The July following my graduation, I packed up everything I owned, popped "No Fences" into the stereo, and headed out west to Denver. As anyone is when moving to an area that is culturally different than where they came from, I was fairly ignorant of the local customs, references, showering habits, etc (are you loving this autobiography?). One of these local adjustments being that I had to contain my laughter at hearing terms such as "CU", "CSU", and "DU" when referring to the local universities.
"No one anywhere else knows what those initials mean!" I would yell all the time.
"Well where did you go to school?" some hippie would reply.
"Ohio State! Wow. Great football program. A friend of mine dates a girl who went there in nineteen..."
"Whoa, whoa, hey. Why don't you shut up for a minute. Oklahoma State. Not Ohio State."
"Oh. Ya, I guess that is an OSU also."
It only took a few years of this before I finally caught on to the fact that every area refers to their local schools by their initials, but nationally, with a few exceptions (USC and LSU spring to mind), they are known by the longer, more distinctive names. I became so used to telling people that I graduated from "Oklahoma State" instead of "OSU", that even today, having been back in Oklahoma for a few years now, I still always refer to my Alma Mater as Oklahoma State.
While the discrepancies in local vs national terminology seems to be a very common thing for every school, Oklahoma State is in the unfortunate position of there already being a very large, very well known school that is commonly referred to as "OSU" ... even at a national level (which is really kinda odd because they don't have a single trademarked athletic logo that says "OSU" on it). So, while I will concede that Oklahoma State will always be referred to as OSU by a lot of local folks, should the athletic department and university try to distance Oklahoma State from the rest of the OSU's out there by ceasing use of the 3 letters on official logos?
I say yes. I hate the Ohio State shadow-casting, and the Oregon State confusion is really bad when you consider that they have the same colors as us.
Options other than OSU could be the Kansas State approach of never putting KSU on anything (instead it is always K-State), we could do the same with O-State, or we could use the nickname of Ok-State (pronounced like Oak-State) in place of the OSU. I realize that either option means dropping all the official athletic logos, and replacing them with some sort of a wordless logo since the O-State logo isn't really sleek enough to put on a helmet or anything, but luckily for us, we have a wonderful wordless logo ready to go in all the copyrighted images of Pistol Pete that would look great on a helmet or jersey. Couldn't someone in the marketing department reach into the "Pete Renderings" bucket and randomly pull out 40 drawings of Pete that look way better than any OSU logo we have ever had?
And, doesn't right now seem like the perfect time to do this with the new Nike uni's coming in? I vote that we just blow the whole thing up; bring in the new unis AND new pistol pete official logos in 2011. Let's just pull our horse out of the Ohio/Oregon/Oklahoma race for who is the official "O"....we are trailing Ohio State by about 20 lengths in that race already anyway.
What do you think? Is there enough separation between us, Oregon, and especially Ohio to allow for the multiple uses of OSU, or should we look into a complete re-brand and forge a whole new path ahead as O or Ok-State with some kick-ass Pete logos on all the athletic garb?