Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

When the Rick Neuheisel era began at Washington one of the first things he did was redesign the uniforms which had been previously changed under Jim Lambright.

Lambo had gone back to purple helmets, and the fans hated it. I love Lambo the coach, but if you look at films of what he wore on the sidelines in those days he wasn't exactly a fashion hound.

The first item on Rick's agenda was the return to the traditional gold helmets of the James era. The next thing he did was change the pants to match the helmets. Both changes were applauded by the Husky populace who never really understood why the Huskies yellow gold pants never matched the helmets.

The jerseys redesigned by Nike were less popular as the font for the numbers was changed up. All in all it was a pretty good looking uniform which has a little bit of Colorado, a little bit UCLA, and a lot of traditional Washington.

The next thing on the agenda was freshening up the Husky logo. The W was not tampered with too much, but the Husky Dawg was slimmed down, and streamlined to resemble what many Husky fans began calling the Weasel. Despite the Neuweasel look the new line of apparel developed by Nike outsold the older look by an extremely wide margin.

Ty Willingham hasn't been too concerned with the uniforms since he arrived at Washington. His signature piece was removing the names off of the jerseys for the first two years to build team unity. Husky fans hated it because they could never tell who was playing without a program to check the numbers. UW went back to names on the back of the jerseys last season to help out their middle aged fan base.

Husky fans also began to complain about the affiliation with Nike because Phil Knight the Chairman and founder of Nike is an Oregon alum. Not only is Knight an Oregon alum he is also the schools largest booster, and is credited with helping turn the program around in the 1990's with lots of cash, and free marketing help from the pros's at Nike.

Nike dominates the market for athletic uniforms because they traditionally have given the schools the most money, innovative design, and free equipment over the last twenty years. Working with Nike was good business for Washington, and other schools because Adidas, Champion, and Russell were giving out much less compensation, and frankly their equipment wasn't as good. Like interim Scott Woodward says, whoever gives the school the best deal is acting in the best interest of the University, Nike was giving the best deal.

As we enter 2008 things are changing in the world of college uniforms, firms like Under Armour, Nike, and Champion are stepping things up again to be legit options to Nike, and athletic administrators around the country are taking notice, especially on the West Coast where Oregon/Nike envy reigns supreme among the fan base.

Word on the street is that Washington will have a new supplier in 2009 when the present Nike contract ends. When that new supplier is selected expect the retirement of the Weasel logo after a decade of service to UW.

Ultimately the coaches have the last say on uniforms. Most want a look that is attractive to inner city youth. Oregon has gone this route with lots of success sometimes playing in as many as four different uniforms in a year to pick up style points with recruits. You may not like Oregon, you may think their uniforms look goofy at times, but the kids love them.

Changing things up at Oregon hasn't been that big of a deal because the team nickname is a water fowl for crying out loud, and for years the Walt Disney rendition of Donald has been the logo. Nothing against Donald, but Oregon was a school with little tradition before the 1990's and was a perfect laboratory for change.

I for one like most of the Oregon uniforms they have come up with. I think the home uniforms with the green jerseys, and the tire marks are pretty impressive. The helmets which UW fans call Zero's are a work of art. The automotive enamel they use is just out of this world. Oregon has it going on.

Schools like Washington, USC, Michigan, and Notre Dame for example have lot more tradition going on. You aren't going to see tire tracks on the shoulder pads, it just doesn't fit in with the long tradition established at those schools. They have nationally recognized uniforms, and tradition with minor tweaks, changes over the years. What works usually keeps on working.

One problem at Washington over the past 100 years has been the color purple. The regal color is one of the very toughest to work with, and that by the way is one reason it was reserved for royalty. Purple fades, purple oxidizes, and dark purple works poorly with modern textiles.

With the advent of modern stretch fabrics it has become extremely difficult to master the traditional dark Husky purple. Washington has actually used a lot of Navy over the years to combat that. The Husky teams of the early sixties were in Navy for example. Purple on cotton just wasn't very color fast in the washing machine.

When you look at a current Husky jersey before it is stretched it looks like the purple of the later Jim Owens, and Don James squads. Once it stretches out it becomes much lighter, and Husky fans hate the more lavender like look. Hopefully the new vendor will be able to find a way to return to that darker color that Husky fans crave.

Who is going to be that new vendor?

