When you think of football in Oregon, quick...what comes to mind?
Neon green? Highlighter yellow? Liquid metal helmets? Duck bills and kazoos ringing in your ears?
Sure, some football purists will laugh at the quirky, trendy, fashion-forward nuances of Oregon Duck football, but when its teams back up the publicity with four consecutive BCS bowl berths, it's no longer just a cute little gimmick in Eugene—it's winning.
Not many schools have Nike co-founder Phil Knight's Oregon (and Stanford) loyalty and fat wallet to increase their national branding in the college football landscape, but that doesn't mean schools can't add a little pizazz to their teams' uniforms. Like it or not, recruits like flashy, shiny things.
Over the last couple of years some football programs have tried to add a little Duck soup to their uniforms and, unfortunately, most have largely failed. Are a fowl's feet stomping all over your helmet sending the right message? Virginia Tech thought so.
Meanwhile, while Oregon has been the definitive leader in high tech, new wave SWAG for its football program, Oregon State has been, well...boring.
Head coach Mike Riley isn't exactly a twitter fiend, but Riley unleashed a twitter feed never seen before on the West coast after the rebranding of Oregon State football was introduced. Riley either tweeted or retweeted 15 tweets regarding the Beavers' new uniforms—using the hashtag #ReBeaved—and he also introduced to us a new mobile app for Beaver football.
The Beavers' equipment manager tweeted out some pics of the new uniforms and to be honest, they're spectacular. The picture below shows three helmets in orange, black and white. Now before you get ready to yawn, look at the picture. That orange helmet is simply gorgeous and, strangely enough, looks like it should be on a Texas Longhorn football player.
Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Illinois, Miami, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas and to some extent, Virginia Tech, are the big football programs associated with the color orange and that seems to be a major problem for Oregon State football. When all of those other elite teams are more closely associated with orange, it's a big goal to challenge them for color supremacy.
But it has been done.
Michigan State used to be one of the first college football teams you would think of when you thought of the color green, but Oregon has surely leapfrogged the Spartans in the last few years.
The color orange is predominately used by teams in the South—Tennessee's end zone pays homage to the color like no other team—so how do you make yourselves stand out in orange without, you know, sticking out?
Oregon State didn't just jump into rebranding mode—it did its homework, stuck with its main colors and then just revved them up a bit, adding some funky beaver teeth on the helmet. No steel tails hanging down the back of the jerseys. Same color theme, but with more of an electric look.
Mike Riley is a smart man and knows these uniforms are going to turn heads—specifically recruits' heads. It's all about recruiting. It's all about staying ahead of the game.
Oregon State is finally making a smart move in the state of Oregon. Oregon is still ahead in terms of upgraded facilities such as its Quack Cave—college athletics' "first social media hub"—but how far behind can the Beaver Den be?
For a complete look at Oregon State's new uniforms, click here.