You know what I miss? I miss the old days when I could tell which teams were playing – and which team was which – by looking at their uniforms. When Major League Baseball started having throwback jerseys and special jerseys every other game, I likened it to the alternate GI Joe figures that Hasbro would release. That’s Regular Duke, and that’s Night Stalker Duke! That’s the Atlanta Braves uniform, but that over there is the Atlanta Braves Night-Stalker uniform. The rationale was pretty obvious: it let them sell more jerseys. College football has gone the same route with so many special jerseys and alternate jerseys and night-stalker jerseys, half of them don’t even have actual jerseys anymore. Unlike professional baseball, there’s not really merchandising money to be made. From what I understand, it’s good for the recruits. Me? I prefer uniforms to represent brands and thus have some consistency.

Something I have never seen before: When Miami (FL) played Florida Atlantic, both of them wore their colored jerseys. Neither of them wore white. I thought there were rules against that. Clancy always objects when two teams are too similar in colors. I tell them that they can’t just change colors every game (Who am I kidding? See above) but that the way to tell the teams apart is that one of them is wearing white jerseys. Of course, that can get confusing when you have teams like UCF and Georgia Tech whose “dark” jersey is actually a gold color. In that sense, I’ve seen games where both teams are wearing light jerseys. This is the first for dark jerseys. I wonder why?

The American Athletic Conference is off to a bad start. Connecticut lost to FCS team Towson right off the bad. Which is bad. But Towson is a really good FCS team and it was close. South Florida, on the other hand, was destroyed by McNeese, which wasn’t even ranked. The final score was 53-21 and it wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. Against FCS opponents, AmCon went 1-2 with Houston’s victory over Southern as their only win.

The Big 12 had its own problems, going 2-2 against FCS programs. Kansas State lost to North Dakota State (24-21) and Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa (28-20). West Virginia only barely beat William & Mary (21-14). The only clear victory the Big 12 had against teams from the lower subdivision was Baylor’s defeat of Wofford (69-3).

Meanwhile, two FCS powerhouses played one another in the opening week: Montana and Appalachian State. They talked about the fact that Appa State is going to be making the transition to FBS into the lowly Sun Belt. Being FCS announcers, they were of course lamenting the decision. Mostly because it’s becoming a problem for the FCS as they lose more and more of their good programs to the FCS. I lamented it to, though not for precisely the same reason. Appalachian State is a much better fit for FCS than FBS. But I was also lamenting the fact that it was the wrong program making the transition. I still lament the WAC that never was.

In what was the worst call I have seen in a college game occurred between Marshall and Miami of Ohio. Marshall won 52-14, but it really should have been 59-7. In what was clearly a pass, reception, fumble, and return 80 yards for a touchdown… they decided was an incomplete pass. There was no video support. What I suspect happened is that the refs blew the play dead prematurely and the easiest way for them to avoid saying “our screwup cost Marshall a touchdown” is “there was no complete pass.” The result was a 14-7 game became 14-14 (after Miami went on to score a touchdown) instead of 21-7.

Last year, the Texas State Bobcats stunned the Houston Cougars in the season opener, which was Texas State’s first game at the FBS level. Given the season that Texas State had, which wasn’t good, it could be written off as a fluke. Except they opened this season beating Southern Miss. While Texas State’s rival, UTSA, was invited to Conference USA, Texas State was relegated to replacing North Texas in the Sun Belt. That may be a good thing for Conference USA, which they would probably dominate the conference.

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11 Responses to Night-Stalker Jerseys

  1. Mike Hunt Rice says:

    I thought there were rules against [neither team wearing white]

    There were. It was changed in 2009 at the behest of UCLA and USC who wanted to both wear their colored jerseys during their game in 2008. Since the game was in the Rose Bowl, USC ordinarily would have worn white, so they were penalized a time-out for violating the rule. UCLA in an act of sportsmanship took one as well. The coaches were Pete Carroll and Rick Neuheisal

    Now, as long as the teams agree and the home conference certifies that the colors contrast, both teams can wear their colored jerseys. The NCAA used common sense, since its not like people watch games on B&W TV’s anymore.

  2. Kirk says:

    For awhile, I’ve wondered why the Buccaneers wear their white jerseys so much at home. (They’re cooler. Not that it always helps the Bucs record so much.)

    As for South Florida/McNeese, I caught the second half on ESPN3. (First game I ever watched online.)

    About all I can say is “yeesh”.

    • trumwill says:

      The home team gets to pick white or color. Most home teams pick color, but some don’t. The Dallas Cowboys are the same way. The only time they wear blue is when they are playing in Washington, because the Redskins will pick white just to make them wear blue. Sometimes other teams will do the same. LSU is another example.

      • Mike Hunt Rice says:

        This is true in the NFL. I remember for a few years in the 80s the Giants wore white at home against the Cowboys just so make them wear blue. I think this is silly because you are saying that you believe in superstition and eventually the Giants went back to wearing blue at home for all their games.

        In college both teams have to agree that the home team can wear white at home. This is generally a moot point though since it can simply be put into the contract. I would imagine that LSU would refuse to play any team that wouldn’t let it wear white.

        Now conference games are not contracted; they are assigned by the conference. However, the SEC has a bylaw allowing the home team to choose color, pre-empting any sort of challenge. Before this, Vanderbilt wouldn’t allow LSU to wear white at home. Not by coincidence, then-LSU coach Gerry DiNardo came to the school directly after coaching the Commodores.

      • Mike Hunt Rice says:

        What I forgot to mention is what I find confusing is the fact that teams change helmet styles in the middle of a season. Teams used to go years without changing designs, now some of them wear 3 or more designs per season. For more information see The Helmet Project.

        • trumwill says:

          Speak it. When I wrote about uniform, I was including helmets. Actually, that was high on my mind. When I tuned in to the SMU-TxTech game, it would have been helpful for Texas Tech to be wearing their black helmets instead of wearing white helmets with a red design – exactly like SMU was wearing.

          I was never a big fan of teams like Washington State who had different home and away helmets, but at least that was reliable. When you have three, there is no reliability. But at least USF has a consistent logo. TCU couldn’t even do that much.

  3. Abel Keogh says:

    I went to a college football game this weekend: Stephen F. Austin vs. Weber State. Much to my surprise, SFA has the exact same color combo as Weber State. In fact, their away uniforms are pretty much identical to what Weber State wears. I got to the game before SFA came out on the field and for a minute thought that Weber State players were going to be stationed on visitor side of the field because the SFA support crew were all wearing purple shirts. It wasn’t until SFA came out on the field that I realized their color combo was pretty much identical. Lots of purple helmets on the field Saturday.

    And I’m thrilled to see FCS schools having success against the big boys this weekend. Hope that happens more often and gives me hope that Weber might give Utah and Utah State some competitive games the next two weeks. The down side is that Weber State plays two of the teams that had upsets this weekend (McNeesee and E. Washington). I think it’s gong to be a looooong season for the Wildcats.

  4. trumwill says:

    Best of luck to the Wildcats on their season. Eastern Washington has turned into a real powerhouse over the last few years. I remember when they had a coach that went on to coach Washington State’s team. As the head coach of WSU, he lost to the Montana State team that he had beaten the year before at EWU.

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