Monday, September 2, 2019

The "Nightmare" uniform (Unlucky combo update 2015-2019)

Oregon made only a few changes to its uniform this summer, but one interesting development was the lack of a black set. Instead they showcased a dark green that they call "Nightmare Green" They wore it in their opening night loss this season. 

The last time Oregon sported a dark "Thunder" green was 2014 during the Mariota years. All of Herbert's 3 previous years have been wearing the pretty and bright "apple green"

This is especially interesting since black has been a major element of the uniforms for the last decade. In my unofficial count of color combos since Chip Kelly started in 2009, the Ducks have played 44 games with at least one of the three main parts (helmet/jersey/pants) being black. And that is not even counting dark gray, silver, etc. So if they averaged 12 games each year, that is 36% of the time!

Last year they wore black on 4 occasions, three of them being MONO black! During the Helfrich years, black was used a lot: two of his seasons they wore black in 5 games. But in 2011-12, the Ducks were black in 7 games!

So how about the combo they sprung on us this last weekend, during a high profile season opening at a neutral site? It was supposedly dark green and white, but to my untrained eye it looked REALLY dark, bordering on black.

August 31, 2019. Oregon loss to Auburn. Register Guard photo

As I mentioned in my week one post, the last time this dark/white/dark combo has been used:

  • If you consider this green: 2017 week 3 (that time was apple green)
  • If you consider this black: 2015 week 11 
  • If you consider this dark green: 2013: week 6
  • If you consider this a Frankenstein hybrid: 2011 National Championship (another heartbreaking loss to Auburn)

Updating the Unlucky Uniform game

One of my very first posts as Ducktracker in September 2015 was a post about how the Ducks tend to tank on the big stage when they don't wear school colors. That "laundry list" started with the infamous Boise State punch game loss. (all white) and rounded up the 13 losses from 2009-2015. Spoiler alert: Many of them came wearing non green/yellow uniforms. 9/13 of those losses came wearing no green/yellow.

It got me thinking that I need to update that list. I had the luxury of "only" 13 losses in 5 years, but the last 4 years have been less kind. So here's looking back at 4 years of losses from Sept. 2015-Sept. 2019:

2015 (Mark Helfrich)

September 12, 20155:30 p.m.vs. #3 Michigan State#5Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MIESPNL 28–31  

September 26, 20155:30 p.m.vs. #18 Utah#13Autzen Stadium, Eugene, ORFOXL 20-62

Getty Images photo
October 10, 20153:00 PMWashington StateAutzen Stadium • Eugene, ORL 38–45 2OT 
Getty Images photo

January 2, 20163:45 PMvs. No. 11 TCU*No. 15Alamodome• San Antonio, TX (Alamo Bowl)L 41–47 3OT 
Getty Images photo

2016 (Mark Helfrich's last season)

September 17, 201612:30 PMat Nebraska*No. 22Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, NEL 32–35  
USA Today photo

September 242:30 PMColoradoAutzen Stadium • Eugene, OR
L 38–41  

October 16:30 PMat Washington StateMartin Stadium• Pullman, WAL 33–51  
USA Today photo

October 84:30 PMNo. 5 WashingtonAutzen Stadium • Eugene, OR (Rivalry)L 21–70  
AP photo

October 217:30 PMat CaliforniaCalifornia Memorial Stadium • Berkeley, CAL 49–52 2OT 
BANG photo

November 54:00 PMat USCLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum• Los Angeles, CAL 20–45  
USA Today photo

November 261:00 PMat Oregon StateReser Stadium • Corvallis, OR (120th Civil War/Platypus Trophy)L 24–34  

AP photo

2017 (Willie Taggert's only season)

September 237:00 Arizona StateNo. 24Sun Devil Stadium• Tempe, AZL 35–37  
AP photo

October 75:00 p.m.No. 11 Washington StateAutzen Stadium • Eugene, OR
L 10–33  
Oregonian photo

October 148:00 No. 23 StanfordStanford Stadium• Stanford, CAL 7–49  
AP photo
October 211:00 UCLARose Bowl • Pasadena, CAL 14–31  55,711
Pac-12 photo

November 47:00 No. 12 WashingtonHusky Stadium• Seattle, WA(Rivalry)
L 3–38  
Statesman Journal photo

December 1612:30 p.m.vs. No. 25 Boise State*Sam Boyd Stadium• Whitney, NV (Las Vegas Bowl)
L 28–38  
Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

2018 (Mario Cristobal's first season)

September 225:00 p.m.No. 7 StanfordNo. 20
  • Autzen Stadium
  • Eugene, OR
L31–38 OT
AP photo

October 204:30 No. 25 Washington StateNo. 12 L20–34
Oregonlive photo

October 277:30 ArizonaNo. 19 L 15–44
AP photo

November 102:30 Utah L 25–32

So, what's the trend over 4 years of losses?

