Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Use of Brown in Sports Uniforms


The San Diego Padres recently announced the team will be changing their uniforms ahead of the 2020 season, returning to the team’s beloved brown-and-yellow color scheme last regularly worn in the 1980s. The move has been met with a lot of positive buzz, as the Padres have struggled to find a consistent and unique uniform since those days. While brown isn’t a color we see too much of in sports on any level, it has its loyal users. Let’s look back on the color and some other instances of its use in sports uniforms past and present.

Cleveland Browns
Photo credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
This is an easy and obvious one. Since their inaugural 1946 season in the All-America Football Conference, the Browns have sported brown in some portion of their uniform. Named after their first coach, Paul Brown, the team relocated to Baltimore in the 1990s before returning as an expansion team in 1999 and sporting their same familiar orange, brown and white uniforms in a simple, logoless design. The team has since undergone some uniform tweaks that haven’t been well-received, but word is they are looking to possibly change back to a traditional look. We’re fans of the clean and simple look sported here by former running back Peyton Hillis.

St. Louis Browns
Photo credit: seamheads.com
The who? You wouldn’t be blamed for not knowing this past chapter of the current Baltimore Orioles. They started in Milwaukee as the Brewers in the late 1800s, and ended up relocating to St. Louis after the 1901 season and changing their name to the Browns. You’ll notice an orange-and-brown color scheme similar to the Cleveland football team, but we can’t confirm if Paul Brown’s squad took a page out of St. Louis’s book for their color choice. The Browns experienced lots of success throughout their run but eventually fell into a prolonged period of losing, and ownership couldn’t compete with the cross-town Cardinals. The team eventually packed up and moved to Baltimore in 1953.

Wyoming Cowboys
Jumping back to current sports, the University of Wyoming has proudly worn brown as their main color since inception. Legend has it the color scheme took root during an alumni banquet in the late 1800s, when brown-eyed Susan flowers decorated a banquet hall. Across all varsity sports, the color has an instantly recognizable association with Wyoming, and it just works.

Photo credit: fanatics.com

Bowling Green State
The Falcons emphasize orange more than they do brown, but you can find alternate uniforms in brown across most of their varsity sports, especially baseball and softball. As the only university sporting this color combination, Bowling Green has owned the look at the collegiate level as much as the Cleveland Browns have in professional football.
Photo credit: bgsufalcons.com
Lehigh University
Lehigh has proudly sported brown since the 1860s. Brown is paired with a classic, shiny gold that reminds us of other colleges such as Boston College, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, West Point and the Naval Academy. It’s a clean, simple look the college has worn well over the years.

Photo credit: lehighvalleylive.com

Valparaiso University
Photo credit: valposoftballclinics.com
Depending on which sport you’re watching, the Crusaders could be yellow-clad with brown as a trim color or sporting their brown uniforms proudly. The story goes that a former university president, Henry Baker Brown, and his VP, O.P. Kinsley, helped usher in the school colors. Brown chose the color brown because of his last time, while his VP had blonde hair, hence the use of yellow.

Some other teams sporting brown include Western Michigan and Brown University, but that’s a well-rounded list of the color being used in sports uniforms past and present. With San Diego set to reintroduce the color next year, perhaps brown will finally get the mainstream respect it deserves. What do you think of sports teams wearing brown? Is it cool and unique or garish and gross? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Our NFL Championship Predictions

Photo credit: Jake Roth, USA Today Sports

The table has been set and the final four teams are ready to battle it out for the NFL’s highest prize. After our poor showing on Wild Card weekend, three out of four correct picks in the divisional round isn’t bad! With just three games left to play this season, it’s time for us to make our final predictions for conference and league champions.

Chiefs vs. Patriots
Despite going 11-5 and winning their division yet again, the New England Patriots were a completely different team away from home. An unblemished home record was counterbalanced by a 3-5 record on the road, with notable losses against the Titans, Lions and Jaguars. Tom Brady doesn’t have a good playoff record on the road (he’s 0-3) and the Chiefs didn’t have a great run defense this year, so the Patriots will likely lean on their young running game behind Sony Michel to pick up the slack.

The Pats may have won their one 2018 meeting against Kansas City in a shootout that was decided by a last-second field goal, but the Chiefs have grown leaps and bounds since that game, and the receiving corps is clicking with Patrick Mahomes. That being said, this won’t be a high-scoring affair. The Chiefs will survive a late push by the ageless wonder that is Tom Brady and get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1970.

Saints vs. Rams
Photo credit: Sean Gardner, Getty Images
Another ageless wonder in Drew Brees goes up against a young upstart team in the Los Angeles Rams. It’s actually quite interesting how both of these games represent a changing of the guard in the NFL, but we don’t see the Rams emerging victorious in this one. The Saints have one of the best run defenses in the league, and if they can control the Rams running game then they make the team more predictable and one-dimensional. All of L.A.’s fancy audibles and adjustments might be hard to hear at the line of scrimmage in the Superdome, where Saints fans get louder than anywhere else in the league.

On the flip side, the Saints will be going against a Rams secondary that’s healthy and includes Aqib Talib. As long as they play good deep coverage, Drew Brees likely won’t be able to pick them apart like he did the last time these two teams met. That means more time waiting in the pocket for an open receiver and more time for Aaron Donald to get a sack.

