Category Archives: college football

Redesigning the College Snuggie

Let’s face it. There’s been a lot of talk about Snuggies in pop culture this year. “The blanket with sleeves” came out of nowhere and gripped the nation. From themed bar tours to the Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest, you’re never far from Snuggie’s influence.

And if that weren’t enough, the brains that brought you the outstanding three-color collection have upped their game and expanded their product line to include… collegiate licensed Snuggies!

If you haven’t seen them in their full glory, take a gander:


Picture Source: Blanket Wars (Even better, this picture is from a blog post entitled “OU Will Choke Versus Texas.”)

How does one make an eyesore like the Snuggie even more hideous? Make it look like it was made from the contents of the clearance rack at the fabric store. That fabric ain’t just for pajamas anymore!

Though I’m not (yet) a member of the cult of the Snuggie, I understand why people would buy them. Who doesn’t like being warm? And being able to eat whilst wearing a blanket? Or the ability to change channels without exposing bare arms to the draft of a room?

I also understand why people would want collegiate Snuggies in particular. Every sports fan relishes the opportunity to show off a little team spirit. I mean, if I got a Snuggie, you’d be darn sure I’d get a college team one. (Looks like I’d have to get Texas though, because the makers of Snuggie don’t offer a UVA one. Good research on that one, I must admit. They know their audience, and UVA alums likely wouldn’t bother with a Snuggie: it would clash with their ties or pearls.)

Well, instead of continuing to mock Snuggie, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and offer a design suggestion: K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid.) Good design should be minimalist, simple and straightforward. Not cluttered.

How should Snuggie go about this? Pretend to make team sweatshirts, just with tons more fabric. Like this:

Or this:
Yes, UVA can have its own Snuggie after all!
Texas should prominently display the Longhorn logo on burnt orange. Carolina the interlocking NC on its signature Carolina blue hue. Virginia Tech would use the interconnected VT. Florida: the Gator. The Jayhawk for Kansas. You get the picture. Make it simple. Make the primary team color the star, not the blinding repetition of several logos.

How would you redesign the collegiate Snuggie? Would you make them like replica jerseys with the ability to personalize a name and number on the back? Add a belt in a contrasting color? Build in a foam finger at the end of one sleeve? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Final two pictures edited from this image.

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Filed under ACC, college basketball, college football, commercials, fashion, graphic design, marketing, mascots, sports, Texas, UVA

Orange or Big Red for Paulus?

After weeks of deliberation, Duke basketball alum Greg Paulus will unveil his plans for his college football future at a press conference today at 10 a.m. EST.  He’s announced that he will definitely be playing football, but where?  Nebraska or Syracuse?

According to ESPN, Paulus is expected to choose the ‘Cuse.  It would appear that he wouldn’t be getting the starting quarterback job at either destination though, as junior Zac Lee should lead the Huskers and redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib, the Orange, this fall.

But with a 3-9 record a year ago, Syracuse can probably use all the help they can get.  And though Nebraska finished 9-4 last season, it has an inexperienced quarterback staff.  Both could certainly benefit from having a high school All-American’s arm on their team.

If ESPN’s predictions are right, it looks like Paulus’ll be headed back home to the blustery cold northeast to continue his athletics career. At least the home games would be indoors, which would be a welcome reprieve from the multiple-feet-tall snowdrifts he’d undoubtedly trudge through to get to class.  But hey, he still has 6 ½ hours to change his mind.

UPDATE: It’s confirmed. Paulus is heading home to play for the Orange.

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Filed under college football, sports

It’s a great day to be a Wahoo

I woke up today still smiling about UVA’s win over VT last night.

I’ve been a Wahoo fan for years. While heralded in the academic realm, UVA’s never been known as a football school, like Florida State (in their ’90s heyday of course) or a USC. Despite sharing a state border with Duke and UNC, I’m not sure anyone’s called UVA a basketball school either.

In my lifetime the big UVA sports accomplishments have been in lacrosse, a sport I first learned about when I saw American Pie, soccer and of late, tennis.

