Monday, December 28, 2015

Birmingham Bowl Uniform Preview

It's the most wonderful time of the year - bowl season. Many teams - 80 this year! - have been rewarded with 15 extra practice periods, gift suites worth up to $550, and one more game for the season. Our Auburn Tigers got the short straw due to a 6-6 record and will make the short trip up the road to Birmingham to face the Memphis Tigers, a team I would assume would much rather play at a bigger game. But hey, conference-bowl agreements can be a pain.

The Memphis Tigers come to Birmingham with a 9-3 record, after losing three of their four games on the season. Memphis has recently become a team that likes to play around with their uniform elements. A few years back they added a couple of chrome helmets, and have since expounded upon those. This season, the Tigers have worn a multitude of helmets. Their opening game against Missouri State saw Missouri trot out in matte blue helmets with a chrome M and tiger logo. The following week's game against Kansas saw a matte blue lid with chrome M on one side with the player's number on the other. For their big Thursday night matchup against Cincinnati, Memphis wore their all grey uniforms paired with their matte blue helmet featuring chrome tiger stripes, similar to the Cincinnati Bengals.

I don't like using watermarked images like these from Getty or USA Today, but finding similar
quality images that showcase the details are difficult when the school's images are not available for use.
The game at South Florida saw the season debut of Memphis's chrome shells, this time paired with chrome stripes in the helmet stripe and M logo. The Tigers wore these helmets the following week in their big upset over Ole Miss. When the team traveled to Oklahoma to face Tulsa, the Tigers wore matte grey shells with chrome facemasks and M and tiger logos.

Told you Memphis wore a lot of different helmets this year. As you can see in these photos, they're not afraid to pair them with any of their uniforms - blue, white, dark grey, and a light grey pair of pants. What Memphis decides to wear in Birmingham is a toss up. Interestingly enough, the first press conference between coaches from Auburn and Alabama shortly after the matchup was announced might have teased what the Memphis Tigers might wear. At the podium were the two helmets of the participating teams, like normal nowadays. The Memphis helmet was a matte black lid with chrome blue tiger stripes and a chrome blue facemask. Memphis's first practice in Birmingham confirmed they were going to wear these new helmets.

Memphis Tiger Network
If previous match ups are anything to go by, and they're pretty accurate for the most part, Auburn will be the road team and wear their traditional white uniforms. If that holds true, Auburn will wear their white jerseys in three straight bowl games, the first time since the mid 1980s - the 1984 Liberty, 1985 Citrus, and 1986 Cotton Bowl. Auburn doesn't have a great record wearing white in bowl games, entering this year's game with a 5-8 record wearing the road tops, including a two game losing streak.

Hey, I never said I sugarcoat these things...

Even more depressing is Auburn's recent record in games played in Birmingham. Since 1985, Auburn sports a 4-7 record in Birmingham, all of which are Iron Bowls. Auburn has 3 of those wins in the white tops, unfortunately paired with 5 losses. The last time the Tigers played a team not named Alabama in Birmingham was a 1978 win over Tennessee. The last time Auburn wore white against a non-Alabama team? 1970 against Mississippi State, a game the Tigers won 56-0. Birmingham hasn't been the kindest of cities to Auburn.

Chad Pepper, The Corner News
Thankfully we saw with the Chick-fil-a Kickoff against Louisville that this new template can support a bowl patch better than the previous template. We'll get to see a patch on the white jerseys this time around. Hopefully Auburn places the patch in the same place as the first patch.

Hopefully the Birmingham Bowl sees some nice weather for once and we're treated to a good game. At least we know one set of Tigers will be looking their best!

Update 12-28-15:

Here's our first look at Auburn's bowl jerseys. Patch placement in same position as the Chick-fil-a Bowl in September.

@JeremyRoberts12 on Twitter

Random Bowl Uniform Tidbits

  • Auburn will be wearing white in three straight bowl games for the first time since they wore white in three straight games - 1984 Liberty, 1985 Cotton, and 1986 Citrus Bowls.
  • Since 1982, Auburn is 18-8-1 in bowl games. The Tigers are 14-4-1 in bowls when they wear blue jerseys, and 4-4 when wearing white jerseys.
  • Auburn has won the first bowl game they played in with their new template uniforms - 
  • Speaking of templates, Auburn went 4-0 in the original template, and 1-2 with the tapered stripe template.
  • Auburn was the first team to play in the same bowl game twice in the same year as they faced Texas Tech on January 1, 1954 in the Gator Bowl, then played against Baylor on December 31, 1954 in the same Gator Bowl.
  • In the 1954 Gator Bowl against Texas Tech, Auburn wore orange as the Red Raiders wore red. 

  • Auburn's bowl records by uniform color are:
    • Blue - 16-6-1
    • White - 5-8-0
    • Orange - 2-1-1
  • You can view a near complete history of all the field designs from every bowl game Auburn has played in on this site.
War Eagle!

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