Colored Turf- The New Green

By now I’m sure you have all seen them. Maybe not in person; but at the very least you have stumbled across a picture of one on the Internet. If you haven’t seen one yet, consider yourself lucky.  The image can haunt you for a very long time.

No I’m not talking about one of the Kardashians in public sans makeup; I’m talking about those college and high school fields that use artificial turf. Not just any turf – colored turf. In some cases, even multi-colored turf.

Call me old fashioned, but I am of the firm belief that all sports, except hockey and basketball, should be played on natural grass. If that’s what the game was played on when it was invented then that’s how it should stay. However, if you can’t play on grass, play on something that at least looks like grass.

Here is a sample of some colleges and high schools that have taken their turf to a new, more colorful level:

The Mountain West Conference’s Boise State introduced the sports world to their “smurf turf” back in 1986, when it was first installed in Bronco Stadium. Basically, it was a public relations ploy to get the newly appointed D1 school some national press. Since then, the Broncos have turned into a very good football program leading other schools to follow in Boise State’s footsteps.

The University of New Haven has also used a blue colored turf inside Ralph F. DellaCamera Jr. Stadium. There are also a number of high schools that currently use blue turf. The Lovington High School Wildcats from Lovington, NM and the Hildago High School Pirates from Hildago, TX use blue on their home fields. Taking it one step further is the West Hills High School Wolf Pack from Santee, CA. West Hills plays on a two-toned light and dark blue field.

The Big Sky’s Eastern Washington Eagles put in bright red turf with black end zones at Roos Field. The Eagles have gone 16-2 at home since the field named “The Inferno” was installed. Yeah, you could say the team is hot.

Proving that red isn’t just a color for college anymore, the Canyon High School Cougars from New Braunfels, TX recently installed red turf for their combination football/soccer field.

The University of Central Arkansas Bears play in the Southland Conference and also play on one of two multi-colored turf fields in college football.  The turf at Estes Stadium features alternating grey and purple stripes.

Not to be outdone by UCA, the Lindenwood University – Belleville Lynx have what Yahoo Sports dubbed the “nations most original (hideous) football field”. Located in Belleville, IL , Lindenwood Stadium has a turf composed of red and grey stripes.  So if you have ever wondered what playing football on a dirty old barber pole would look like, head on over to Belleville and take in a Lynx game.

For those of you wondering if the NFL will ever be so bold as to allow teams to use colored turf, you don’t need to worry. Back in 2011, the NFL instituted a rule that all fields must be green.

Those in the League refer to it as the “Boise State Rule”.

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A Look at 2013 Conference Realignment – Part 2

On Monday we posted the first half of our in depth look at the NCAA conference realignment that took place on July 1st.  Here is part 2 of our overview.

Horizon League – This 9-team conference made a small tweak to last year’s lineup by adding the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. Schools returning to the conference include the Cleveland State Vikings, Detroit Titans, Wisconsin Green Bay Phoenix, UIC Flames, Milwaukee Panthers, Valparaiso Crusaders, Wright State Raiders and the Youngstown State Penguins.

MAAC – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will grow this year by adding the Monmouth Hawks and Quinnipiac Bobcats to their roster. They join 2012 members Canisius Golden Griffins, Fairfield Stags, Iona Gaels, Manhattan Jaspers, Marist Red Foxes, Niagara Purple Eagles, Rider Broncos, St. Peters Peacocks and Sienna Saints.

MVC – The Missouri Valley Conference, the nation’s second oldest athletic conference keeps the same number of members as last year but that doesn’t mean the roster is exactly the same. The Loyola Ramblers replace NCAAA tournament regular Creighton and will now compete with the Bradley Braves, Drake Bulldogs, Evansville Purple Aces, Illinois State Redbirds, Indiana State Sycamores, Missouri State Bears, Northern Iowa Panthers, Southern Illinois Salukis and last year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four Cinderella Wichita State Shockers.

MWC – The Mountain West may have lost TCU, a school that had been a staple in the AP Top 25 football poll, but they are in no way a weaker conference for 2013.  The additions of the San Jose State Spartans and the Utah State Aggies makes this conference just as formidable as last year if not more so. Rounding out the conference are the Air Force Falcons, Boise State Broncos, Colorado State Rams, Fresno State Bulldogs, Hawaii Warriors, Nevada Wolfpack, New Mexico Lobos, San Diego State Aztecs, UNLV Rebels and the Wyoming Cowboys.

Patriot League – This conference, made up of schools located in the Northeast made a pretty big splash by recruiting men’s Hockey powerhouse the Boston Terriers in addition to the Loyola (MD) Greyhounds. Already under the Patriot League banner are the American University Eagles, Army Black Knights, Bucknell Bison, Colgate Raiders, Holy Cross Crusaders, Lafayette Leopards, Lehigh Mountain Hawks and Navy Midshipmen.

Southland – The Southland Conference welcomed 4 new members to its rank and file on July 1st. The Abilene Christian Wildcats and University of the Incarnate World have moved up from Division II to join the Houston Baptist Huskies and the University of New Orleans Pirates as this year’s Southlands additions. Rounding out the Southland conference roster is the Central Arkansas Bears, Lamar Cardinals, McNeese State Cowboys, Nichols State Colonials, Northwestern State Demons, Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, Sam Houston State Bearkats, Southeastern Louisiana Lions, Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks and Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders.