According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times Under Armour is the leader at this point in the battle to clothe the Husky Athletic department. Under Armour is the new hot kid on the block, and is extremely popular with the current crop of kids getting ready to attend college. My nephew wears it for various sports and says it is just incredible stuff.

Under Armour which started off making sports underwear has caught on big and is now entering the lucrative athletic shoe market which has been dominated by Nike. The strategy of course is to get colleges and pro teams to start using their products, once kids see it on the feet of their favorite players they go to the store and buy it.

Don't count out Nike just yet, if they want the UW business they will write a big enough check.

Impressed with BYU Fans

I did the BYU preview yesterday and we have around 40 responses to the article, and most are from BYU fans. That is really impressive, and it just shows you how excited a fan base can get when you start winning some games. I want to thank all the fans that have responded, and have to say that the BYU crew is a classy bunch!

Pac Ten Alley

Let's take a walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to.

Tragedy strikes the Oregon community as Todd Doxey drowns after jumping off a bridge into the McKenzie river. Details are still pretty sketchy at this time. Our hearts go out to our friends in Oregon, and the Doxey family.

You hate to hear about things like this, but it happens in lakes, and rivers across the country each summer. Every day you hear about another kid drowning for one reason or another. You need to respect the water, especially rivers which are very dangerous to swim in.

Back in the days I used to jump off about any cliff, or bridge that I could find. I wasn't one of those maniacs that jumped off the Montlake bridge, but when I jumped at the Arboretuem, or from cliffs on Orcas Island I didn't go head first.

U of O redshirt freshman Todd Doxey, only 19 years of age, lost his life yesterday in a tragic accident on the McKenzie River.

Ted Miller of ESPN interviews Oregon QB Nate Costa.

I feel good. The knee is real solid. My focus this summer is to get back to the level I was at and I'm getting back to that point right now. I'm almost there. I'm 95 percent right now and by fall camp, I'll definitely be 100 percent.

Here is a look at some BYU traditions.

Another tradition is going to LaVell Edwards Stadium--the house that LaVell built. From a 30,000 seat bush league stadium, LaVell inspired the fanbase to build a 65,000 seat stadium that lets us rank in the Top 25 in attendance every year, and Top 5 (sometimes Top 2) in attendance in the West. Further, it is in a setting that is so gorgeous that Mike Tirico said during the Syracuse game in 2002: "[LES] is my favorite place to broadcast a game".

I have to agree with the Oklahoma blog for it's nominee of idiot of the summer. I have a feeling that this guy is going to be coughing up most of his net assets once the lawyers get through with him.

Mr. Idiot is a 36 year old Nebraska fan who lives in Austin, TX, but that isn't what makes him the idiot. No my friends, Mr. Idiot is now Mr. Idiot because after some Sooner fans were talking some smack on a Nebraska message board, Mr. Idiot decided to take drastic measures to show those Sooner fans what's up. Mr. Idiot used his tech savvyness to lift a template of News, then he wrote and posted a bogus story about how Sam Bradford & Landry Jones were arrested on cocaine distribution charges, then went back and posted the story on the message board.

The ND Domer Report tells us why they are ND fans, and why losing a key player is no big deal.

I'm Irish-Catholic, I went to college and played football at a small Division III school in VA, so my childhood allegiance to Notre Dame remains intact, no one in my immediate family went to college, so I have no family allegiances, Rutgers is a North Jersey school, I hate Temple, and as I get older, Penn State annoys me more and more. Most importantly, though, the place is just special. There's no other place that can offer such religious and football tradition, matched with a mystique that you just can't explain. Plus, their athletes aren't dummies. It isn't like USC, where you can take ballroom dancing (*cough*, Matt Leinart, *cough*) and coast through to the NFL. You have to be a good person and good citizen to make it through."This, my friends, is why I root for and love Notre Dame.

Stanford Preview from USA Today.

Stanford quarterback Tavita Pritchard is still being remembered for sparking the Cardinal's big upset of USC last year, but that has not guaranteed him of a starting job when the season opens against UCLA.

Arizona needs to get over the loss of Brandon Jennings. I mean c'mon people!

Before the anger comes let me be clear. I feel strongly that what Emmanuel Negedu did was wrong, but a part of me understands it. I think what Brandon Jennings did is also wrong but more foolish than anything and moot if he does not get his test score.

It is ex Cal QB Aaron Rodgers time in Green Bay. Brett Favre is burning some bridges in Packerland.