The Big Game
If our predictions hold true, that leads us to a Saints vs. Chiefs championship where anything could happen. How that hypothetical game turns out would be completely dependent on Drew Brees. If he has time to find receivers, he’ll make the Chiefs look confused and disorganized. If he doesn’t and the Saints have to punt more than five times in the game, look for the Chiefs to take advantage. All that being said, it’s been a crazy year where anything can happen. We’ll pick the Saints to win the game in the last minute or so on a very long, very tense field goal.

Who do you think will win the next few games? How close are we to getting our picks right? Let us know in the comments below and enjoy the rest of the playoffs!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Our Picks for NFL Divisional Weekend

Photo credit: si.com
We made it through Wild Card Weekend and came out defeated, going 1-3 in our picks for the weekend’s winners. In our defense, a few of those games came down to the wire and could have gone the other way with a few lucky plays, but that’s football for you. We’re dusting ourselves off and getting ready for an even bigger weekend of divisional football, and we’ve got more predictions for you.

Colts vs. Chiefs
This one is probably even harder to pick than last week. The Colts are undoubtedly the hottest team in the playoffs, having won 10 of their past 11 games to qualify for - and advance to - the divisional round. How will that success and their talented, young offensive line pair up against a punishing 3-4 Kansas City defense that can keep Andrew Luck guessing with its coverage packages? Let’s not forget their gunslinging offense and Patrick Mahomes lighting up the scoreboard. It will be a close game for a few quarters, but the Chiefs will pull away late and win comfortably.

Cowboys vs. Rams
The Cowboys have followed a similar path to the Colts with eight wins in their last nine games to reach the divisional round. They eked out a tough victory against a Seattle team whose defense isn’t as lights out as it once was, but how will Dallas fare against a balanced Rams team that features Aaron Donald up front and a talented secondary? How this game turns out likely falls to sudden wunderkind Jared Goff, but we think the Rams will handle the Cowboys by a touchdown and some change.

Chargers vs. Patriots
Photo credit: bettingsports.com
Is this finally the year that Philip Rivers and the Chargers put it all together? A couple late drives by the Ravens made last week’s game look much closer than it was, as a suffocating defense kept Lamar Jackson in check. The Chargers won’t be able to settle for field goals against the Patriots, but they know that already. New England is only in the divisional round because of late-season falters by the Texans, so their first-round bye is a bit misleading. This could be the biggest toss-up of the weekend, as Tom Brady will be going against a capable quarterback with a capable offense. In a close one, we see the Chargers getting past the Patriots in the fourth quarter.

Eagles vs. Saints
We should’ve known better than to bet against the Eagles and Nick Foles. With some very, very late-game magic and a bit of luck from a goalpost, Philadelphia beat Chicago to make it to this matchup with New Orleans. The Saints, and Drew Brees in particular, look like a rejuvenated squad. They dominated through most of the season, and “just enough” from the Eagles won’t be enough to beat an offense with proven veterans. New Orleans will make it back to the NFC title game after last year’s last-second blunder against the Vikings.

We felt confident with our picks last week, but this time we really mean it. There’s no way these picks could come back to bite us, right? Who do you think will win the divisional round and move on to the conference championship weekend? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy the game!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Our NFL Wild Card Predictions

Photo credit: TexansPR/Twitter
It’s finally time for professional playoff football! Analysts argue the Wild Card weekend is not as exciting as the divisional rounds that follow, but we’d beg to differ this year. Across the board, there are some exciting matchups featuring fresh faces in the playoff tournament. Without further adieu, here is our super-expert-can’t-be-argued-against predictions for this weekend’s matchups.

Colts vs. Texans
Photo credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
One more time for these AFC South rivals to decide who should be crowned the division’s best. It’s hard to pick one here. On one hand you have a resurgent Colts offense behind a healthy Andrew Luck, and on the other hand you have a Texans team that rattled off nine straight wins after a lackluster start and came out about even toward the end of the season. We’ll give it to Houston in a toss-up.

Seahawks vs. Cowboys
Your guess is as good as ours in this one. The Cowboys didn’t play lights out against an admittedly weaker NFC East division this year, winning (or losing) by narrow margins each time. Jason Garrett has been known to be a conservative play caller, and the Seahawks have been here before. Plus, they beat the Cowboys early in the season. Seattle eeks by in a stressful contest.

Chargers vs. Ravens
Philip Rivers and the Chargers were dominant at some points and just good enough at others, but they beat good teams when it was important, and they’ve earned their first place standing in the two-team AFC West. Baltimore may have beaten Los Angeles this year, but they’re riding the rookie wave of Lamar Jackson and it can’t possibly succeed in the playoffs. The Chargers win this one.

Eagles vs. Bears
Does Nick Foles even know what he’s doing? Yet again, the Eagles have limped into the playoffs on the back of their backup quarterback after an injury to Carson Wentz. Three straight confidence-boosting wins will do you a lot in any sport, but not when you have to face a juggernaut of a team that looks nasty on defense and surprisingly potent on offense. In a head-turning game, it’ll be Trubisky and the Bears offense that put their stamp on this game rather than the loaded Chicago defense.

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If all of our predictions pan out, the Texans would move on to play New England, the Chargers would play Kansas City, the Bears would play the Rams, and the Seahawks would play New Orleans. Any of those matchups make for good T.V., and we’ll be back with another prediction next week. Have a good time watching the games, and let us know who you think will win in the comments below!

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!