The overwhelming majority of positive things I’ve heard said about UVA basketball have been about Ralph Sampson, the undisputed king of Wahoo basketball, who played from 1979-1983. All I can tell you about him is he was the best player in the country at the time, was a 7’4″ (yeah, you read that right) center and led UVA to its only Final Four in 1983. Oh yeah, then there was the biggest upset in college basketball history, when the #1 Sampson-led Cavaliers lost to a then-unknown school in Hawaii called Chaminade. UVA is all about Ralph Sampson facts and is always mentioning on viewbooks and other “come to our school” literature that he and Katie Couric (two of the most famous alums) lived on The Lawn. Fancy.

UVA’s won the ACC in basketball once — in 1976. They’ve been the the Final Four once — the time with Sampson in ’83.

And geez, up until last night we had even lost to Virginia Tech in our last three outings. All were decided by three or less points or an overtime.

This is the plight of the UVA fan. You watch in fear. How bad are they going to beat us this time?, you think when you enter our football stadium against a ranked opponent. Or How long until they blow it?, when they somehow build an comfortable, seemingly insurmountable lead.

But at last, we broke down that barrier at least. My Hoos beat the Hokies 75-61 at the JPJ last night. (And even crazier, beat #12 Clemson at home over the weekend. But this is our rival. This is Virginia Tech!)

Finally, I can say (and this will surely come back and bite me at some point)…

HOOS WIN, SUCKAS!

At least they did last night. And even more today than most days, I’m proud, proud, proud to be an alum.

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Filed under ACC, basketball, college football, sports, UVA, Virginia

Easily distracted F, ISO way out of a reading rut

Elaine: These are good people, Jerry. They read!
Jerry: I read, I read!
Elaine: Books, Jerry.
Jerry: Oh.

I was watching this Seinfeld episode earlier tonight and caught myself laughing uncontrollably. Who doesn’t read books? Oh right, I don’t.

I do read, of course, and more or less constantly. I’m just reading blogs on my RSS feed, scouring the news online and reading interesting articles my friends share with me via Google Reader and Twitter.

Anyway, my problem, like Jerry’s, lies in books. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them. I have become quite the collector over the years, accumulating a pretty impressive library. Disliking books isn’t the problem… it’s that I start too many simultaneously and can never finish them.

It strikes me that the last book I read from start to finish might actually be Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! by Luke Sullivan two, make that three semesters ago. Ouch. I’ve probably written a book’s worth since then!

I’ll end up starting a new book I’m excited about, read a few chapters, and then next thing I know I’ve picked up another book and started reading it too, before finishing the first one. Then another. And another. Next thing I know I’m knee deep in five or ten books and never finish any of them. Case in point, here’s a photo of what I’m reading now:


What?! That’s 10 books! Yeah, it’s a problem. But they’re all worth reading, so I can’t quit! I need help! Heaping amounts of help — and sanity.

So what am I reading? And why? Here’s a rundown of the 10:

  • The Appeal, by John Grisham. I love everything this guy writes. And this guy can write one helluva suspenseful legal thriller. I’m on about page 138 in this one, which is easily the furthest along I am in any of them.
  • The New Rules of Marketing and PR, by David Meerman Scott. It’s about the PR and marketing in the digital era and delves into issues like social media. Couldn’t say a lot more about it since I’m only on page 15 or so.
  • Dixieland Delight, by Clay Travis. This book’s about a guy who goes to a home football game at every SEC school in one season and reports about the tradition, tailgating, food and cultural spectacle of each event. Each chapter covers a different program and it’s a little heavy on the frat guy-ish “hot ladies” talk. Otherwise it’s an interesting read and I love the idea. Wouldn’t mind going on the same adventure myself. I’m on page 98, thanks in a large part to riding the Metro in DC a lot this past weekend.
  • Cutting Edge Advertising II, by Jim Aitchison. As you might guess this is about creating cutting edge advertising that breaks through clutter. It’s probably a pretty good read, but didn’t make much for beach or pool reading this summer. I still chug along on it occasionally though. I think I’m on about page 60, but I’m starting to forget things I read about in it earlier.
  • Adobe Flash CS4 Classroom in a Book. This is a how-to book intended to teach me how to use Flash. An admirable personal goal, but I’m only on about page 15. Must keep trucking on that one!
  • The Non Designer’s Design Book, by Robin Williams. The book is probably great if you’re clueless about design, but I’m using it to make sure I have my bases covered before tackling anything much more advanced. It’s OK, but nothing spectacular. I just want to learn from the beginning, so this should be a breeze. Too bad I’m on page 22.
  • Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide to the South, by John T. Edge. This book’s a little disappointing, but I love food, especially fried delicious southern food… don’t even get me started. I keep it around for obvious reasons, because not only do I like tasting food, but I love talking food. And we all know I have a soft spot for geography and the south so, why quit? It goes state by state, and I’m on the first one.
  • The Choice, by Nicholas Sparks. Disclaimer: yes, I’m quite cheesy and I love Sparks books. Yeah, this is a romance story, just like they all are, and I know he’s going to break my heart again. But I love the ride, and Sparks is an incredibly gifted writer. I can’t resist… until another book snags my attention. I’m on page 113.
  • Graphic Design School, Third Edition, by David Dabner. This book is excellent! Sometimes I wish I went to design grad school instead of advertising grad school (I stress sometimes), and this book does an excellent job of walking you through the basics of good design, element by element. I’m largely self taught when it comes to things artistic, so I appreciate it immensely. I have it on loan now from the library but really should cough up the $45 to buy it (and by $45 I mean probably $15 if I look hard enough). In the meantime, I’m on page 38.
  • And last but not least, Hockey for Dummies, by John Davidson and John Steinbreder. I’m interested in one day working in sports and there’s the possibility that that opportunity could be in hockey. It wouldn’t hurt to know more about it. Also, for some reason I follow and am followed by tons of people working in NHL on Twitter. I’ll admit, that’s what really made me interested in learning more and picking this up at the library. I’m on page 15 though, but that’s because I’m such a hockey dummy (OK, novice) that I’m reading all the prologue business too.

Well there you have it. Anyone have any suggestions for an easily amused/easily distracted person in the midst of 10 books? Where should I go from here? Has anyone read any of these and think any are must reads? Any I should dump or throw off a bridge? How do you stop yourself from picking up new books and follow through and finish what you start? Can I ask any more questions?

In the meantime, I’m going to stew on this quote from one of my favorite authors.

“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” –Mark Twain

In honor of Mr. Twain, I’m going to read the Grisham book until I fall asleep tonight. And maybe when I’m done I’ll finally start The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Or The Prince and the Pauper. Sweet dreams, world.

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Filed under advertising, books, college football, food, graphic design, Seinfeld, The South

Football’s Yellow Line Explained

How do they get that yellow line to show up on-screen in a football game? The one the offense has to cross to pick up a first down?

Will the day ever come that the players will see that line? Probably not, but here’s an interesting video about the making and implementation of the yellow line we’ve so come to love in watching NFL and NCAA football on TV.

What on earth did we do before this? Guess where the first down line was based on where the orange stick-holding chain gang was on the sideline? That is so 1995.

The technology was unveiled in 1998 by Sportvision and adopted first by ESPN, landing the network an Emmy for technical innovation. It was aptly named 1st and Ten.

“That yellow line has become such a staple in U.S. football that no self-respecting network would think of televising a game without it,” according to the IEEE Spectrum article.

This despite the hefty $2 million pricetag for development.

Thanks Twitter, for pointing me in the direction of this and many of the most interesting articles/videos I’ve seen in the past few months.

Further reading: HowStuffWorks.com

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Filed under broadcasting, college football, NFL, sports

Happy December

Hi to the five people who read this! Sorry for my lack of updates lately. Things are a whirlwind with finishing up school, yadda yadda. Saturday I graduated, so now I guess I’m a Texas Ex!


OK, so maybe not quite. I still have two classes that haven’t finished. Thursday @ 8 am all of our ads for the semester are due for critique. Two or so creative advertising bigwigs will come in and crush our souls and tell us we aren’t good enough for the ad biz. Won’t be anything I haven’t heard before. I’m just looking forward to being done.

Friday I have my final sports journalism project due. We have to write three articles: a 1000 word main story, a 600 word sidebar and a 600 word column about topics related to Central Texas, Austin or UT sports. My main story will cover the history of UT athletics from 1970 to present. In my sidebar, I’ll write about women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky and how UT athletics are able to thrive with a two-AD system. (Piece of trivia for you: only two D1 schools do this: Texas and Tennessee). In my column I’ll argue what’s ethical and what’s not in collegiate sports marketing. My opinion may surprise you!