The Packers now are Rodgers’ team, and the fourth-year passer literally can’t wait until the July 27 reporting date for the team’s training camp at St. Norbert College. “I’m going out there a week early, if that tells you anything,” Rodgers told Yahoo! Sports on Saturday in his first extended interview since Favre requested his formal release in a letter the Packers received Friday. “I’m just excited about that first night’s sleep in the dorms, going out and practicing the next day and all the things that will follow. I knew at some point my time would come, and it looks like we’re getting close to that.”

The Oregon State blog needs to start thinking football, enough baseball already.

Jacoby is having a great second "rookie" season with the Boston Red Sox. Out of all the professional players we've covered, he's probably getting the most attention from Beaver fans. He's hitting .278 on the season with 5 home runs, 27 RBI, and all in 209 at-bats. The most impressive stats, however, are his stolen bases. Jacoby leads the American League in stolen bases with 35, one ahead of Ichiro. Willie Tavarez of the Rockies leads the MLB with 39.

ASU selects Field Turf for new indoor practice facility.

Arizona State University has selected FieldTurf as the playing surface for its new football indoor practice facility. Ground was broken on the state-of-the-art complex this past May and it is expected to be completed by early August. The announcement regarding the FieldTurf was jointly made by ASU Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love and FieldTurf CEO Joe Fields. The new indoor practice facility with FieldTurf will further enhance ASU's reputation as having outstanding athletic facilities. The facility will include 103,500 square feet with a 75-yard practice field (with an end zone) and a 45-yard practice field (with an end zone). The cost for the facility is $8.4 million. Besides giving the Sun Devils football team a climate-controlled venue for practice, the facility will also be utilized by the ASU Marching Band, ASU intramurals and for university summer football camps.

Meaningless answers to meaningless questions at USC. Isn't it about time these guys went on double secret probation?

USC is envied and admired nationally because of its success. More people are aware of USC because of its tradition and the last six years have made this one of the most glamorous programs. When USC plays back east or in the south, the fans have always had respect for the program, whether they base it on the past or the current era. That said, more people also like to see one of the top dogs get knocked off. In the Pac-10, even when USC wasn't great, schools like beating the Trojans because of their years of dominance, so it always meant more to beat USC.
The Bruin Blog has this tidbit about the Washington game. What Nestor and the gang are forgetting is that UCLA isn't going to be very good this year. They have no offensive line, and by the time they play UW they probably won't have a QB. No way does UW lose to UCLA this year unless Willingham is totally incompetent. I can understand the half empty glass scenario, an 0-3 start could mean big trouble. By the way Nestor, Jake is Tebow good!
The WSU blog is always an excellent read, and they have lots of great stuff this week, plus a butt kiss to ex PI writer Ted Miller. Ditto from the Husky blog, we love Ted too! We added a link to Ted's blog, and it is recommended reading.


prrbrr said...

johnb, SIGH. I recall the days when UW fans were as passionate about football. The BYU fans comments are a class act, actually talking football merits. And where are we, same old negative name calling smart ass ramblings over and over again on DMan. I still remember why you started this blog, good on you, a safe port in a storm.

John Berkowitz said...

I have to tell you it is pretty amazing seeing the positive interaction the BYU guys have brought to the table.

Winning does that.

I am pretty sure when we do the Notre Dame preview quite a few Irish fans will vist to comment.

When the blog started it was just you, me, and Hair, so we have picked up some decent readership since we started.

I wanted to provide content during the dead times, and I wanted to keep it positive for the most part.

I had to take the gloves off with Ty last year or I would have been a hypocrite, but I am rooting for him to have a winning record in 2008 and get the extension.

I felt from the onset that this would be a five year rebuilding program. I honestly have expected better results along the way, and truly feel that the last two teams should have gone bowling.

The injury to Stanback derailed one season, and a terrible defense killed last year.

hairofthedawg said...

It helped that you wrote a very thorough fair article detailing the teams, but the numbers and quality of their posts was a big surprise. Nice to meet you BYU! Should be during the time leading up to the game.

I really appreciate how you've filled the dead time. I just wish I had more to contribute.

I will say that I feel the Huskies are close to being where I want them to be, just not sure it's this year. I'd love to be wrong.

Johnny Miller said...

The huskies BLOW, Tyrone BLOWS, My gods, rick is still winning and we let him go!!