimidating atmosphere.

Welcome to the Izzone, courtesy of aubzim.wordpress

5. Arizona State Sun Devils - ASU gets all the credit for having the most creative approach to disrupting the other team. The student section in Tucson features the famed Curtain of Distraction, where students step out in colorful and hilarious outfits to distract the opposing team while they attempt free throws. It’s located right under the hoop and celebrities regularly get in on the fun!

sportsonearth.com's view of what's behind the Curtain of Distraction

We’re bound to see plenty of passionate and loud student sections this season, and we certainly didn’t hit on all the great student sections in college basketball. Be sure to leave us a comment and vouch for your school’s fanbase!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Game Bibs Bowl Game Predictions


As the calendar turns to December, we’re once again looking forward to college football bowl season. Aside from the annual Army/Navy game next week which plays out a bit like a bowl game, we’ll have a slew of matchups in the next few weeks leading to the national championship tournament at the end of December and early January. We couldn’t possibly pick a winner for every game, but here are a few of our favorites based on matchups and team colors.

Tulane vs. Louisiana
Green and blue is a criminally underused color combination, and the Green Wave uses it to its full effect. Squaring off in an all-bayou matchup against the UL Ragin’ Cajuns, we’re looking forward to this colorful game come December 15. The Green Wave will eek out a win and take a trophy home to New Orleans.

Photo credit: tulanegreenwave.com

Boston College vs. Boise State
The Broncos from Boise have turned blue and orange up a notch compared to other teams, and even use blue turf on their home field. The Eagles from Newton, however, rely on a traditional, no-frills look. If they both get to wear colored jerseys instead of white, this will be one of the more fun games to watch. The Eagles win it after a surprisingly successful season.

Photo credit: bcheights.com

Notre Dame vs. Clemson
Purple and orange isn’t found anywhere other than Clemson, SC in college football, and the Tigers have turned it into a popular look with their recent run of success. Stacking up against them is the classic, gold-domed squad from South Bend. It’s hard to tell who will win based on physical skill, but it’s sure to be a pretty game to look at. Notre Dame will outlast the Tigers and get back to the championship game.

Photo credit: onefootdown.com

Stanford vs. Pittsburgh
If the Panthers wear their throwback uniforms of yellow and blue, this game will be the best of the whole bowl season. The players from the University of Pittsburgh won’t have much to cheer about, though, as they’ll run into the passing attack of the Cardinal. Stanford wins a close one.

Photo credit: oregonlive.com

Mississippi State vs. Iowa
Depending on how the Bulldogs are dressed, this could be a visual gem of a game. If they trot out in their maroon tops with grey pants against Iowa’s Steelersesque getup, go ahead and give them the trophy for best-dressed. If they come out in a random one-off uniform with shiny helmets and mismatched uniform pieces, it’s another story. Bulldogs will win it.
Photo credit: forwhomthecowbelltolls.com

Texas vs. Georgia
This one is likely to be the most fun game to watch. In one hand you have great receivers in a revitalized Longhorn squad and in the other you have a punishing 2-man running game in Georgia. It’s also going to be one of the nicest looking games, with both teams wearing classic uniforms. The Bulldogs will outlast the Longhorns in a classic.

Photo credit: athlonsports.com

A full-scale tournament with teams representing every conference might be years off, but there’s certainly a nice mix of games to be played this postseason in college football. We know we jumped around a bit and didn’t include plenty of other games, so be sure to chime in and tell us what you think will happen this bowl season. Enjoy the games and best of luck to your alma mater!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Why the Lions & Cowboys Play on Thanksgiving


As the calendar turns from October to November and we regret all the candy we ate, thoughts turn to the Thanksgiving feast that’s just weeks away. With Turkey Day comes the NFL tradition of the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys playing a mid-week game against rotating opponents. But why do the Lions and Cowboys always play a game on Thanksgiving? What’s the story behind it? Settle in while we tell you a tale.

Photo credit: mlive.com
The year was 1934 and a young football team called the Portsmouth Spartans was bought by Detroit radio entrepreneur, George A. Richards, and relocated to the Motor City. George needed to make a big splash to draw fans away from the juggernaut Tigers, who were dominating baseball at the time, so he proposed the idea of a Lions game held on Thanksgiving and broadcast around the country. Using his media connections, Richards got NBC to broadcast the game nationwide to a captivated audience. He even sold out the game after struggling to get fans into the stadium in games past. The game was a hit and Richards turned the Thanksgiving game into an annual Lions tradition. Fast forward over 80 years later and the Lions are a Turkey Day mainstay. They’ll play the Chicago Bears this year in a rematch of their first Thanksgiving game.

