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October 7, 2013
When Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops stepped up to the podium on Monday afternoon for his weekly press conference at the East Side Stadium Club inside Memorial Stadium, he did so with two noticeable props next to him.
On his right, the Golden Hat Trophy was on display. It was just one more sign that this week No. 12 Oklahoma will play Texas on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
SCOOPHD: Sooners with new look for Red River Rivlary
The hat shined, glimmered and seemed to fit in with the crimson backdrop behind it. That seems right, as the hat hasn't ventured south of Dallas in three years.
On Stoops' left, though, was the signature Oklahoma white uniform -- laced with gold. The jersey's number, No. 1, was outlined in gold, too.
The OU emblem below the jersey neck was gold. The Nike Swoosh was gold, and a commemorative patch denoting the 2013 edition of the Red River Rivalry was gold.
Stoops took a step back in his drab black pullover and gave his opinion of the specially made uniform.
"I like the accents they put on it," he said. "It looks good."
The Longhorns also will wear uniforms accented with gold to mark the occasion, meaning both programs see the need to show a little flash.
"Keeping up with the times," Stoops said. "Kids like to see it."
Senior center Gabe Ikard certainly did. After more than four years of wearing the same uniform combination for every OU game of his career, just a touch of gold was enough to elate him.
"It's been in every group text I've got with anyone on this team," Ikard said. "We're excited about it."
Senior corner back Aaron Colvin said the uniform has been one of the hottest topics among OU's players, too.
"We were just talking about it in the locker room before I came over," he said.
Whether or not the Sooners will perform better against Texas because of the new uniform, Colvin couldn't say. But he was sure of one thing.
"We'll feel a little better," he said. "We'll look a little prettier."
Perhaps recruits will take notice of how much prettier the Sooners will look in the trimmings of King Midas. If nothing else, it's important that Oklahoma show a willingness to adapt to the climate of college football fashion.
Bright colors. Wild designs. A flair for the charismatic. That's what most college football players want to see in the uniforms they wear today. Turns out, so do the college football players of tomorrow, a truism Ikard acknowledged.
"A little change can go a long way, especially when it comes to recruiting," Ikard said. "I think just showing a slight change will show people we're willing to adjust some things because, for some recruits, jerseys are a big thing. Having those options, they like that."
Knowing how his players and recruits feel about the issue, Stoops alluded to some more possible uniform changes in the future.
"We'll probably have some other stuff coming here and there," he said.
But some will ask at what cost is Oklahoma trying to keep up with the current clothing trend.
Those same folks might ask if anybody thought about Nov. 21, 2009. On that day Oklahoma traveled to Lubbock, Texas and wore alternate jerseys against the Red Raiders -- and was thrashed 41-13.
Perhaps, in a season when the Sooners are still undefeated, Stoops would be wise to stick with the routine, the overall scheme -- and uniforms -- that got OU this far. But Stoops wouldn't hear it.
"There's nothing superstitious about me," said Stoops nearing the end of his press conference.
Then he was reminded that he'd knocked on wood just 15 minutes earlier.