Anyway, I got to interview both Plonsky and men’s AD DeLoss Dodds. Both were absolute class acts and a joy to talk to. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve learned in this class, not only about sports, but about careers and writing as well.

Anyway, Dodds actually wanted to get to know me first before we even got to the interview. Asked all about where I’m from, why Texas, all that good stuff. At the end of the interview he gave me a copy of this, saying “I figure you’d appreciate this anyway, but especially as a history major and fan of 20th century history.” Wow. No really, wow.

OK, but really, I have a whole lot of work I need to get back to. Legit post coming soon. And I get my life back in only a few more days! Til then, enjoy your Christmas Pandora station and watch some Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, and/or Rudolph for me!

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Filed under advertising, college football, journalism, sports

Reilly on Free Speech and Sports

When I was younger (10 or so, let’s say), I remember helping my brothers make cardboard signs for them to take to a Steelers game. I remember vividly the Prang marker set we used and how clever my brothers and I thought we were when we made a sign that said

No
Body likes
Cleveland

when the game was televised on NBC. Oh, we were smart ones all right.

I think I speak for most when I say that signs are a fun and jovial part of the atmosphere at sporting events. Most support their team, sometimes they make small jabs at the opponent, and yet other occasions they call attention to completely different phenomena (for example “Hi Mom, please send $!” pleas). Whatever the inspiration, signs are overwhelmingly a tradition that many sports fans have come to embrace.

Not so at the University of Virginia, according to Rick Reilly’s latest story. According to some sort of rule there, no signs of any size are allowed at sporting events anymore. Not even “Go UVA!,” not even a message on a sheet of notebook paper. The only exception, unsurprisingly, are advertisements.

As a former UVA student myself, I’m pretty appalled by the school’s stance against free speech. Apparently it is some sort of new athletic department policy. Reilly interviewed former UVA football standout Ronde Barber about the situation and Barber said, “Seems odd. You’d think if there was one university that would stand up for free speech, it’d be Virginia. When I was there, the signs were really clever.”

I graduated after Ronde Barber, and thankfully, sometime before the new communist revolution. And I’d have to say, my experience was pretty much the same as Barber’s. UVA may not have had national championships in football or basketball, but we had clever fans dammit!

Of all of the amusing signs people brought to games, my favorite was one that someone had a picture of Dick Vitale‘s head Photoshopped into a Duke cheerleader’s uniform. Some friends and I had camped out 17 days — yes 17 days! — for the big UVA-Duke basketball showdown at UVA’s University Hall (U-Hall, because we love to abbreviate everything at UVA). Anyway, my friends and I got front row seats to the contest, and a group with that poster was right behind us. To no one’s surprise, Dick Vitale was there to broadcast the game.

I’m not sure this is the exact picture, but it looks exactly how I remembered it in my head. Source: http://www.truthaboutduke.com/news_month.php?m=November&y=2005

And how do you think he responded? He laughed and even autographed the sign for the students! Unbelievable. I think this says in a nutshell why people should be able to make signs; they make for a good laugh, add to the enthusiasm and atmosphere of the game, and hey, the best can take whatever heat is dealt. Like Reilly said about coach-slamming signs, “Who, exactly, is Virginia protecting here? Groh? The man can handle himself. After all, he was once the head coach of the New York Jets.” Right on, Mr. Reilly.

The whole controversy is downright disturbing. UVA was founded by Thomas Jefferson. That’s right, the very man who penned the Declaration of Independence, our nation’s third president, and so fervently stood for rights like free speech. Good ol’ TJ (or Teej as I liked to refer to him back in the day) would roll over in his grave if he knew what was going down at The University these days. As Reilly said, it’s un-American, and where is the line drawn? Does this mean that in the coming years the Lawn won’t have free speech either? No organizations intercepting unsuspecting students in an effort to get them to join their organization/show up to their meetings/donate money/buy their baked goods/rally behind their cause? As annoying as I found those soliciting tables (I’d walk the 2 or 3 minutes out of the way to avoid them), I 100% support their right to be there. Maybe it’s time the UVA athletics department took the same stand.

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Filed under ACC, basketball, college football, ESPN, free speech, journalism, politics, sports, UVA