New football uniforms are headed the Sooners’ way at some point in the 2014 season, but let’s be clear about one thing. Clothes do not make the men.
Let’s also be clear about something else. Time is undefeated.
Notre Dame changed its helmets. Ohio State went all-white against Michigan. Stately Georgia donned black jerseys. Penn State, the only school that dug its cleats in the ground and vowed to stay traditional until death, dang near found death.
So now we have the Oklahoma Compromise. The Sooners will introduce alternate uniforms for a game in ’14, what athletic director Joe Castiglione calls the “roughrider look.”
I’m no fashion expert. I only know what I like, and what I would like is for Nike to remove its big fat nose from the business of college football, but may the good Lord take a liking to me on that one.
But I also understand that things change. The forward pass, two-platoon football, the demise of 30,000 fedoras watching the game on Owen Field. Nothing stays the same. So if the culture demands that OU get a little hip with its uniforms, I know the best possible result is retention of the traditional look, with an occasional splashy alternate.
And there’s no doubt, the culture does demand.
“We’ve heard that from current players, we’ve heard that for several years now,” Castiglione said. “We thought, ‘Well, if we’re going to do this, we have to have a link to our history.’”
The campaign tries to tie the 2014 uniform change into OU football from more than 100 years before that, when the Sooners were called the Roughriders. I don’t necessarily see the connection and I don’t think most fans will, either, but the militant crowd should stand down. It’s no more realistic to ask the Sooners to go down with the uniform ship than it is to demand that all games at Owen Field kick off at 1:30 p.m.