Not to be outdone by Detroit, the Dallas Cowboys jumped at the chance to get in on the Thanksgiving publicity in 1966. Having joined the NFL in 1960 as an expansion team to replace the Texans, who left town for Kansas City, the Cowboys weren’t America’s team from the get go. In fact, they struggled to win games in their first several seasons. 1966 was a turning point for them, however, when they made the NFL Championship game. Many credit their Thanksgiving Day appearance against the Cleveland Browns as the team’s national introduction, and the team’s Thanksgiving Day tradition was born. Dallas will play their rivals from Washington in this year’s matchup.

To get other fanbases in on the fun, the NFL expanded their Thanksgiving Day coverage to include a third game with rotating participants starting in 2006. This year it’s the Falcons and the Saints, and last year it was the Redskins and the Giants. We’re likely to be napping on the couch by the time that third game rolls around, but we’ll be sure to watch the NFL’s two traditional Thanksgiving teams take the field.

Photo credit: sportshax.com
Who are you rooting for in this year’s Thanksgiving Day football games? Do you have any sport traditions for the big day? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The 5 Spookiest Fanbases in Football

Photo credit: ESPNSA.com
Every sport has its passionate fans, but football tends to bring out some of the more creative and diehard fanbases. From homemade costumes and lots of face paint to pre-game rituals, fans of certain teams just do it better and scarier than everyone else. In celebration of Halloween, here are five of the spookiest fanbases in football.

1. Oakland Raiders
No discussion about football fans is complete without Raider Nation. What started in the team’s first stay in Oakland as a counterpoint to San Francisco’s white collar vibe, fans of the Raiders go big every game. Every jersey is accented with face paint, anything black is repurposed for the game and it generally feels like you’re in a Mad Max movie if you happen to be sitting in Oakland’s famed Black Hole fan section. Enter if you dare.

2. Cleveland Browns
The team may be in the midst of a historically bad stretch, but that hasn’t stopped their fans from coming out in droves (or packs). The team’s most passionate fans sit in the Dawg Pound section and wear a variety of dog masks over their faces. What started as a few droopy Bloodhound masks has gotten spookier and creepier over the years, including wolves and 3-headed monsters like this one. Good dog.

Photo credit: yardbarker.com
3. Seattle Seahawks
In the city known for its incredibly loud fans and “12th Man” deafening noise, Seahawks fans have begun to embrace their teams colors in recent years and taken a page out of Raider Nation’s playbook. Enter this horrifyingly muscular creature. Whether you’re seated next to Hulk 2.0 or a face-painted screaming fan, it’s not the most inviting environment.

Photo credit: guinessworldrecords.com
4. Green Bay Packers
These fans are more crazy than they are spooky. In America’s Great White North, there’s a battle going on between NFC North Bears and Packers fans for who can withstand the coldest game temperatures possible. As least they’re wearing beanies in this photo. We’re shivering just looking at them and thinking of the head cold that likely soon followed.
Photo credit: sosbros.com
5. Philadelphia Eagles
You’re likely to run into nightmarish fans like this one here, but the spookiest thing about Eagles fans is their relentlessness. If you stand out in the crowd during an away game, expect to get incessantly heckled by the Philly faithful. Make any kind of public gaffe? You’re public enemy #1. Keep your head down, wear neutral colors and reserve your celebrations for the car ride home.

Photo credit: dailyupperdecker.com
So there you have it: Our top five spookiest, most intimidating, scariest fanbases in football. Did we miss any? Did we get any wrong? Let us know in the comments below, and have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

6 Tips for a Successful Tailgate in the Rain


Only amateurs let a little rain scare them away from a tailgate. With preparation and the right attitude in mind, you can prevent the weather from putting a halt to your fun on game day. You’ve probably already got the attitude part down, so here are some tips on how to prepare for a tailgate in the rain.

1. Optimize Your Shelter
First and foremost, you want to make sure your shelter is in tip-top shape, and that starts with checking for any potential leaks in your canopy. Because you normally use a canopy for shade, you may not have noticed any small holes in it. With everyone huddled in the tent on game day, you want to make the best use of your space. And don’t forget to pack some handy duct tape to take care of those last-minute leaks!

