Friday, January 5, 2018

NFL Wild Card Predictions by Uniform


We might not have the best track record as of late when predicting which teams will win their matchups, but we can’t pass up the chance to talk about the most exciting couple of weeks in professional football. This Saturday, NFL teams are set to take stage for the opening round of the playoffs. Plenty of familiar faces are in this year’s crop of the top teams, but plenty of teams are making their long-awaited return to playoff football. The Titans, Rams, Bills and Jaguars will all play this weekend for the first time in years (decades, for some), and the NFC South will send three of their four teams into the weekend’s fold. As we’ve done in the past, here are our predictions for the Wild Card games based on uniform matchups.

Chiefs vs. Titans
Photo credit: chiefs.com
A classic, untouched uniform pairs up against a very dated, 90s look in our first matchup. The Titans may have been trying to pay homage to their Houston Oiler past when they added light blue to their uniform, but the design hasn’t aged well. The game itself could be a toss-up even though Kansas City dismantled Tennessee in October, but uniform-wise there is no competition. Chiefs win in their beautiful cherry red and yellow combination. Fun side note: the Titans will be getting new uniforms next year. What do you think they’ll look like?

Rams vs. Falcons
Photo credit: pbs.twimg.com
Aesthetically, this game is a bit of an eyesore. The Rams want to revert to their 1960s colors of navy blue and white, but due to league restrictions, they can’t do that without advanced notice so the NFL can sell off their old merchandise. That’s left them with a jersey that features random bits of gold – the last reminder of their “Greatest Show on Turf” days. They work around this headache by wearing white for most games, which means the Falcons will be trotting out in their red uniforms. Not a bad look by any means, but the uniform has too many superfluous lines and bits that have given it a dated, futuristic look. The Rams will continue their surprising success despite a patched together uniform.

Jaguars vs. Bills
Photo credit: buffalobills.com
The Jaguars redesigned their uniforms several years ago to minimize teal and feature a two-tone helmet of gold and black that was supposed to symbolize a jaguar leaping from the shadows. The only problem is the gold portion is on the back of the helmet, which would mean the jaguar is leaping into the shadows. They’ll match up against a Bills squad returning to the playoffs for the first time since the 90s, wearing all white to commemorate the occasion. As far as the game goes, we think the Jags will win this one, but the uniform edge has to give it to Buffalo.

Saints vs. Panthers
Photo credit: images.performgroup.com
How we feel about this game depends entirely on whether or not the Saints wear gold pants. Throughout football, teams look better when helmets match pants. For some reason, the Saints love to shelve their gold pants and wear an all-black look. Despite the very dated look of the Panthers, we give them the edge if the Saints take the field without much gold in their uniform.

These predictions would have the Chiefs going on to face the Patriots, the Jaguars going on to face the Steelers, the Rams facing the Vikings and the Panthers facing the Eagles. Who do you think will make it out of the first weekend and into the second round? Do you agree with our uniform prediction bias? Sound off in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Our Christmas Day Sports Predictions


Every year, the NBA features a stocking’s share of games played on Christmas Day. This year, the NFL is adding to the day’s bundle of gifts. As the holiday falls on a Monday, the NFL’s weekly schedule features not one but two games for your viewing pleasure. After you’ve opened your gifts and had too many cookies, find a spot on the couch and unwrap all of these game day presents. Our Christmas Day game predictions are below.

Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Texans were dealt a huge blow when rookie quarterback, Deshaun Watson, was lost for the season due to injury. They have looked listless since and are playing for pride at this point. It doesn’t help they’re facing a Steelers team left with a sour taste in their mouths after a close loss to the Patriots last week. The Texans haven’t been naughty, but they’re getting coal in their stocking anyway. Steelers run away with this one.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Oakland Raiders
Credit: sportingnews.com
We’re not drinking the Eagles eggnog just yet. Once flying high on the wings of second-year sensation, Carson Wentz, the Eagles now have to entrust the rest of their season to Nick Foles. How Foles plays against a Raiders team that fumbled away a win in the closing seconds of last week’s game will decide this one. We think Oakland will play with a lot of emotion, knowing their season is on the line. Oakland wins in a nail biter.

