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The Oklahoma State Throwback Project (Updated 12/26)

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Hey guys, I've been a long time lurker here but I've never really gotten around to posting for myself until now. In honor of Oklahoma State's 125th anniversary, I recently ran a project where, week by week, I would recreate a football uniform from the school's past using the modern Mach Speed template and do a (sometimes brief, sometimes not) writeup on the period that uniform was from.

After I'd finished the series, a friend of mine suggested that I share the project here as well since you all might enjoy it, and since then I've been contemplating the best way to go about that. I didn't want to just dump the whole thing in a single post here as it'd definitely come out as a mess, but it also didn't make sense to hold them week in and week out when you can just view the entire finished series elsewhere, so I think the best middle ground I found was to just post them one by one in this thread every couple of days with the original writeups included.

So, with that, here's my original first entry:

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My first pick is one that I don't see brought up often for any reason other than the helmet: the 1967-1968 home set, featuring the Bronc Rider in all its glory.

OKStateThrowbacks_67.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

The '67 and '68 squads weren't particularly notable in terms of performance, chalking up 4-5-1 and 3-7 seasons along with an upset of #3 ranked Colorado, but this set is significant for featuring a number of firsts for Oklahoma State. Although the Bronc Rider was likely in use at the university as early as 1942 and was used by various other sports and organizations on campus, these two seasons mark the only time that the logo has ever appeared anywhere on an OSU football uniform (the sole exception being a fauxback helmet in 2014).

The Bronc Rider was also the first logo or brand to ever be used on an Oklahoma State helmet, with past years (and even the first games of the '67 season) simply featuring helmet numbers and/or striping. Finally, this uniform marks the first time that Oklahoma State wore an orange helmet since their days as OA&M; they would promptly return to white beginning in the 1969 season, dropping the Bronc Rider for a diagonal OSU design.

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If you want to spoil yourself on the full series, you can either view it here on OrangePower.com or find the series on my Twitter account. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to posting the next entry soon!

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This is a great series. I saw this on OP and meant to suggest that you bring this over here. I'm glad you found your way here anyway. I think a lot of people will appreciate the work you put into it.

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That template looks so nice and professional! The jersey looks so clean! Like it that you didn't outline the jersey numbers. Great job

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The jersey is great and clean. Nice! Also, that undershirt really complements the jersey well. Nice work.

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Wow! That looks sharp! (BOOMER SOONER!)

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Hey everyone, here's part two of the series. This uniform is easily the first that comes to mind when I think of Oklahoma State's history and the potential for throwbacks, so hopefully it should be a bit more familiar for many of you.

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OKStateThrowbacks_88.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

Honestly, I don't think there's a whole lot that needs to be said to explain this period of OSU football. Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Hart Lee Dykes, Mike Gundy... a countless number of Cowboy greats donned this particular uniform over the years, and I'd argue that it's easily the most recognizable set of Oklahoma State's pre-Nike history.

The look itself is one that gradually came into being throughout the 80's, piece by piece. The more simple striping pattern was first brought in with the 1982 season in an inverted color scheme and slightly different format, but with the return from burnt orange to a brighter orange in 1984 the colors were swapped and the trim was separated from the central stripe. 1984 was also the introductory season of the iconic white helmet with orange brand, but it wasn't until 1987 when the "Cowboys" wordmark was finally replaced with "Oklahoma State" that the look was completed.

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Thanks for reading, and part three should be coming up soon!

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Here's part 3 of the series, and the second oldest throwback of the bunch. This was definitely one of my favorites overall, both to research and in how the final product turned out.

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This week's design is actually a tad different stylistically from the previous two, most notably because of the age of the uniforms it's based on. It's a bit less like your typical college throwback design, and something more in line with the NFL's throwbacks over the past few years.

OKStateThrowbacks_39.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

Now, I'd consider 1939 to be a good midpoint to Oklahoma A&M's early history, falling right between two different eras of Cowboy football. The team saw some decent success just a couple years into its membership in the Missouri Valley Conference, posting consecutive winning records from 1929 through 1933, but starting in 1934 the Cowboys hit a bit of a rough patch with a dip as far as 1936's 1-9 season. It wasn't until 1939 that the Cowboys would find themselves in the green again, kicking off a series of six of seven winning seasons that would culminate in two MVC championships and two bowl wins in the 1945 Cotton Bowl and 1946 Sugar Bowl.