In 21 losses during 2015-2018 a vast majority were on the road, so the jerseys tended to be white. But a large proportion of those occasions also had no major green/yellow, but instead opted for whiteout or lots of silver. The times they lost at home tended to be the most cartoonish of uniforms: The Lewis and Clark commemoration, the blue Webfoots Oregon flag set, and the orange-socked Duck mascot version—all combos that have now become imfamous, much like their "grellow" helmets from 2006.
  • 11 losses where no major background color was green/yellow
  • 7 losses had uniforms that sported ONLY white, gray, black, silver or blue
  • 14 losses used helmets that were not green or yellow, with a preponderance of the chrome helmets being worn in losses.
What next?

Not to say any set is "cursed" but I might avoid going on the road without much green or yellow to offset the white jersey, and stick with nice solid home sets. While Oregon got the whole chrome helmet trend going, it might rethink it. Revolutionary advice, I know

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Week 1: Aug. 31, 2019

A pretty decent game for the Ducks until the last few minutes. They wore a "new" dark green called "Nightmare Green" which kinda lived up to its name. At first glance on twitter and in the news media, this shade of green seemed similar to other "dark green" uniforms they have sported in the past in their "Thunder Green" days. But in further viewing, they seem REALLY dark green—bordering on black, especially the helmets. I'll be hones, I'm not a fan. The shiny numbers are decent though and play off the old school "mallard green" helmets of yore. If they had used lighter green helmets it might have worked.

This was the first time that Oregon has worn a dark green since Marcus Mariota wore it in week 12 of 2014 (the Heisman and Natty year). This is the first time since week 3 of 2017 that they have worn a green/white/green combo. But that uniform was the bright "apple green." But, since they did not preview any black uniforms parts last month, this is the 2019 version of "black." So you have to go back to week 11 of 2015 to get black/white/black. And in ten years, this "nightmare oreo" look is VERY uncommon. You have to go back to the 2010 season in week 6 and then in some respects the last time Oregon lost to Auburn they way dark gray/white/dark gray!

A topic for another blog post this week will be why the Ducks have had a history of choosing pretty dull (Or at least pretty non-traditional) colors when they play in these high profile games. And how they tend to lose on a big stage doing so!

Friday, August 9, 2019

It all began 20 years ago

September 2, 1999. East Lansing, Michigan...

Oregon started its first season with quarterback Joey Harrington as starter, losing to Nick Saban-coached Michigan State...

BUT the most notable aspect of this Sept. 2 game—to readers of this blog at least—is that it was the first game using the new "O" helmet and the new Nike uniforms that had been teased and unveiled nine months earlier at the 1998 Aloha Bowl (a loss to Colorado!).

Before 1999, Oregon wore the standard home/away sets and the interlocking UO helmets, that have now become quant and retro. After this game, the uniform floodgates opened and the Oregon mystique of a new combo each week emerged.

The Oregon that the country now loves and hates was born. Color shifting mallard-green helmets with the simple "O" and more use of mono-colors, the full side stripe and the non-collegiate block typeface that would eventually lead to "Bellotti Bold" font. Diamond plate, wings, high tech, and highlighter-yellow, oh my! It all began 20 years ago.

Some nice links about the history of this evolution:

GoDucks and Rob Moseley give us an oral history off the "O":

BEFORE 1999:

AFTER 1999:

Monday, December 31, 2018

Redbox Bowl, Dec. 31, 2018

The Ducks wore, arguably, their best 2018 combo for their bowl game. The yellow/green/yellow combo is a classic home set (I'd argue it should be the main home uniform!) and this year its been woefully underworn with the mono-everything, simple look that the Ducks have adopted for 2018! While the game was not exactly an offensive showcase, the uniform did not disappoint (and you can also argue that Oregon has been visually underwhelming in many big bowls of late)