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Neither team is particularly good, but both sport some of the best big men in the league in Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid. Which way this one goes is the flip of a coin, but it’s sure to be a nice appetizer for the later slate of games. 76ers fend off the Knicks.

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Credit: performgroup.com
How many times have we seen this matchup over the last few years? After a sluggish start to the season, the Cavs have hit their stride while the Warriors have been cruising. LeBron and the Cavaliers won last year’s holiday matchup, but were caught out in the cold in the Finals. The Cavaliers have looked strong on the road as of late, and they’ll repeat their 2016 holiday magic with Steph Curry out for this game.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
All those big acquisitions for OKC don’t seem to be paying off, while the Rockets look primed and ready for takeoff. Carmelo Anthony is coming off his worst scoring performance in five years, while Houston has won ten straight games. It’s always exciting to see Russell Westbrook carve up defenses, but this will be an uphill battle in the snow for him. Rockets cruise to a victory after pulling away late in the game.

Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards
Credit: nba.com
The Celtics are playing out of their minds this season. Kyrie Irving has come into his own as the undisputed leader of this team, and the Celtics have an impressive in-conference record of just five losses. Washington is hovering around average compared to the rest of the conference, but you can never count out John Wall when he plays in front of his home crowd. It certainly adds to the drama that these two teams don’t particularly like each other, so expect a rough, tough game with Boston coming out victorious.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
You might be exhausted from all the sports watching by this point and sleep through this one. We’d forgive you. The Lakers are mostly on the schedule because they’re the Lakers, while the Timberwolves are slowly making a name for themselves in the always-competitive West. Look for some dazzling plays from Lonzo Ball and Jimmy Butler to add the tinsel to your Christmas Day watch party, but this will otherwise be a pedestrian affair. T-Wolves win it easily.

How do you think this packed slate of Christmas Day games will turn out? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and enjoy the games!

Friday, December 1, 2017

College Football Conference Champs Predictions

Photo credit: heavy.com
And just like that, the college football regular season is nearly over. Only a weekend of conference championship games stands between us, bowl season and the always intriguing four-team playoff. There’s a lot left to play for, and plenty of drama left to unfold come Saturday. Now’s the perfect time for your Game Bibs expert analysts to pick each conference winner by the most analytical, foolproof method: colors and uniforms.

Atlantic Coast – Miami vs. Clemson
Photo credit: si.com
The U is back! Orange is an underused color in general, and pairing it with green and purple definitely makes for some interesting combinations. Since the Hurricanes changed coaching staffs, they’ve adopted a clean, classic uniform that pays homage to their dominance in the 1980s. Nothing against Clemson, but orange and green trumps the sherbet combination in this game.

Big 12 – Oklahoma vs. Texas Christian
A conservative, simple burgundy and white uniform up against some creative uses of purple and black. Our gut says not to bet against tradition, but depending on what the Horned Frogs trot onto the field wearing, we’re leaning toward TCU as the victors.

Big Ten – Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
We hope you like red, because this game has a lot of red. “Scarlet” and gray go up against red and white in what’s sure to be an instant classic with plenty of playoff implications. The Badgers always look sharp when they get to wear their red jerseys, so we’re betting on UW in this one.

Southeastern – Georgia vs. Auburn
This is going to be the nicest looking game of the entire weekend. Georgia is wearing white jerseys with their gray pants that feature that unique, simple quirk of mismatched pant stripes. On the other side of the ball is a clean and classic combination of navy blue and orange. The Tigers have the hot hand on the field right now, and they have the hot uniforms. Tigers eke out a close one in a color combo classic.

Photo credit: trbimg.com
Pac-12 – Stanford vs. Southern California
Palo Alto meets L.A. This one is hard to pick. In one corner, we have tried-and-true crimson/burgundy/cardinal red. In the other corner, we have burgundy and yellow. Both teams wear it well and have classic uniforms they’ve barely changed over the decades. The touch of yellow adds a nice pop to USC’s uniforms, so we’ll take the Trojans by a nose.

