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Manhattan Project to be Unveiled



Months of deliberation, undercover work by crazed message boarders, secret texts and emails, and rogue interaction with defected athletic department employees. All this for a new set of twill outfits worn thirteen times a year by people you and I will likely never meet.

The semantics have been discussed ad nauseam and the “we have no idea if these are real” photos passed around as if they were lewd shots of Minka Kelly and Jeets during a scandalous All-Star break getaway to the Caymans.

They (okay…we) have been talking since Weeden turned the lights off at the Alamodome last December. “Is OSU the new Oregon?!” “I heard there’s going to be three helmets!!” “We will never wear the same uniform combination ever again!”

Okay, let’s settle down, take a breath, relax, and rationally consider this.

On Tuesday Brett McMurphy wrote a post for CBS Sports and said that OSU’s uniforms will be unveiled on July 28th. This is a Thursday and it falls during the week of Big 12 media days. Needless to say, the Weeden2Blackmon campaign is going to be on overload for seven straight days.

I have questions though (as always). Like, how will the unis be unveiled? Will Weeden come waltzing out in the all grays and his OSU golf sombrero on with Blackmon, Randle, and Martin flanking him in other multi-colored schematics? Will Gundy just hold each jersey/pant/helmet up for a few seconds of photos before moving on to the next? Will OSU fly in former players? “Yeah Zac you get the oranges, D’Juan you can have the white jersey and black pants, oh and Dez…yeah…if it’s not too awkward do you think you could run the video camera for a few minutes while these guys walk the runway? Thanks, Dez, appreciate it!!”

The funny thing about all of this is that no matter how upset fans might be about not being granted their apparent right as OSU citizens to peek behind the curtain at all the shades of gray and orange Nike drummed up in their Oregon headquarters, the athletic department still has people talking.

And that’s what you want as an athletic department, right? For as much as I’ve whined about them keeping this under wraps like it’s the second coming of the Manhattan Project, I’m still talking about it and have been all summer. Solid job by the crew over there for building anticipation, though I wouldn’t have minded a few grainy Blackberry photos of Weeden in the Stillwater Bagel Cafe ordering an asiago cheese with roasted tomato lox in his new pro-combat uni. Seriously, let that baby leak onto the message boards and you’d have a Zapruder film situation on your hands.

There’s a 100% chance a horde of people will still “hate” the new uniforms. Many of them will have graduated from OSU before Boone Pickens stepped foot on campus. They will cite “rich traditions” and “orange power” as valid reasons to forgo this opportunity for new threads.

That’s a fallacy though because OSU is not steeped in tradition like Texas or OU. In fact, like it or not, OSU has a worse overall football winning percentage than Baylor University.

This is why, ugly or gorgeous, hated or loved, the new uniforms are a good thing for the program. OSU can afford to take a chance and revamp its wardrobe with Nike’s finest. OU and Texas can’t (or won’t) do this, ever. It won’t happen. There is the risk that Oklahoma State donors and patrons will pout and balk at purchasing their chair-backs ($30 value), a circumstance which I’m sure Mike Holder has lost hours of sleep over, but it won’t matter in the end.

The reason it won’t matter is because of this. And “this” (in case you don’t have time to read it) is an article by Pat Forde citing sources from a certain school in the Northwest that say snazzy uniforms do matter. What players want to wear does weigh into their decision to attend a given school. If you’re still not convinced, consider this quote from OSU recruit, Nico Ornelas in the O’Colly:

Honestly, (the facilities) weren’t a huge factor. I was really trying to get somewhere that had Nike. I want to go into work for Nike for some way because I love Nike so much.

And that is why, no matter the eventual outcome, this is a terrific idea for Oklahoma State. Gundy will never be able to out-recruit [fill in Texas head coach’s name] or [fill in OU head coach’s name] but as of right now, in 2011, he’s about to be able to out-facilitate them and out-dress them as well. (not like personally, you probably aren’t out-dressing your kids if you’re still tucking rain jackets into your khaki pants, and he is…I just mean as a team).

The uniforms don’t need to be great (and I’m honestly afraid they might not be), they just need to be different enough that people notice. Notably a few people with four or five stars next to their names.

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