OT: The Top 10 College Football Helmets

Submitted by DoctorDave on May 19th, 2010 at 12:53 PM

After reading Coach Schiano's MGoWords diary entry, it occurred to me that we need an off-season weigh in on the best college helmets. With no further ado, I present:

TIE 10. Washington State. One of the (very!) few logos that morphs the school’s name and mascot into a logo and doesn’t strain credulity. I like the WSU Cougar – and it’s the only scarlet and gray combo worthy of a top-10 ranking.

TIE 10. Kansas State. Kentucky, Northwestern, Weber State, Arizona, and Villanova all have Wildcat mascots. None of their helmets match up with the silver helmet and the purple Power Cat.


8. Florida State. Solid gold with a garnet and white spear and tomahawk feather. Not very PC. But definitely cool. 


7. Virginia. Love the V-sabres logo, with the classic V sitting atop the two crossed sabers. Neat, sharp and very cavalier. 


6. Georgia. Which came first: the Georgia “G” or the Green Bay “G”? It matters not to me, for the Georgia “G” is superior -- primarily because of its colors. The red helmet with the black Oval G bordered in white, even looks better when the dog bone decals are added. Love the sight of these helmets when the crowd joins the Redcoat band in "Glory Glory" and Uga takes the field.

5. Michigan State. I almost hate myself for admitting this, but I love little brother's helmet. And they did the world a favor when they abandoned the Block “S”. The Spartan is classic and would inspire an appropriate amount of fear and terror if only the heads under the lids weren't filled with mush.

4. Miami. The mascot mystifies but the helmet – with with the orange and green U – is memorable, distinctive, and classy. 


3. Notre Dame. Love the solid gold helmets -- no logo, no letters, no names. Polished and elegant; no frills, all business.


2. Texas. Solid white with the burnt orange longhorn logo branded into the helmet. The silhouette even shouts, “Hook ‘em Horns!”


1. Michigan. Not only THE classic winged helmet, but it tops the list in every category: tradition, uniqueness, and style. I’m not even sure how one would go about improving this helmet.


Your thoughts?

Extra credit: If you had to pick the best helmet in each conference, which would you choose?


Robbie Moore

May 19th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

That is forward looking and evokes the excitement of college football? Well, how can you do better than Nebraska?  I mean, what is more exciting and memorable than a plain old Helvetica block N?   White on red.  Or is it red on white?  I can see Turner Gill running around right now!


May 19th, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

Bama has one of the best helmets in the country.  I also like Southern Cal's.  Obviously, no design comes close to the "wings".  But can someone tell me why everyone loves Texas' helmet.  Everytime I see helmet rankings, the Longhorns are high on the list.  IMO, its plain and boring.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:14 PM ^

Solid list.  I'd take off Georgia and Miami and replace them with Iowa and SMU and shuffle things up a bit, and give honorable mention to Wyoming and ULM, but still solid.

By the way, there's a good reason for the ibis mascot: it's supposedly the last animal to leave before a hurricane hits and the first to return.


May 19th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

I use to have one of those helmets.  My mom worked for EMU's athletic department during the mid 70's and when they switched over to the huron logo helmet, she brought one of the old ones home.  I always thought is was a packers helmet... wish we still had it, but after my brothers and I used and abused it, it probably got put in a garage sale/trash.

M Fanfare

May 19th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

I assume since the Seminole tribe gives FSU to use their name and the university and the tribe have a lot of cooperation then they have signed off on the football helmet, so I guess it is PC? I dunno. I've always thought it's a cool helmet.

I also like the LSU, UCLA and (gag) USC helmets. They're all fairly simple and and give you a small sense of the tradition behind each program.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:28 PM ^

No helmut looks better when it has blood splattered all over it.  Will echo the sentiments of others and throw in a vote for Bama also.  Run Forrest!


May 19th, 2010 at 1:32 PM ^

Clemson (pronounced, CLEMP - son) ... the bright orange, big thick stripes down the middle, and that classy paw like a big animal just smacked the helmet.  I've always thought that is one of the best colors / logo combinations.

And, you know it is a rivalry, so ... you can't leave OSU off the list, that sparkling silver with the red/black stripes is unique, special, and attractive. ... no, wait, I didn't just say that.

Is anyone else like me -- everytime I see the Alabama helmet, I think, "Forrest Gump."


May 19th, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

Since I see what you're doing here...

4. Grove City (Grove City, PA) plays in DIII President's Athletic Conference.  They have red "wings" on their white helmet.

5. Gustavus Adolphus (St. Peter, MN) in the DIII Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

6. and I think my brother once mentioned the San Bernardino Valley which is a junior college.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^


* Decent list.  I most like 1, 2, 6, and 7.
* In the Big Ten, I also like Iowa's helmets (Hawkeye logo and all).
* Non-BCS wildcards: UTEP (with the pickaxe), Toledo (Rocket!)
* The "no design" look is generally lost on me (sorry).

Hemlock Philosopher

May 19th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

OSU's helmets are shiny... ohhh. shiny.  I hate them.  Helmets I do like though:

1. Michigan (obvs.)

2. Texas

3. Penn State

4. USC

5. Virginia

6. Georgia

7. Da U

8. Bama

9. Iowa

10. SMU


May 19th, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

Good list.  Personally I'd probably demote WSU, Georgia, and Texas, though Texas might stay in my top 10.

Here are a few other helmets I like:

Clemson.  Tiger paw print is simple and surprisingly distinctive for such a generic mascot.

Iowa.  I like the hawkeye logo, and I also like black and yellow as a color scheme.

Cal.  Good colors, and the triangle shape in place of the usual stripe up the middle is a nice variation.

USF.  Not sure why, but I dig their bull logo.

EDIT: Conference by conference, I'd go as follows:

ACC: Clemson.  

Big East: USF I guess, nothing really impressive here.

Big 10: UM obviously.

Big 12: Kansas State or Texas.

Pac 10: Cal.

SEC: Also not too impressed by any of these, but maybe Auburn or LSU.  Not a fan of the Alabama helmets.

tn wolverine

May 19th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

I'd take away ND and Sparty and substitute, Colorado same as ND but with a cool Buffalo logo, and West Virginia, some of their fans may be jerks, but I love the blue helmet with the gold WV. 


May 19th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

My Top 10:

1.) Michigan

2.) Auburn 


3.) Texas A&M


4.)  Georgia

5.) Penn State

6.)  Clemson

7.) Florida State

8.) Notre Dame

9.) Texas

10.)  Washington


May 19th, 2010 at 2:56 PM ^

In order to help you solve the mystery, the Hurricanes' mascot is Sebastian the ibis.  An ibis is known as the last sign of wildlife prior to a hurricane and the first to reemerge after the storm.  So, it actually makes a lot of sense and is much more clever than the simple caricatures most teams use.


May 19th, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

My top 10:

1. Michigan

2. Texas


4. Virginia

5. Arizona State

6. Colorado

7. Air Force

8. North Carolina

9. LSU

10. Florida State


May 19th, 2010 at 4:14 PM ^

....selecting ND is that you have to also select Navy and maybe Army and Boston College.  VMI, Bryant College, Lehigh, Wofford, and Alcorn State are FCS schools that have similar helmets.  If ND is classic, then they're classically unoriginal.