Oregon St. needs an Extreme Makeover

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Watching Oregon go to their 3rd consecutive BCS bowl and one in every single year under coach Chip Kelly, it makes what Oregon St. is doing look absurd.   You know the ‘we may take 15 years to not do better than a Sun Bowl’ approach to trying to have a nationally important program.  There are many years where mediocre teams can sneak into a Sun Bowl.  Much like this year’s Utah team which still got into the game after a shameful loss to Colorado.  They got in and provided a good game unlike Riley’s last visit where we shock and awed the world with a whopping 3 points.

Even after a horrible 3-9 year Riley is incredibly reluctant to enact hardly any change.  One day after saying he would look closely at the program and try to not peer through too much orange colored glasses but be honest, he instead said both coordinators were top notch, were doing a great job for him and he would not consider for even a nanosecond that they would not remain with him at ole OSU.  What premier leadership from the man who thinks the regular season starts in the 4th week and those before must be preseason like the great days in San Diego where he went 14-34.

The clear majority of fans recognize there are many issues facing Oregon St. but that we are not enacting many if any of the needed changes to stem the tide.  Athletic Director Bob De Carolis does not help the issue when he blindly states Riley is the right guy for OSU despite the piling losses.  He knows all too well his basically lifetime contract to Riley that extends automatically for every mediocre, lukewarm 6-6 year has put a gun to the head of Beaver Nation.  It’s like Beaver Roulette but both options are unappealing in this case.

Go 6-6 or at best 7-5 under Riley for a year or two and extend his contract to 2021 or further or keep up 4 or 5 win seasons to make sure most of the 2020 decade is Riley free.  Right now that is winning out.  This deal is so crazy it is up for serious contention for worse deal in the history of college sports.  It was based off a year where we were overblown with the stupendous performance of Riley where he ended up in the 5th place Pac-10 bowl and got annihilated by BYU.  But go ahead Bob, tell us how that performance was deserving of potentially up to another 20 years for Riley at the helm.

Good coaches are good and are winners the vast majority of the time.  Harbaugh and Kelly are two great examples.  Harbaugh now has what was a struggling San Fran 49ers team playing like a Super Bowl serious contender.  Riley’s San Diego record illustrated beyond doubt he was sub mediocre at the highest level of competition.  He literally can’t handle it and becomes confused.  This year the prime example was the face in the hands not knowing any way to turn it around besides 5-10 more years trying.

It is our fault that we plan on allowing one person 20+ tries to make a Rose Bowl having never done better than a Sun.  I will tell you right now we could give him 25 or more and he still would not deliver.  Riley is a Holiday Bowl at the very best coach and even that would be once a decade at the most for him.  Besides that his peak is the Sun and likely only 2 of 10 years at best anymore.  BDC has to tout Riley despite his losses or his contract would make him out to be a baffoon.  It could be ended early, say next year, but likely only with another 3-4 win season.  Otherwise it will be stated as progress, even with just 5 wins, no bowl and the fanbase steamingly frustrated with Riley and Co.  If he gets to 6 wins, is extended and gets the gee golly slap on the back, then it could take 2 years of 3 or 4 win seasons after that for his job to even be in real jeopardy.

In the meantime what we can do about Oregon St. Athletics is not getting done.  BDC thinks he has better marketing ideas than Nike.  The company that has raised Oregon into a national juggernaut of the highest level and who did the majority of that work by recruiting top athletes from innovative, bold and talked about designs.  Looks that were the talk of the national football scene and helped to get Oregon as the darling of College Gameday.  These designs are not as far into left field as some think either.  The helmet was shiny last night but it had a nice look and the rest of the uniforms were fairly tame.  Overall it was just a solid look for 12 years into the 21st century.  Chip states rightly that the present is most important and after that the future is more important than the past.

Living in the past will get you nowhere in today’s college landscape and especially when you are trying to sell 17 and 18 year old kids that you are a sexy program of the moment.  Don’t tell that to BDC who paid top dollar for an old time feeling mural in Gill or who still plans to put “old timers” murals/paintings in the new basketball practice facility.  We are not talking Gary Payton or AC Green old either.  To me that is as far as OSU basketball could possibly try to sell as any positive to current kids.  Jared Cunningham does work out with Payton in the offseason.  But to put some painting of a player from the 50s or 60s in his tight shorts in a brand new facility that should be as modern as possible is just completely foolhardy.  No one cares.  What have you done for me lately.  We want to be relevant NOW BDC!

When you think of USC vs UCLA, Cal vs Stanford or Arizona vs ASU does one feel cutting edge and the other conservative and old?  No, the difference is derived from the colors first, then everything else like the locations, traditions, mascots, etc spells out the main differences between the fanbases.  BDC though thinks because Oregon is about shiny and new that we should be about dull and old.  We are losing the war for the hearts and minds of the younger generations in Portland and other parts of Oregon.  Beyond that on a national level we are rarely even in the minds of recruits.  Oregon and other schools that know what they want and have a plan to stay at the top garner all the attention.