Photo credit: arktimes.com
Next, you want to rainproof your canopy with some walls and a gutter system. The canopy walls will keep you sheltered if you start to experience that heavy horizontal rain, and the gutter system will prevent the top of your tent from collecting a pool of rain and caving in. It sort of defeats the purpose of having a canopy if you have water coming at you from all angles. You can buy the canopy walls and gutter system or just use tarps for makeshift canopy walls and hula hoops to prevent the top of your tent from caving in.

2. Bring Extra Clothes
Ponchos, rain shoes, rain jackets, umbrellas, trench coats - bring it all! You never know what level of rain you’re going to get, so go ahead and assume the worst. You’ll be grateful that you brought everything once it starts to pour. Plus, you can save someone’s day by lending him or her an extra jacket if he or she forgot one at home. You should also bring an extra change of clothes, especially if you plan on heading inside the stadium later. You don’t want to ruin your clothes while you’re setting up and end up having to sit in wet clothes all day. You might go for something more casual during your tailgate, but once you’re inside, don’t forget to wear something colorful to get you noticed, like colorful game bibs - which leads to our next tip.

3. Get Noticed
On game day, you want your friends to be able to find your tent in the murky, gray weather. What better way to stand out from the crowd than in some colorful game bibs? You’ll really stand out if you get a bunch of your friends to dress up in game bibs with you. Who’s going to miss the crowd of people all wearing colorful bibs? Wear them under a matching poncho, or you can even wear them over regular clothes to keep you extra dry.

4. Arrive Even Earlier
Every experienced tailgater knows how important it is to arrive early to get your tailgate started on the right foot. Premium spots are limited, and they are even fewer on rainy days. Nothing is worse than getting stuck at the lowest point of the parking lot and ending up in a flood area. So get there as early as possible to make sure you score an area on higher ground, which will make all the difference in the world when it rains.

5. Keep It Simple
Save the five-course gourmet meal for another day. This is probably not the tailgate where you want to go all out with the food you serve, so keep it simple with handheld food and save space in your tent. You won’t be able to fit as many people in your tent if you serve plate food, so it’s better to just stick to grill food like wings, burgers and chips and dip. Plus, you have enough to worry about as it is preparing for the rain, and you’ll just be adding more to your plate if you have to worry about cooking for and cleaning up after more elaborate meal options.

6. Exercise Caution
Err on the side of caution on a cloudy game day. If you think there is even the smallest chance of rain, go ahead and prepare for it. Even if the weather radar says there won’t be rain, it doesn’t hurt to be a little cautious, and you will be grateful that you listened to your gut when it starts to pour later. Once it starts to rain, it’s also time to turn off your generator. Your first instinct might be to just cover it up with a tarp, but this is a really bad idea that can lead to accidents. The generator needs to be in a dry area with proper ventilation, so covering it is literally playing with fire. It’s not worth ruining your fun over this.

Don’t let the weather stop you from enjoying a proper tailgate. With a little preparation, your rainy tailgates are sure to be just as fun. And remember that the most important thing on game day is your enthusiasm and passion for the sport, so don’t sweat the little things like your clothes getting wet. What are some ways you prepare for a rainy tailgate? And what are some of your stories? Let us know in the comments below and stay dry out there!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Seeing Blue in Pro Sports

Photo credit: hdnux.com
This postseason will mark the fourth straight year that all four competitors in the League Championship Series feature some shade of blue predominantly in their uniforms. In the American League, you have to go back 13 years to the 2005 matchup between the White Sox and the Angels to find the first series that didn’t include blue uniforms. The National League is a bit more recent, with the 2014 matchup paring the black-and-orange Giants against the red Cardinals. Why is blue such a popular color in baseball and sports for that matter?

Considering the generations of history some of these baseball teams have, it’s easy to see why blue is included in their uniforms. Blue fabric dyes were easier to naturally make from plants before synthetics came along, making blue much cheaper than brighter, vibrant colors. A darker uniform color was also less likely to show dirt and wear, and baseball teams at the turn of the century weren’t tossing their uniforms in the wash between every game.

Photo credit: nydailynews.com
On the psychological side of things, blue is a calming color that is associated with tradition, stability and uniformity. Considering its natural presence in much of daily life, it’s also one of the most viewed colors in the natural light spectrum. Sports teams want to tap into that color psychology, giving their fans something that’s visually pleasing and comforting to look at on television or from the stands.

