Oklahoma is one of the name football programs in America. The Sooners have national titles in their trophy case, bowl appearances by the dozen, and a recent run of Big 12 and national success since Bob Stoops was hired than a decade ago.
And yet even Oklahoma is having to suit up in a silly uniform to impress recruits. OU will have two alternate uniforms this season. One will feature a wood grain pattern on the helmet and and on the numbers as a salute to -- prepare yourself for Nike's nonsense explanation -- the "weathered texture of the Sooner Schooner, a Conestoga reminiscent of the pioneer mode of travel employed by the hearty souls who settled Oklahoma Territory around the time of the 1889 Land Run."
By God, I'm actually tearin' up a bit. That makes them there wood grain unis a must-wear outfit!
Why mention this on an SEC blog? First, because Tennessee fans may be robbed of the opportunity of seeing a classic Tennessee uniform on the same field with a classic Oklahoma uniform when the schools meet this fall. Though for all we know the Volunteers will be wearing an oddball color or design, too.
Second, because if Nike has given a wood grain look to Oklahoma, it's only a matter of time before some Nike school in the SEC gets the same treatment/template. Perhaps Vanderbilt can go with a wood grain look in honor of former coach Woody Widenhofer.
Virginia Tech has used a stone wall theme on its helmet. Oregon has used a feather-patterned helmet. Perhaps Kentucky could take on some sort of horse hide leather look. LSU could go full tiger stripe. Florida could use a watery, ocean wave pattern. And once Tennessee switches from Adidas to Nike, perhaps they could use a rocky, mountainous pattern.
It's all nonsense, of course. Turn on a random game some Saturday this fall and you'll have to check the on-screen graphics to figure out just who the hell is playing. Long gone are the days when teams wore school colors and prided themselves on uniform consistency. Now the tastes of 17- and 18-year-old kids dictate what million-dollar programs wear on college football Saturdays.
'Cause regardless of how Nike and Oklahoma spin it, a wood grain pattern on a plastic football helmet is really kinda silly.