Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spring Update: What Changes Should Be Made Prior to the 2016 Season (But Probably Won't Be)

With the spring football game taking place this morning, my baseball-focused mind temporarily shifted over to the 2016 football season.  The Bulldogs debuted new uniforms in 2015 that were updated versions of the DWS 100 uniforms that were worn in 2014.  Unfortunately, they were not so much updated as simply transitioned to the newer Adidas Primeknit template.  The black outlines that were a part of the throwback to the 90's uniforms, as well as the awful oversized M-State pants logo that was only supposed to be worn for one game, became permanent fixtures of the Bulldogs' regular uniforms.

It would be nice if Scott Stricklin and some of the other people in charge of the Bulldogs' football uniforms took some initiative and took our uniforms from an in-cohesive mess with potential to a set that fits in perfectly with the other classic uniforms in the SEC.

The first change that needs to be made to the Bulldogs' uniforms is to remove the black outlines from the collar, numbers, and stripes.  They worked and made sense on the original DWS 100 uniforms, because they were throwbacks to late 90's uniforms that the Bulldogs had success in under Jackie Sherrill.  In a full time uniform, there is no need for black outlines.  There is no black on the pants or helmet; outside of alternates, black is not a color that is or should be used by Mississippi State athletics.  The black muddles things a bit on the maroon jersey, but it really messes thing up on the white jersey.  The outline on the numbers and stripes blend in with the maroon and make them fatter and darker.  This was really noticeable in the game at Missouri last year, when in the rain the Bulldogs wore a white helmet with a bright maroon logo with a silver outline.  Removing all black from the Bulldogs' jerseys would be a huge step in the right direction.

Casual viewers may not notice the black outlines, but I'd hate to see a stat showing many times people watching a Mississippi State game have pointed out how terrible our pants our.  Adidas slapped the large oversized M-State logo on the pants of the DWS 100 uniforms, which, keep in mind, were originally only supposed to be worn once.  Instead in removing it in 2015, the Bulldogs actually added it to new pairs of maroon and black pants.  How hard would it be to put stripes on the white and maroon pants that match those on the gray pants and jersey shoulders?

The brightest spot of the Bulldogs' 2015 uniform lineup was the addition of gray pants with the same striping pattern as those worn in the late 80's.  A great alternate look, especially on the road, the gray pants were the best the Bulldogs had last year, considering that the white and maroon pants had the oversized M-State logo.  However, the pants are not perfect.  On the left hip, there is a small all-white M-State logo.  Having a logo there is fine, but the monotone M-State logo is seemingly being phased out lately; it was removed from the helmet last year.  It would make more sense, both in connection with the helmet and the M-W-M stripe on the pants, if the logo used on the pants were the version with a maroon M and white banner.  This would be a minor change in comparison with the other two, but it needs to be made in order to maintain consistency.

Will any of these changes happen?  Probably not.  2015 was the first year of what is generally a three year uniform cycle.  These are all changes that really should have been made prior to last season.  Still, it is disappointing to see that we are on the hinges of a great uniform, but because of a few bad decisions are stuck with a bit of a mess.  There's always a chance that the people in charge will notice this and indeed make a change.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Mississippi State Football Uniforms Review

Two thousand fifteen was a big year for Mississippi State football.  In Dak Prescott's final season, the Bulldogs finished with an 9-4 record, the 4th time in 7 years as head coach that Dan Mullen has won at least 8 games.  Uniform wise, it was the dawning of a new set of primary uniforms.  An alternate jersey, along with several alternate pants and helmets were worn throughout the season.  By season's end, the Bulldogs had worn a school record 10 uniform combinations, only repeating two combos all season.

Primarily, 2015 was a transitional year for the Bulldogs uniform-wise.  Many changes were made before and throughout the season, but these are the big 5 that cement 2015's place in uniform history.

I. Change in Helmet Logo

This may have went unnoticed by some, but one of the biggest changes, and one that was actually adjusted mid-season, was the helmet logo.

For the first three games of the season, the transparent banner M-State logo was worn with a silver outline on a shiny helmet.  At first, I was in favor of the silver outline, but it soon became clear that silver and white were too similar in color and, like the logo from 2009 and 2010, only muddled up the logo.  So, for the fourth game of the season, with the 2015 debut of the matte helmet, the silver outline was removed from the helmet.  When the shiny helmet was worn again vs Troy, it too lacked the silver outline.

