There are both positive and negative trends and currents occuring right now at Oregon State. One positive I acknowledge is the new backstop identity for OSU Baseball. It is well done and exhibits the “powerful” brand I have stated we must have to take a leg up. The combination of the Pac-12 logos with the bold Nike logos makes the whole thing come off as a top tier Western United States venue. They made the right call on the spread of the logos, their exact placement and the OSU version of the Pac-12 logo being used as opposed to the blue general Pac-12 version.
In comparison, the smaller Pac-12 logo at Oregon that stands alone behind homeplate at PK Park is not nearly as high calibre. It is too small, it is all alone and its use of the general blue color is nothing special up against what OSU has done. In OSU’s case the whole thing works together very well and Coleman Field at Goss Stadium comes off as a premier venue.
There are plenty of negatives though. First and foremost in my mind is the fact that the fans want more public statements from Riley and De Carolis that football is going to raise their game and up the standards and expectations they set for themselves. There is nothing wrong with a press conference and I believe many fans want to hear much more. To me the reason we don’t get that comes back to the confidence of Mike Riley to produce a winning program that is confident in itself to reach 8 wins in the vast majority of years. This is where I think the man himself just doesn’t exude enough grit or confidence and it prevents us from raising the program.
This years schedule is great for OSU football with 7 home games and Wisconsin and Oregon visiting and in all honesty it should be a sell out year without that much difficulty. However, the sting of the last two seasons and the fact that we did not come back to win even a single game last year, and hardly any the year prior either, make it seem that the team doesn’t have the proper winning and fighting spirit engrained in them. I know we crushed USC two years ago and that was the highlight but the lows and blowouts like getting blownout and goosegged by Stanford and Wisconsin just can’t be forgotten. There is no excuse for failing to score or even scoring just 7 points in a game. That is a hallmark of poor teams.
Marketing improvements have been too slow. I am okay with OS taking the center stage this year and am wondering if it is the phaseout of the angrybeaver. The angrybeaver makes a better secondary logo in my opinion and one we could use like Florida does on its field if we wanted to. The scenario I see playing out is we get OS for 2012 as is expected and then Tinker and BDC decide together if we will be going to OSU for 2013 and beyond. Tinker originally proposed a diagonal, collegiate and strong OSU, so as far as imagining it just tack a ‘U’ onto the diagonal and perhaps we may get a slightly different font. We may even get a redesigned beaver as our secondary logo. I am okay with all of that as well. I think the OS is pretty good but overall I just want bolder imagery for Oregon State to attract more top level recruits and make OSU cooler and a national level program.
The problem could be that Riley isn’t a national level coach. Short of 7 wins this season he firmly just isn’t in my opinion and we need to spend a little Pac-12 TV money to buy him out. OSU needs to take the steps to show it wants to be better and isn’t just content with mediocrity or 6 wins. To me that means having a bolder field design and uniform combos when the 2013 Tinker changes are implemented. Use Tinker’s beaver tail Waffle design for the endzones. Make the brand of the university stand out more where we get more national interest and are not just a regional affair. Have 12-16 uni looks/combos we can choose from. Don’t settle for 7 or 8. We should have atleast a white secondary helmet option and it shouldn’t be just for one game. If we want that we can use a third orange helmet for rare occassions.
The baseball backstop shows an example of how to successfully work with Nike to create a premier venue. The fan experience must also include things like an open Truax 3 hours before kickoff on Gameday. Limit the drinks but make it fun and you will get more people excited about Beaver Football Saturdays. It is a great way to keep the stadium selling out when HDTV is also an option. We need to learn from the Timbers and create a more exciting fanbase. Cut down on the alcohol monitors and too many Event Staff and maybe allow flags in certain sections so that Beaver Nation at Reser on TV can have areas that look as much fun as Jend-Wen Field. That is how you create a passionate fanbase and start raising the profile of the program.
Will BDC or Riley implement many of these ideas? Will Riley ever wear his suit and tie and come out and say we plan on a hot start to the season this year and the players are all on board so come out and support us and we will make this happen? I would be prouder of a man who could do that and if Riley is too content plodding along and being concerned with the season starting in Week 4 then we truly need to look elsewhere. I have very little concerns that OSU can attract a great coach when the Pac-12 will be averaging 21 million a year before cable or satellite deals and have every game on TV and with so much national coverage.
This university isn’t built for two men to quietly be head coach or AD for two decades and be safe because we once were bad. The 2010s are nothing like the 80s or early 90s. That was 20 years ago and society has undergone huge changes. Beaver Nation can’t settle for less than being a winner and coaches that can get you 8+ wins most years are available. It is time for OSU to dream a bigger dream or find those that will. College sports is the entertainment business and OSU needs to keep improving its quality and put on high quality productions that are worthy of a national audience.