We don’t need to be the opposite of Oregon if the opposite are the traits that today’s recruits find the most boring and are least attracted to.  That is the trap Oregon is counting on OSU falling into through stubborness and resistance to change.  7 or 8 years ago both OSU and Oregon felt like cool institutions that both had plenty of potential.  Oregon kept driving forward but OSU has stalled in its perceptions of time and how it defines itself and is stagnating.  But with what BDC wants to have that stagnation is only likely to get worse.  He wants tame and mild change that we all know won’t make more than the tiniest of differences.  No, what OSU needs is radical change if we hope to ever break out of the rut we have put ourselves in.  Our colors are actually easier to come up with cool looking designs than are Oregons.  The Oregon St. look in 97 was respectable for the time.  Why can’t we come up with a new interesting and vogue design 15+ years later?

What I propose is using new materials and having fun with it.  Things that will put butts in seats and drive growth.  Whether we like it or not every time there is an article on uniforms at Oregon they are BY FAR the most read articles in the state.  They even blow out stories on the Blazers by more than 10 times typically.  They are in fact like wildfire in their spread and gathering the attention of the masses.  OSU needs to also have articles on them read and followed.  We can’t lose recruits like Tyner because we are too boring and ‘slow’ in adaptation.  What I want to see is OSU not get conservative or think that is their bread and butter.  It isn’t.  It is our guarantee of mediocrity at best.   Either let Tinker and Nike take control of the branding or have a design contest in conjunction with Nike where 4 good ideas are put forward and then voted on like the Pac-12 championship logo contest.  Anything to draw attention and get people talking about OSU.

You see what BDC does is the exact opposite where talking about OSU is essentially discouraged because we just keep with the status quo and are so damn predicatable and dull in our ways.  I say have a dark graphite helmet as one of 3 helmets, with a cool fire orange carbon threaded ‘OS’ inlay.  Think about the most modern tennis racquets and the carbon threads they use.  This would be that type of material for the “OS’ where in close up you see the extra detail and it pops off the helmet.  The graphite helmet could either be chromium or have some carbon threading also to give it just a little extra luster and the whole look be more world class and of the moment as premier quality in college football.  Then have a wicked orange carbon and ivory carbon helmets with corresponding ‘OS’ inlays.  The ivory one would likely use the same fire orange ‘OS’ inlay and the orange one could have either a ivory or dark graphite inlay.  No more angry beaver logo with the stupid script below telling us it is indeed a beaver.

Then in the center of the field we have a big orange OS that looks more powerful then Oregon’s toiletbowl O.  We checkerboard the endzones and highlight our colors.  We add in a third pant option so we have more than just 5 or 6 combos to choose from.  With three or 4 tops, 3 pants and 3 helmets, 2 of which we primarily use and one for rarer occassions we will have a more appropriate level of atleast 15 combos to choose from.  12 of these would be more common and 3 or 4 more rare.  This is the path OSU needs to go down to get on the national stage.  Right now we are not much more than the Washington Generals.  These are not wild changes either.  These are just modern day changes.  Both Oregon and Oklahoma St. enjoyed great success this year and have options with their uniforms.  The changes at Oklahoma St. are very similar to the changes I am advocating for Oregon State.  Our helmets would just be cooler than theirs and made of better materials.

BDC and Riley need to recognize that OSU needs a wake up call.  We cannot long for a somwhat successul past that existed 3-5 decades ago in basketball and football.  We have to create a nationally revelant and important present that will excite recruits to come here and take Oregon head on with an identity that is just as strong but different based first because of color and then secondly because of all the other unique aspects of OSU.  We can’t be the antithesis of Oregon if that leaves us to collect scraps and spells us as undesirable.  Get modern and let OSU’s better colors make the difference and allow us to shine as the best university in the state.  With all of the changes I have mentioned Oregon State could compete well in the Pac-12 and stand a chance as UW and Cal get shiny new stadiums, Oregon is a juggernaut and the sport continues to evolve.  Standing pat with the status quo is accepting defeat and will trend to become more so as time moves on.  OSU either gets with it and becomes something exciting and worth talking about or we will be left in the dust.  The choice is ours and it is not a diffcult one if we want to survive.

BDC thinks because he came up with the  ‘OS’ logo that we may be good for another 20 or 30 years.  That is simply not the case.  It can work, but it needs to be spruced up and used with the most modern materials to get the sexy look recruits not only expect nowadays but demand.  What I am proposing is that Steeler tough look but with the 21st century twist where carbon materials are forged into the design to replace dull, old and predictable.  Otherwise it is a recipe for poor recruiting.  If we accept the changing tide and have a plan to move to the front lines then Oregon St. will put itself on the map and draw the kind of athletes to turn the Civil War into the slugfest it deserves to be.

Oregon St. could start by making a Holiday Bowl, then an Alamo and get once again where the Civil War is for the Roses and OSU feels good enough about its bold identity that we actually beat the Ducks and do get to a Pac-12 Championship and maybe even the Rose Bowl in the next 10-15 years.  Without changes like these though it will NEVER happen.  OSU needs major change not minor tweaks or we are likely to not do much better than Kraft Hunger Bowls.  Oregon St. needs a master plan to get ahead.  The status quo only spells death.