As for the uniform itself, I decided to take it the more traditional route, going with a semi-matte black finish with leather patterning on the helmet to resemble the leather helmets of the time, and going with khaki pants to keep the set in the spirit of the era it came from (speaking of, huge thanks to OP.com's casdas for helping me determine which pant color was likely used in the original set). Even though this particular uniform was only used for one year, it seems to be one of the more iconic of A&M's history and also marks the definitive switch from what I can best describe as tiger or bee-patterned striping to more solid colors and simpler shapes.

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Hope you all enjoyed, we'll be jumping into the 50's for the next entry.

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I know I am TCU fan, but as a Big 12 supporter, I actually liked 1939 throwback uniform! It seriously looks very sharp and bold

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Hey guys, time for part 4 of the project. This one's another from OSU's earlier history, and one with a bit more specific of a story tied to it.

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OKStateThrowbacks_52.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

Coming out of the success of the mid-1940's and the Bob Fenimore era, it wasn't until the 1950 season that Oklahoma A&M finally saw a major overhaul in their uniform design. Gone was the tri-stripe arm pattern of the previous decade, replaced instead with a unique striping pattern that ran from arm to arm across the player's shoulders. When paired with the orange helmet of the late 40's and orange pants, this set utilized A&M's distinct orange and black color scheme much more than previous sets in the Fenimore era had.

Interesting to note is some of the inaccuracies in the image of the Topps football card of quarterback Bob Steele shown on the right. For one, the style of the "1" incorrectly matches that of the actual black uniform tops (and would appear to instead be the style used on the white road version of the uniform), and the black center stripe on the helmet also appears to be misprinted. Even with the inaccuracies, though, I figured the card would be interesting to include for a color depiction as well as some variety.

Sadly, from a historical standpoint, this period of Aggie football wasn't OA&M's brightest; for those of you who don't know of the Johnny Bright incident in 1951, I'd definitely suggest looking it up as it's a fairly significant event in college football history and one that we should be mindful of. The influences that it had on developing safety standards and supporting racial integration in college football are ones that have helped make the game what it is today.

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That's it for this entry, hope you all are looking forward to part 5!

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For part 5 of the series, I ended up doing a throwback for a uniform that I had never originally planned on including in the project. Earlier this year, the Cowboy family lost a longtime staff member with the passing of Jeff "Pitt" Naple, so for that week I decided to make a throwback honoring his legacy here at Oklahoma State. The uniform I settled on was that of 1981, Jeff's very first year at the university.

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OKStateThrowbacks_81.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

In regards to the 1981 season, this year landed smack dab in the middle of the Jimmy Johnson era and saw a 7-4 regular season record. It also marked the first return to a bowl game since the 1976 Tangerine Bowl, and Jimmy Johnson's first time bowling with the Cowboys. Although OSU would eventually fall to Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl, the season was still a marked improvement over 1980's 3-7-1 season and was the first in a number of winning seasons throughout the decade.

As for the uniform itself, 1981 was a bit of a particular case. The burnt orange of the 70's was still going strong in this set, as were the large and distinct stripes of the past few seasons. This particular striping pattern would be subsequently replaced in the 1982 season, swapping out the large white stripes with a single black stripe bordered in white, but other elements of the uniform remained; the addition of the "Cowboys" across the chest was new to this season, and would last all the way up until 1987. Overall, the best way I could describe the uniforms of this year would be transitional, as they share elements of both the uniforms of the late 70's and the early/mid 80's.

Also important to note is that the Cowboys also wore a black alternate in this season, with nearly the same design but some various color swaps and with element placement being just slightly adjusted for the different uniform cut (again, thanks to casdas for some of the spectacular photographs from the season).

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Thanks to everyone for reading, and thanks once again to Jeff Naple for the years of service he gave to Oklahoma State athletics.

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Hey everyone, here's part 6 of the project. I loved this entry in particular because it features the two things that I hear OSU uniform traditionalists complain about the most in our modern set: grey and tri-color combos.