American Athletic – Memphis vs. Central Florida
Memphis has recently adopted a striped helmet that resembles the Cincinnati Bengals, and we’re all about it. Royal blue and silver goes up against black and gold in a game that’s sure to look great and provide plenty of contrast on the field. The Tigers’ will spoil the Knights’ perfect season and look good doing it.

Conference USA – North Texas vs. Florida Atlantic
Florida Atlantic is quickly appeared on the national stage due to a dramatic one-season turnaround with new head coach, Lane Kiffin. That doesn’t fix their boring uniforms, though, and you can’t bet against a team that doubles down on green. North Texas takes it.

Photo credit: athlonsports.com
Mountain West – Boise State vs. Fresno State
The Broncos of Boise have never been shy about their love for blue, even extending the color scheme down to their blue turf field. The Broncos host the Bulldogs for the conference title, which means the stadium will be flush with blue and orange. It’s a loud uniform, and we like it.

Mid-American – Akron vs. Toledo
Navy blue and gold vs. navy blue and yellow! Toledo has embraced the yellow in recent years, making it as prominent a part of their uniform as navy blue. In a game that could definitely look bad and could end up featuring alternate jerseys, we’ll bet on Akron and their more traditional use of blue and gold.

Lots of champions will be crowned this weekend and a lot of colors will grace our televisions. Which uniform combinations do you think will win the day? Comment below, and enjoy championship weekend!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Where the Top MLB Free Agents Will Land


While it may have been based purely on uniform design, we’re pretty proud of our predictive skills when it came to choosing this year’s World Series champion. Now that the season has wrapped up and we move into a cold, baseball-less winter, it’s time to speculate where some of the game’s top free agents will play next season. Don’t worry; these predictions are based on actual baseball info.

1. Yu Darvish – Once the crown jewel of an international bidding war when he came to the U.S. from Japan, Darvish has seen his stock drop a bit over the years with claims that his pitching motion is allowing batters to guess his pitches. We can’t speak to split second decisions and minor tweaks in arm angle, but despite his struggles in high profile games, Darvish is set to rake in a hefty ransom as a free agent. We’re going out on a limb and guessing that the Minnesota Twins will be his landing spot. They’re young, have money to spend, and are likely to see the playoffs for several years to come.

Photo credit: trbimg.com
2. Jake Arrieta – This guy reinvented himself after being considered an afterthought of a trade piece to the Chicago Cubs from the Baltimore Orioles several seasons ago. His pitching prowess took a bit of a dip this past season after a few stellar years leading up to the Cubs’ championship, but Arrieta is still a reliable, disciplined pitcher who can stay healthy and keep the bullpen rested. A Texas boy at heart, we see Jake heading back to the Lone Star state where he pitched in college. It’s a tossup between the Rangers and Astros, but Houston looks like they’re poised to keep building off their title and Arrieta won’t command the money he’s hoping for after a few so-so seasons. He’ll sign with the Houston Astros this year.

3. J.D. Martinez – A few years ago, J.D. was a quiet contributor trying to find his swing on a crowded, talented Tigers team. He’s now emerged as a bonafide slugger who’s bound to command serious cash. He’s got some injury concerns from a few seasons ago, but has enough upside for teams to ignore that and sign him to a long-term deal. An American League team makes sense to provide him some off days from defense, so we’d guess the Boston Red Sox will welcome Martinez to town.

Photo credit: mlb.com
4. Eric Hosmer – Of the two homegrown free agents in Kansas City (Hosmer and Mike Moustakas), Hosmer seems the more likely of the two to leave town. His offense has never been a question, and the power-hitting first baseman hit for a .318 average this season with a slugging percentage just shy of .500. His defense is a bit more suspect, but most American League teams won’t care if they can slot him in as a designated hitter once his defense falls off the wagon. Most analysts say he’ll resign with the Royals, but we could see the Angels making a trade or two to make room for him at first base while Albert Pujols finishes out his career as an expensive designated hitter. They were nearly a playoff team last year, and they need to make big moves while Mike Trout is still young.