2015 Belk Bowl: vs NC State- 51-28 Win

The Bulldogs will cap off their 2015 season, and Dak Prescott's career, in today's Belk Bowl vs NC State.  This year, the SEC team is the home team for the Belk Bowl, and therefore gets free choice of uniforms.  For the first time this year, the Bulldogs' uniform combo was actually announced before the game- actually about three weeks beforehand.  Scott Stricklin quickly announced on Twitter that the Bulldogs would be wearing the shiny maroon helmet and maroon jersey, with the fan's choice of pants.  Using Twitter's new poll feature, the @HailStateFB account ran a poll asking fans if the Bulldogs should wear white, maroon, or gray pants in the Belk Bowl.  Predictably, with over 7,500 votes, gray pants won the vote in a landslide, gaining 60% of the votes as compared to maroon's 28% and white's 22%.

So, for the third time this season, the Bulldogs will wear the ever-popular shiny-maroon-gray combo.  It will be the fourth time that the gray pants have been worn overall; they were worn with the matte helmet and white jersey at Arkansas.

NC State, also an Adidas school, will NOT be going with a traditional look.  Instead, they will be pairing this interesting helmet with white jersey (with black outlines) and dark gray pants.  Doesn't that color discrepancy sound familiar?

Shiny Maroon Helmet
Maroon Jersey
Gray Pants

Game Photos:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Week 13: 2015 Egg Bowl- 27-38 Loss

For the first time in 5 years, Mississippi State will NOT wear gold-accented uniforms in the Egg Bowl.  An Adidas replica jersey of an early design leaked about a month back, but it would seem that the university stood up and said "NO" to Adidas.

The Bulldogs first started wearing gold in the Egg Bowl in 2011.  They beat a 2-10 Ole Miss team soundly in those, and tried it again on the road in 2012.  That year it didn't work out so well, but they tried it again in 2013, and for the second time at home, the Bulldogs pulled out a win.  At this point, the trend was clear: it looks good when you win (at home) and bad when you lose (on the road, generally.)  In 2014, the Bulldogs entered the Egg Bowl 10-1 and #4 in the country.  The DWS 100 road unis were worn in the Orange Bowl, and the solid ribbon-stripe road unis had been being worn all year.  Yet again, however, the Bulldogs went all out with the gold and got beat on the road.  The gold always looks bad in a loss.

This year, no one would've blamed them for wearing the gold again.  State's still never lost in gold at home.  That being said, not many are complaining.  It was cool for a couple of years, but eventually it just looks silly.  If anything, and this is definitely the case, the gold was removed a year too late.

Back before the gold was worn, the Bulldogs still weren't consistent with Egg Bowl uni combos.  In 2010, they wore all white (with maroon helmets) and in 2009 they went mono-maroon.  From 2002-2008, they wore white helmets.  It might surprise people to know that State has actually white helmets more than any other color in Egg Bowls this century.  This trend is renewed this year, as the Bulldogs will wear the white helmet first debuted earlier this month at Missouri.  Pairing the white helmet with the maroon jersey and white pants, the Bulldogs will still debut a record-breaking 10th combo of the year in the Egg Bowl.

This year's white-maroon-white look will most resemble the 2003 and 2005 Egg Bowls look, in which the Bulldogs wore white helmets, maroon jerseys, and white pants.  In 2005, the helmets had the Croom-Era M-State on the side and the uniforms were Russell-made.  In 2003, the helmets had numbers on the side, but the jerseys were more similar to those worn today, with the Nike sleeve stripes.

Other combinations worn by the Bulldogs in Egg Bowls this century include white-white-maroon in 2008 and 2006, white-maroon-maroon in 2007, all white in 2002 and 2004 (completely different designs those two years), traditional maroon-maroon-white in 2001 (the only time this century that traditional combo has been worn in the Egg Bowl), and maroon-white-maroon in 2000.  In regard to helmet colors, the W-L records for the Bulldogs with different helmet colors in Egg Bowls this century are: 4-3 in Maroon, 2-5 in White, and 1-0 in Gold.

If one were to believe in superstition surrounding uniforms, he or she could have predicted tonight's outcome.  With tonight's loss, the Bulldogs fell to 2-6 in Egg Bowls in white helmets this century.  The last time the Bulldogs lost a home Egg Bowl (2003) was, coincidence?, also the last one in which State wore alternate white helmets.  Sure, they wore white helmets in home wins in 2005 and 2007, but they were the primary helmet under Croom.  The last time white helmets were worn under him, by the way- a 45-0 loss at Ole Miss.  History was, and is not, on the side of alternate white helmets in the Egg Bowl.  Alas, the alternate white uniform curse lives on.  Of course, the Missouri game this year could be considered an exception, but Missouri was terrible this year.