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OKStateThrowbacks_54.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

Here we are, the iconic tri-stripe helmet design of the 1954-1955 seasons (actually, the helmet was also used in 1953 during a transition year between this set and the design from two entries ago, but this is the set that's more often associated with this particular helmet). This uniform was one of the last great designs that would be worn by Oklahoma A&M before their renaming to Oklahoma State University in 1957, marking the end of an era for the Cowboys.

Funnily enough, even though I see this uniform posted around a lot as one of the more iconic of Oklahoma State's history, it seems to be a popular misconception that the grey components in this set were white, probably thanks to the lack of full-color photographs from the era and inconsistent references. However, the lighter of the helmet stripes were explicitly referred to as "silver" by spectators at the time, and you can see the contrast between the grey and white in both the bottom picture from the '54-'55 seasons and in later color photography of the uniform design that followed this one (that specific picture is from the 1958 Bluegrass Bowl, where the Cowboys defeated Florida State). Oklahoma State wore grey pants for a number of years after their initial introduction in 1954, but it wouldn't be until the 2011 Nike redesign that the grey would finally make a return to Oklahoma State's visual identity.

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this is amazing


uterily amazing


not to be a pest but is there anyway you could share the template you used if not that is completly fine

Thanks, it really means a lot. Truthfully, I'd like to get just a bit more use out of the template myself before I release it publicly, but hopefully I should get a chance to do that soon.

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It's always great to see threads like these that allow us to look into past uniform designs we didn't know existed. Great work!

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Here's part 3 of the series, and the second oldest throwback of the bunch. This was definitely one of my favorites overall, both to research and in how the final product turned out.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

This week's design is actually a tad different stylistically from the previous two, most notably because of the age of the uniforms it's based on. It's a bit less like your typical college throwback design, and something more in line with the NFL's throwbacks over the past few years.

OKStateThrowbacks_39.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

Now, I'd consider 1939 to be a good midpoint to Oklahoma A&M's early history, falling right between two different eras of Cowboy football. The team saw some decent success just a couple years into its membership in the Missouri Valley Conference, posting consecutive winning records from 1929 through 1933, but starting in 1934 the Cowboys hit a bit of a rough patch with a dip as far as 1936's 1-9 season. It wasn't until 1939 that the Cowboys would find themselves in the green again, kicking off a series of six of seven winning seasons that would culminate in two MVC championships and two bowl wins in the 1945 Cotton Bowl and 1946 Sugar Bowl.

As for the uniform itself, I decided to take it the more traditional route, going with a semi-matte black finish with leather patterning on the helmet to resemble the leather helmets of the time, and going with khaki pants to keep the set in the spirit of the era it came from (speaking of, huge thanks to OP.com's casdas for helping me determine which pant color was likely used in the original set). Even though this particular uniform was only used for one year, it seems to be one of the more iconic of A&M's history and also marks the definitive switch from what I can best describe as tiger or bee-patterned striping to more solid colors and simpler shapes.

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Hope you all enjoyed, we'll be jumping into the 50's for the next entry.

I'd love to see this and TCU's 1939 throwbacks in a matchup.

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Thanks, everyone. Up next is part 7, and the oldest throwbacks of the bunch. You can definitely get a bit more of the early Princeton vibe from this set, as this was back when OA&M was still trying to sell themselves as the "Princeton of the Plains" and hadn't yet dropped the Tigers moniker in favor of the Aggies and Cowboys.

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OKStateThrowbacks_09.png?dl=0

(click for fullsize)

Now, the first thing you might notice is that this week's throwback is based on a period - the 1910's - rather than any set of specific years. There's a few reasons behind that, but the main one is that frankly, consistency wasn't exactly that important in OA&M's football uniforms until around the late 10's/early 20's when things became a bit more standardized. The period saw a number of elements jump in and out of use periodically, between the orange pinstripes on the sleeves and socks and the nice, prominent interlaid O-A. In some years, the pinstripes would be on just about every player; in others, you'd only be able to find two or three players at most sporting them. However, when looking at the broader scope of the decade rather than individual years themselves, I felt there were a number of elements that existed as common trends throughout the period and tried to reflect them in this design as best I could.