5. Wade Davis – Consistent, unflappable closing pitchers are incredibly valuable to any team, and the market is thin this year. After coming over to the Cubs via trade last offseason, Wade Davis continued his recent dominance and converted close to every save opportunity he was given. Overuse during the postseason revealed that he’s better suited in a traditional, 3-out closer role, but his reliability can’t be understated. The Cubs have no good in-house options to replace him and won’t fork over huge money for another closer. Expect Davis to resign with the Chicago Cubs this offseason if the market looks to be bullish.

The baseball offseason is always an exciting time for fans and teams looking to see a rebuilt roster. Where do you think the top free agents will end up next season? Let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Rise of Camouflage Uniforms in Sports

Photo credit: mlblogsopeningday.com

These days, it’s incredibly common to see sports teams wearing special uniforms to commemorate causes, holidays and events, and we recently wrote about NFL teams utilizing special colors to raise awareness for causes. One of the more popular uniform tweaks across multiple sports leagues is camouflage-patterned uniforms to pay tribute to the armed forces. So where did this trend start?

Photo credit: wikipedia
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the light switch turned on and teams began wearing special camo uniforms to honor the military, but most would credit the San Diego Padres with beginning the trend. Home to a large port for the U.S. Navy, San Diego has long been proud of its naval tradition. It only made sense for the Padres to tip their cap to the U.S. Navy, and they’ve done so with regularity ever since introducing a camo uniform in 2000. The uniforms have undergone several variations, including desert storm tan, navy blue, and classic green. The camouflage pattern has also changed with the military’s shift to digital camouflage, which utilizes small squares instead of the more organic shapes found on camo in decades past. Several other baseball teams have begun including camouflage alternate uniforms, such as the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For having the most liberal use of camouflage on their team’s uniforms, MLB uses it the most infrequently of any major sports league. College and high school sports are where the real camo game lies. With Veteran's Day this weekend, we’ve compiled a few our of favorite ones from over the years.

Kansas State University – Not one to sideline their bright purple color scheme, the wildcats used a purple digital camo pattern on their existing helmet design to pay tribute to the military.

Photo credit: pbs.wimg

University of Southern Mississippi – You won’t find yellow and black camo on the battlefield, but you will find it on the football field. Here’s another case of a team keeping their color scheme while adding a camo element.

Photo credit: yimg

University of Oregon & Georgetown University – How about a 2-for-1 usage of camouflage? The Fighting Ducks sidelined their usual yellow in favor of gray and white camo while the Hoyas implemented a navy blue camo that mostly matches their existing color scheme.

Photo credit: cstv

University of Oregon – Back in 2013, the Oregon Ducks football team wore a uniform that was predominantly olive drab, complete with the backwards-facing U.S. flags on their right sleeves. It may not be camo, but it’ll do for our purposes.

Photo credit: yimg

While not every team has worn full-fledge camouflage uniforms, there’s plenty of uniform tweaks and accents throughout the last decade. Which one has been your favorite? Do you like the camouflage look or wish teams would stick to more traditional designs? Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Five Tasty Thanksgiving Tailgate Foods


As the calendar shifts to November, Halloween is squarely in the rear view mirror. Candy gets stashed away (or eaten) to make room for turkey and fixings, and the football season is in full tilt with plenty of fans ready for that mid-season push to make the playoffs. It also means a slew of Thanksgiving Day football games and plenty of savory tailgating recipes to satiate those Turkey Day cravings. Instead of the standard wings and snacks, why not add a little holiday flavor to your routine? Here are five delicious recipes to add to your tailgating menu this holiday season.