Sun Belt – The Sun Belt traded 4 teams for 3 during realignment giving them a total of 14 teams for the 2013 school year. New to the conference are the Georgia State Panthers, Texas State Bobcats and the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks. Completing the Sun Belt is the UALR Trojans, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, Louisiana Monroe Warhawks, South Alabama Jaguars, Troy Trojans and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

Summit League – The Summit League is another conference that lost more members then they brought in. Usually trading two for one isn’t that great of a deal, but when your new school is the Denver Pioneers, the trade looks pretty good. Denver joins the Fort Wayne Mastodons, IUPUI Jaguars, North Dakota State Bison, Omaha Mavericks, South Dakota Coyotes, South Dakota State Jackrabbits and the Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks to form this 8-team conference that has been around for 31 years.

WAC – In welcoming in 6 new member institutions, the Western Athletic Conference will be boasting a whole new look in 2013. The California State University Bakersfield Roadrunners, Chicago State Cougars, Grand Canyon University Antelopes, University of Missouri –Kansas City Kangaroos, University of Texas – Pan American Broncos and the Utah Valley Wolverines will be joining the 2 elder members in the Idaho Vandals and New Mexico State Aggies.

WCC –Anything Pacific shouldn’t be new to the west coast, but 1 school is new to the West Coast Conference. The Pacific Tigers are back where they belong competing against other WCC members the BYU Cougars, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Loyola Marymount Lions, Pepperdine Waves, Portland Pilots, Saint Mary’s Gaels, San Diego Toreros, San Francisco Dons and the Santa Clara Broncos.

So there you have it… the movement of schools among conferences for the upcoming 2013-2014 seasons. Hopefully you were able to keep track of the conference that your favorite team is playing in this season.  Make sure you use our easy search feature to check out your favorite school’s store for all the latest college gear and apparel.

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A Look at 2013 Conference Realignment- Part 1

Who said that fireworks only happen on the 4th of July?

In case you missed it, there was major realignment of conferences by NCAA that took place on July 1st that has reshaped the college sports landscape.  How major you ask? Just some of the quick highlights:

  • 49 schools have new conference affiliations
  • One newly formed conference
  • 4 schools jumping from D-II to D-I

Here’s a recap of all the movement that happened… from the majors all the way down to those not-so-major conferences that provide us both the #16 seed sacrificial lambs and #12 Cinderella teams we see every March.

With all of these changes, we felt it would be best to break this into a two-part series rather than stuff you with too much information in this one post. We are covering the conferences in alphabetical order so those of you who follow the MVC, Sun Belt or the WAC, please check back next week for “Part Two”.

The Conferences:

AAC – The American, as it is called, is a shiny new conference made of up schools that were kind of left in the lurch by earlier realignment commitments. The institutions in the AAC include the UCF Knights, Cincinnati Bearcats, UConn Huskies, Houston Cougars, Louisville Cardinals, Memphis Tigers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, USF Bulls, SMU Mustangs and Temple Owls.

AEC- Former D-II school the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Riverhawks graduate up to D-1. They will be joining the America East Conferences 8 other members which include the Albany Great Danes, Binghamton Bearcats, Hartford Hawks, Maine Blackbears, New Hampshire Wildcats, Stony Brook Seawolves and Vermont Catamounts

ACC – The ACC gets bigger and tougher by adding 3 new members in the Syracuse Orange, Pitts Panthers and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (basketball only). They joined the Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Duke Blue Devils, Florida State Seminoles, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Maryland Terrapins, Miami Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies and the Wake Forrest Demon Deacons.

A10 – Atlantic 10 newcomer George Mason Patriots are now among last year’s conference members the Dayton Flyers, Duquesne Dukes, Fordham Rams, George Washington Colonials, LaSalle Explorers, University of Massachusetts Minutemen, Rhode Island Rams, Richmond Spiders, St. Bonaventure Bonnies, St. Joseph’s Hawks, St. Louis Billikens and the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth.

Big East – The former athletic power conference now consists of 10 schools with only 3 of the 10 having football programs so there is a bit of a conference crossover when it comes to Football.  The “new” Big East is made up of the Butler Bulldogs, Creighton Bluejays, DePaul Blue Demons, Georgetown Hoyas, Marquette Golden Eagles, Providence Friars, Seton Hall Pirates, St. John’s Red Storm, Villanova Wildcats and Xavier Musketeers. Who needs football when you can field a hoops lineup like that?

CAA- The Colonial Conference is adding the Cougars from the College of Charleston to its impressive list of members. The Cougars will be joining the Delaware Blue Hens, Drexel Dragons, Hofstra Pride, James Madison Dukes, UNC Wilmington Seahawks, Northeastern Huskies, Towson Tigers and William & Mary Tribe.

CUSA – Conference USA had a huge facelift performed on July 1 adding 8 new members in the form of the UNC Charlotte 49ers, Florida Atlantic Hawks, Florida International Panthers, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, North Texas Mean Green, Old Dominion Monarchs, and UT San Antonio Road Runner. Those schools join the East Carolina Pirates, Marshall Thundering Herd, Rice Owls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Tulsa Hurricane, Tulane Green Wave, UAB Blazers and UTEP Miners. With 16 teams there really is a party in the USA.

Stay tuned for “Part Two” of our coverage of the NCAA conference realignment.  The next post will cover the changes that took place in the Horizon League, MAAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Patriot League, Southland, Sunbelt, WAC and the WCC.

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