The other reason I went with a period rather than specific years is that a couple of concessions had to be made for the sake of modern NCAA uniform rules. Primarily, player number on front was a required element, despite the fact that the Tigers wouldn't don uniform numbers on the front of their uniforms for at least another decade. Similarly, a helmet in a semi-matte faux leather was included for obvious reasons, although at the time helmets in football were fairly sparse and only began to show up in relatively decent frequency entering the 20's. Even with those components in mind, however, I'm happy with how the overall throwback turned out. It may lean slightly more into fauxback territory than the other sets have, but there was still more than enough material to remain true to from the originals.


To put these uniforms in a historical context, the 1910's marked the beginnings of a number of legacies in Oklahoma State history. 1914 was the first year that the Tigers ever played on Lewis Field, opening the season at home with a win over Phillips University. The decade also held OA&M's first-ever games against Arkansas (a win in 1912), Texas A&M (a win in 1913), Baylor (a 60-0 win at home in 1914), TCU (a win in 1915), Mizzou (a loss in 1915), and Texas (a loss in 1916). Finally, the 1910's brought OA&M its first football victory in the Bedlam series on November 29th, 1917 with a 9-0 win over Oklahoma.

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Still a few more entries left, hope you all enjoyed!

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Hey guys, hope you all are having a great Christmas Eve. Something worth pointing out with this entry is that Oklahoma State actually ended up wearing a fauxback version of this exact helmet design for our Homecoming game, just a week and a half after this entry (I can't take credit or anything as I was bound to get at least one helmet right, with such a long-running series :P). Still, it was awesome to see one of these old designs come to life for even one game.

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OKStateThrowbacks_69.png?dl=0

I'll admit, this week's design was a bit hard to find a major through-line for writing about, considering it's filled with so many small details and tidbits that, while interesting, don't really connect to one another directly. The easiest points to start with are where this jersey falls in Oklahoma State's uniform history; if you remember what I said in the very first entry about the Cowboys swapping out the Bronc Rider helmets for a white shell with a diagonal "OSU," this is the exact set I was referring to. The last season this uniform would be worn, 1972, is also the last year that Oklahoma State would wear their brighter orange before a good decade's worth of burnt orange designs.

Although the listing for this uniform is given as '69-'72, there were some minor alterations and alternates introduced here and there over the years, so it wouldn't be entirely accurate to say these uniforms encompassed that entire period. In 1970, for example, an alternate black top with white numbers trimmed in orange was introduced and used interchangeably with the orange top, along with an orange version of the pants design. In 1971, the TV numbers on the players' arms were replaced with another diagonal "OSU" on the orange version of the top, only to be changed back in 1972. '72 also saw the substitution of this uniform for a plain orange top with solid white numbers and plain white pants for the majority of the season, before the new burnt orange uniforms would subsequently replace them in 1973.

Now, if you look at the bottom photograph in the main image, you might be able to see a football with a 100 on the back of a player's helmet. This was an element unique to the 1969 season, and marks what was likely one of the most noteworthy decals to ever adorn a helmet in college football. This particular decal marked the 100th anniversary of college football as we recognize it today, dating all the way back to Princeton vs. Rutgers on November 6th, 1869. What makes it unique has nothing to do with the design of the decal itself, but instead where it appeared during the 1969 season- namely, just about everywhere. Hell, even the paragon of unchanging uniforms, Alabama, wore it. At least to my knowledge, I can't think of a single decal to have ever been as widespread as this one was, excluding things like NCAA or conference stickers.

(Some of those images come from nationalchamps.net's Helmet Project- if you've never seen it before, check it out, there's some great stuff in there)

Sadly, this was the first week that Nike's Mach Speed template actually hindered my ability to recreate a design element. As we've seen in other cases already, the cooling mesh design on this template makes a true collar trim impossible to replicate (unless you plan on coloring the entire mesh portion). It's a real shame considering the collar trim is fairly unique to this set, a design element that Oklahoma State hasn't often utilized in their history. However, even with this limitation, I'm still happy with how this uniform transitioned over to a modern template and the elements all come together pretty well.

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Bit of a longer entry, but I hope it was at least worth the read. The next entry will be the last of the series, and a two-parter, so I hope you all enjoy!

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