1. Turkey Chili – You could haul a propane tank and oil to try your hand at frying a turkey in the parking lot, but a big pot of turkey chili is a great way to add some holiday flavors to this classic, warming dish. Try it with a mixture of ground and sliced turkey for a different texture, and throw in a bit more pepper for some added flavor. Toss some cornmeal directly in the chili to thicken it up, and try lemon juice to give the flavor some zest.

2. Stuffing & Sausage Balls – As if stuffing wasn’t delicious enough on its own, plenty of Thanksgiving recipes add a bit of sausage to the mix for a spicy kick. To keep things bite-sized and easy at your tailgate, try combining stuffing into a sausage ball recipe for a poppable snack. Add a side for cranberry dipping sauce and you’re good to go.

3. Cranberry Punch – Every tailgate needs a drink to take the edge off and get fans in the mood. Try making a citrusy punch with a cranberry base for a light, refreshing dose of liquid courage.

4. Fried Mashed Potato Balls – Stuff them with cheese or eat them plain and dip them in gravy. However you like your mashed potatoes, the fried ball version of this wonder starch is a no-mess option your tailgate guests will inhale on sight.

5. Sweet Potato Muffins – It may sound weird, but it tastes delicious. Use any style of sweet potato you prefer and finish them off with a marshmallow cream to replicate a candied sweet potato casserole. Want something a little sweeter? Swap out the sweet potato for pumpkin pie filling.

Any successful tailgate party ends with plenty of full stomachs and empty plates…and maybe a nap. What Thanksgiving-themed recipes do you plan to have at your tailgate this Thanksgiving holiday? Share your favorite foods with us in the comment section below!


Monday, October 23, 2017

Who Wins the World Series Uniform Matchup?

Photo credit: Elsa Garrison, Getty Images

The 2017 season’s final two teams are set, with the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers representing the American and National Leagues, respectively, in the World Series. Ever since the league champions were decided, analysts have been hard at work analyzing pitching matchups, defense, offense and practically every detail of these two teams. Let’s skip ahead to what’s really important: the uniforms. Basing our judgment on nothing but aesthetics, here is who we think will win the championship based on uniforms and colors.

Design
Photo credit: wikipedia.org
Aside from a few outliers, baseball uniforms are synonymous with conservative design and tradition. Several teams feature simplistic logos, old-fashioned script and colored piping along the edges of the uniforms. Measuring based on design, it doesn’t get much better than the Dodgers’ look. The team’s look has gone largely unchanged dating back to their days in Brooklyn, and with good reason. They were the first team to utilize an alternating color for the numbers on the front of their uniforms, and have an instantly recognized interlocking team logo. The Astros are no slouch on their current design, but it’s a bit too safe considering the team’s colorful past. The Dodgers take the first round of this matchup.

Colors
Photo credit: wikipedia.org
The Astros broke the collective hearts of baseball fans when they abandoned their navy blue and orange color scheme for a whirlwind of bad 90s design and overdone red and black in the early 00s. With the sale of the team to a new ownership group, the ‘stros reverted back to their classic color combination with some modern day updates. Orange is a criminally underused color in baseball, and the Astros do it right by putting orange piping on their uniforms and wearing orange-brimmed caps on the road. “Dodger Blue” might be a classic color, but the Astros take this round.

Flexibility
Just like when it comes to design, the Dodgers are a great example of clean, classic uniform use. They only have one alternate uniform (a road-gray getup with the city name in script) which they haven’t worn once this postseason, and they’ve never fallen victim to the dreaded alternate color shirt. The Astros, on the other hand, occasionally wear a bright orange jersey with their home or road pants as well as a blue top with torso striping that resembles their 1970s sunrise uniforms. This one comes down to personal preference, as orange is a great color but colored baseball shirts are hit-or-miss. Since the category is uniform flexibility, however, we have to give the edge to the Astros.

So there you have it. In a best-of-3 matchup, the Astros pull ahead of the Dodgers in the uniform aesthetics division. In real life, this series is bound to go to the end of the wire, giving fans plenty of chances to see these two well-dressed teams go head to head. Which uniform combo do you like best? Share with us in the comments below and enjoy the games!