Statistically speaking, blue-clad teams have performed well over the course of baseball history, and sports history for that matter. Here are some of the most successful teams in North American sports, all of whom happen to wear a shade of blue:

  • New York Yankees - 27 World Series championships in 40 appearances
  • Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers - 6 World Series championships in 19 appearances
  • Toronto Maple Leafs - 13 Stanley Cup championships in 21 appearances
  • Golden State Warriors - 6 NBA Finals championships in 10 appearances
  • Chicago Bears - 9 NFL championships/Super Bowl championships in 19 appearances
  • New England Patriots - 5 Super Bowl championships in 10 appearances
  • Los Angeles Galaxy - 5 MLS Cup championships in 9 appearances
  • Minnesota Lynx - 4 WNBA Finals championships in 6 appearances

Photo credit: tsn.ca
You get the picture, blue teams just win! While this baseball season won’t produce a champion that doesn’t don blue, the tournament and its history certainly speaks to the success and popularity of the color. What do you think of teams wearing blue? Is it a tired color that needs to be replaced? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy the last three series of the baseball season!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

MLB Playoff Predictions Based on Color Schemes


After a grueling up-and-down season that took one day longer than scheduled to determine seeding, the MLB playoffs are finally upon us. This year brings a lot of familiar faces to the postseason tournament, with a few new entries to break up the monotony and provide some different colors to look at during the game. For that reason, it seems only natural to give our predictions for the playoffs based on team colors!

Yankees/Athletics vs. Red Sox
Green and yellow is one of the most underrated color combinations in sports, and we kind of appreciate that so few teams use it. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and has great balance. On the flip side, the Yankees just LOOK like they know how to wear navy blue more than anyone else. It’s a toss-up, but we’ll take Oakland to advance and face Boston. 

Photo credit: nyt.com
In the Red Sox, we have another team that just LOOKs like they know how to wear navy blue and red more than anyone else. That’s saying a lot, considering how overused the color combination is in baseball. We’ll keep riding the green wave and go with Oakland all the way to the ALCS!

Astros vs. Indians
Get ready for a visual snoozer, unless Houston busts out their orange tops. Orange is a great color, and the Astros do a good job of utilizing it in their uniforms without overdoing it. Houston tops the Indians in the battle of navy blue.

ALCS
The Astros know their way around orange, but the Athletics have been a color combination mainstay for decades and decades. No one has come close to replicating the simplicity of their colors and uniform, despite their best efforts. It’ll be close, but you just can’t beat Oakland’s color combo.

Cubs/Rockies vs. Brewers
Photo credit: garret-cdn.com
In one corner, we have tried-and-true red and royal blue, in the other corner, we have the remnants of the 1990s color fad. Kudos to Colorado for not bending to pressure and changing up their color scheme like the Marlins, Rays and Diamondbacks all did, but you can’t top tradition. Cubs pass the test in this one.

We’re firm believers that the Brew Crew should’ve never moved away from royal blue and yellow back in their golden years. The colors were balanced, that glove logo was a thing of design beauty and the league just doesn’t need more navy blue. That being said, the Brewers look has grown on us. Milwaukee squirms by with a close color scheme victory.

Braves vs. Dodgers
Like the Red Sox, the Braves just LOOK like they know how to wear navy blue and red. The Dodgers also know their way around royal blue. This will be a visually-pleasing matchup, and we expect it to be hard-fought on the field. The Braves’ colors win, but just barely.

NLCS
Navy blue and gold against navy blue and red! If you see the Brewers enough, the nice touches of gold and script letters begin to grow on you. Respect to the Braves for (mostly) not messing with their uniforms over the years, but it’s time for the navy blue and gold of the Brewers to take the win.

World Series
In a tough battle of modern navy blue and gold design and traditional green and yellow elements, it’s difficult to know which one to pick. The yellow just pops on Oakland’s uniforms, and the gold of Milwaukee’s tends to get lost in the background, despite the nice design. Oakland runs away with it.

Photo credit: elitesportsNY.com
As always, we’re likely to be wrong on our picks, but seeing as how we know a thing or two about team colors and fan fashion, we think we’ll be right more often than we’re wrong. Who do you think will walk away with the World Series title? Which matchups are you hoping to see in the various series? Let us know in the comments below!