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Oklahoma State’s All Black Uniform Combo Brings Back Memories

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The Cowboys broke out the all black early this season, and it was predictably great.

NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The all black uniforms have been a crowd-pleaser around Stillwater for several years now. The game changed for OSU’s uniforms with the debut of the 2011-2015 uniform set, and it took about two seconds for Cowboy fans to start drooling over the idea of the all black combo. But the obsession with an all black uniform was there long before that.

I remember the first time I saw the Cowboys in (almost) all black. It was a Thursday night in November of 2009. A friend and I drove from Tulsa to Stillwater after work and walked into Boone Pickens Stadium as the Cowboys and the Colorado Buffaloes were warming up on the field. As we approached one of the concession stands along the concourse, I looked up at the small television on the wall showing a live feed of the field. And I saw the Cowboys decked out in black jerseys and black pants. I’m not going to lie, I freaked out a little bit. Okay, I freaked out a lot. The Cowboys were wearing white helmets, so it wasn’t quite all black, but it was more than enough at the time. We hadn’t even begun to dream of black helmets yet.

That game was memorable for so many reasons. The Cowboys came in ranked #12 in the nation, but star quarterback Zac Robinson had been injured in the previous game against Texas Tech. Through the first half, the Pokes were trailing a Colorado team that would finish the season 3-9. The offense looked lost without Robinson. And then it happened. The third-string quarterback came in for the second half and led the Pokes to a comeback victory that included one of the most memorable touchdown passes in recent Cowboy history. It was the first glimpse of #Weeden2Blackmon. And it happened in black jerseys and black pants.

Oklahoma State has come so far in the uniform game in just the last five years that its hard to really explain what it was like seeing those black uniforms that night, even though it really wasn’t all that long ago. Every time the Cowboys bring out the all black, it reminds me of that night. It was the first step toward what would eventually become a program-altering 2011 season. And it was the first step toward Oklahoma State becoming a trendsetter in the football uniform world.

Almost seven years later, the Cowboys were again in all black on Saturday, this time complete with a black lid. It was a great look in 2009 and it’s only gotten better since then. The equipment guys have been creative over the last couple of years, mixing up the helmet decals to give the all black look some fresh legs, and its definitely been effective. We all knew the all black was coming at some point this season, and I predicted it would be this week against the all white road look of Texas. Turns out the equipment guys had the same thought, and they put together an absolutely fantastic debut for the new all black look.

Texas v Oklahoma State Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Everything about this combo works. It is easily the most intimidating look the Cowboys have. Every aspect from helmet to cleats flows together really well. I love the use of chrome throughout the look - from the stripe, face mask, and decal on the helmet to the outlines on the jersey numbers to the Cowboys on the leg of the pants, its just enough to tie everything together. It doesn’t take the focus away from the black or even away from the somewhat limited amount of orange.

Speaking of orange, the lack of orange on the pants might leave some feeling like the orange numbers are somewhat disconnected from the rest of the look, but I actually think the entire look puts an emphasis on the orange numbers. Your eye is just drawn to those orange numbers that really jump off the black and that chrome outline is amazing. As we found out, the outline on the numbers is even more amazing under black lights.

I just came up with the perfect way for Boone to apologize for the comments he made last week - fund the project to find a way to play a football game under black lights. My biggest question when this video hit the Twittersphere was “Why are we just now seeing this?” Anyway, back to how the uniforms looked on the field under normal lighting.

That helmet was spectacular. Two weeks ago, when the Cowboys first broke out the new marshal badge helmet deal, I was a fan. But I had some pretty strong comments about the idea of this decal being on a black and chrome helmet. Okay, I didn’t actually die when I saw them, but my goodness they were magnificent. Just absolutely perfect. The chrome star works so much better against the black and the orange brand in the center pops up close. Be still my heart.

It might fly somewhat under the radar for some, but guys, the accessory game is on another level this season. This week, I noticed we had gloves with the marshal badge on them. Those do not suck. The chrome on the cleats adds so much and is easily noticeable from the stands. You can really add a lot to a look by how you choose to accent it with the socks, cleats, gloves, and other additions, and the guys running the show at OSU are on fire right now.

It’s always great to see the all black look. It has some nostalgia for me, but even apart from that, it manages to be simultaneously tough and sleek, intimidating and clean. Not easy to pull off. What excites me about seeing this look the first week of October is that we have three home games left and my mind cannot handle what we might see. Great work so far, guys. Keep it up.