Finally, the question begs, will gold return in the Egg Bowl sometime in the future?  I'd say the most likely time for its return would be 2017.  I certainly hope that it doesn't return next year- I've already expressed why I don't like it on the road.  Besides, next year's Egg Bowl has the potential for a GOAT uniform matchup, if State wears matte-white-gray and Ole Miss wears powder-red-gray.  That would easily be the greatest uni matchup in Egg Bowl history- even better if State were to steal a road egg.  As for 2017, that's a long time from now.  It's certainty possible- especially given the stat that State is undefeated in gold at home.

White Helmet
Maroon Jersey
White Pants

Game Photos:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dak Prescott: A Uniform History

The career of the most prolific player in Mississippi State history is coming to an end.  Dak Prescott has put Mississippi State on the map by leading the Bulldogs to a #1 ranking and 10-2 record in 2014.  Prescott began his career at Mississippi State by playing backup to Tyler Russell for 12 games in 2012.  He started 8 games in 2013 and played in 3 more.  2014 was Prescott's first full year, starting all 13 games for the Bulldogs.  This year, Dak started all 13 games, including the Belk Bowl at the end of the year.

During Dak's first two years, he wore the Ribbon-Stripe uniforms.  In 2014, the Ribbon-Stripe unis were worn sparingly, but the ever-popular DWS 100 unis eventually took their place.  A version of the DWS 100 unis returned full-time in 2015.  Dak ended his career having taken the field wearing 25 different combos at State.

What uniform combination best defines Prescott's time at Mississippi State?  In his career at Mississippi State, Dak has played in 47 games, posting a 31-16 record.  He has started 32 of those games, with an impressive 23-9 record.  The uniform combo that Dak has started in the most, as well as posted a perfect 6-0 record in, is the DWS 100 uniform from the 2014 season.  The three game winning streak over then top-10 teams LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn put the Bulldogs on top of the polls and Prescott on top of the Heisman race.  The Bulldogs never lost in those uniforms- the three losses at the end of the year all came in (three different) white uniforms.

A full breakdown of all of the uniform combinations Prescott has worn can be seen below:
As you can see, 18 of the 25 combinations were only worn once by Prescott, with 7 being worn only as a backup; the maroon/gray combo was worn three times in 2015, and two other combinations were wore twice.  There are four combinations at the top that were worn more the others: the DWS 100 unis, the Shiny-Maroon-White ribbon-stripe unis, the Shiny-Maroon-Maroon ribbon-stripe unis, and the Matte-White-White ribbon stripe-unis.

The past four years have seen a paradigm shift occur in the state of Mississippi State football.  Under the leadership of Dak Prescott, the Bulldogs posted a #1 ranking and have been consistently competitive in the ever-challenging SEC West.  As far as uniforms are concerned, the beginning of Dak's career coincided with the revelation of the Adidas-designed ribbon-stripe uniforms.  Throughout his career, special Egg Bowl uniforms were worn every year, as were other various alternate uniforms, some better than others.  The DWS 100 throwbacks that were introduced at the start of the 2014 season were cemented as the regular uniforms thanks in large part to the many wins Dak and his team posted in them.  In 2015, the DWS 100 base design has been carried over as the permanent design, with 10 different combinations popping up throughout the season.

The result of all these changes is 25 different uniforms by which we can remember the player who has been arguably the best in Mississippi State history.  Thank you, Dak, for all you've done.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Week 12: at Arkansas- 51-50 Win

The Bulldogs will tie their single-season record of 9 uniform combinations (set in 2012) by wearing the gray pants on the road in Fayetteville.  In what will potentially be the Bulldogs' best look of the year, they will wear the matte maroon helmets, white jersey, and gray pants.  When combined with Arkansas' Red-Red-White combo, the Bulldogs will participate in one if the nation's best uni matchups for the second weekend in a row.

Matte Maroon Helmet
White Jersey
Gray Pants

Game Photos:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Week 11- Alabama- 6-31 Loss

In their 2:30 CBS home game vs #2 Alabama, the Bulldogs made a clutch decision and brought back the gray pants first seen vs Troy earlier this season.  Because of the lack of oversized M-State logo, the gray pants create the best home look for the Bulldogs in 2015.  I have to applaud the players and equipment staff for making us look as good as possible in what very well could be the biggest game of the year.

It turned out not to be much of a game, but it was recognized nationally as one of the best uniform match-ups of the weekend.

Shiny Maroon Helmet
Maroon Jersey
Gray Pants

Game Photos: