Ranking the 25 Best College Football Helmet Designs
College football is well known for its history and pageantry, but nothing holds more nostalgic value than the design of the uniforms.
From the hoards of matching fans in the stands to the unmistakable color schemes around campus, the college game is loved for its unchanging familiarity and timeless traditions.
But which team's attire is the best? Which school has the most swag when it takes the field on Saturdays?
Ranking the top 25 college football uniforms is a difficult task, as its subjectivity is matched only by the BCS selection process... but here goes.
Read on for my rankings of the best helmet designs in NCAA football.
25. Colorado Buffaloes
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The branding of Colorado football isn't too hot right now, but the Buffaloes do have one of the coolest logos and helmet designs in the game.
The interlocking CU superimposed on the charging buffalo is awesome in and of itself, but when it's set on gold with a black facemask, it's downright menacing.
Now, if only the Buffs could channel their inner Ralphie and take charge on the field...
24. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
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With their only losses coming against Texas A&M and an upstart Utah State, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have put together an impressive 2012 campaign.
But what's even more impressive is the Bulldogs' all-American uniform design, capped off with their iconic red, white and blue lids.
The outline of Louisiana coupled with the Tech T is making a name for itself in a state otherwise dominated by purple and gold tigers.
That's quite a feat for a WAC team.
23. Hawaii Warriors
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The University of Hawaii-Manoa doesn't have a very prestigious football history, but the design of the Warriors' helmet is classic.
As the only state that begins with the letter "H," the Hawaii logo can't be mistaken for anything else.
Now if only the Warriors could say aloha to some wins...
22. Southern Methodist Mustangs
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Southern Methodist University's football program has the infamous distinction of death penalty survivor, but it also boasts a pretty cool helmet design.
The galloping mustang is about as American as it gets, especially when you toss in the red, white and blue racing stripe down the middle.
The Mustangs have a long way to go in becoming a football powerhouse in Texas again, but at least they know they have the snazziest helmets in the Lone Star State.
21. Wyoming Cowboys
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The University of Wyoming football team isn't the most famous group of gridiron Cowboys out there, but Wyo does have one of the best color schemes and logo designs in the country.
The brown bucking bronco, complete with hat-waving horseman, is outlined in yellow, giving the Cowboys one of the most well-known color combos in the college game.
The white helmet and brown facemask really make the logo pop, giving the folks in Laramie something to truly be proud of.
20. Arizona State Sun Devils
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When the Arizona State athletics department made the switch to Nike last season, the Devils' football uniforms got a major overhaul.
And while the old Sparky helmet design was awesome, the new, fiery pitchfork is even hotter.
With a yellow, black, maroon and white version, the Sun Devils rock some of the sweetest hats in college football.
19. Tennessee Volunteers
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The University of Tennessee has the most iconic color scheme in all of college sports, as the white and orange can't be mistaken for anything but good old Rocky Top.
The bright orange T and racing stripe jump off the white helmet, matching the Vols' uniforms and end zone colors perfectly.
The history of the Tennessee uniform is unmatched, dating back to the leather-head days in the early 20th century.
18. West Virginia Mountaineers
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The West Virginia logo is extremely simplistic, but somehow finds a way to make the letters "WV" look awesome.
The gray version of the Mountaineers' lid, which has been used in home games in 2012, is a nice change of pace compared to the traditional blue.
And while West Virginia is currently riding a five-game losing streak, their helmets will always be winners.
17. Washington Huskies
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The Washington Huskies' football helmet design is pretty sweet on its own, but when you replace the purple with an American flag, that's just plain classy.
The white and purple stripe down the middle, along with the all purple facemask, makes the Huskies' helmet unmistakable.
UW is a program on the rise, so expect to see the Dawgs' purple and gold a lot more in the coming seasons.
16. Vanderbilt Commodores
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Vanderbilt, as far as I know, boasts the only helmet with a star on it.
That alone is reason to put the Commodores on this list, but they also have a pretty legit color combination.
This weekend, Vandy is set to battle Wake Forest, another school that has black and gold as their primary colors.
And unless the Demon Deacons suddenly find an offense, you can count on the 'Dores coming out on top in this cross-sectional color rivalry.
15. UCLA Bruins
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The UCLA football helmets are defined by the script logo and gold base, but the Bruins' most recent alternate was a nice shake up.
UCLA sported its new "L.A. Night" uniforms, which featured a dark blue helmet with gold script and matching facemask.
And given the Bruins stomped on the Arizona Wildcats, 66-10, while wearing their new home unis, it's a safe bet the L.A. Night will make a comeback next season.
14. Clemson Tigers
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Clemson and South Carolina are set to do battle this weekend, determining the best college football team in the Palmetto State.
But as far as coolest helmet design in SC, the Tigers have that distinction locked up already.
The Tigers' white paw print, set against the orange helmet, jumps out so much even the fans in the nose bleeds can see it.
Plus, when you toss in the purple and white accents, Clemson's helmet becomes one of the most fashionable in the NCAA.
13. Air Force Falcons
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The United States Air Force Academy is awesome for many reasons, the most obvious of which is the Falcons' service to the greatest country in the world.
But another (perhaps less important reason) is because of their sick football helmets.
The lighting bolt is most definitely epic. Plus, the silver and blue color scheme is one that almost any fan can appreciate.
Not to mention, look at the guy in this photo... he definitely has expertise with a few types of guns.
12. Ohio State Buckeyes
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The Ohio State football helmet is pretty simplistic, but the tradition of the Buckeye Leaves dates back to 1968.
This tradition, which rewards players for impact plays and on-field excellence, originated at THE Ohio State University and has only since been imitated by programs around the nation.
When the Bucks take the field this weekend against the hated Michigan Wolverines, the players won't be playing for helmet stickers, but you can bet they'll get some if they finish with a perfect 12-0 record.
11. Louisiana State Tigers
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The LSU football helmet is one of the few in the nation that has the university's letters and mascot on it.
Couple that with the tradition of the program and the awesome purple and gold colors, and you get one of the most memorable helmet designs in the game.
The only knock on the LSU helmet is that strangely obese looking tiger, which seems to have more chins than my high school guidance counselor.
10. Alabama Crimson Tide
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Aside from Penn State, Alabama has the plainest helmet design in college football, but that doesn't mean it isn't awesome.
The Tide's classic white numbers set on the crimson helmet will never be reproduced, despite some schools efforts to do so.
And in a season when 'Bama has a chance to become back-to-back BCS champions, you can bet the Crimson Tide's brand stock is shooting through the roof.
9. Colorado State Rams
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Some might say Colorado State stole this helmet design from their NFL namesakes, but that doesn't detract from the Rams' rad caps.
Unfortunately, the CSU football team isn't so cool, as the Rams have stumbled to a 3-8 record in the not-so-scary Mountain West Conference.
But nonetheless, the green and gold lids, complete with curling ram horns, are super spiffy.
8. Maryland Terrapins
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The University of Maryland took a lot of heat for the recent changes to its football uniforms, but I think the Terrapins' new look is fresh.
Not only does Maryland's football helmet scream state pride, it also has the benefit of being two designs in one.
On the left you have the red and white cross. On the right, the yellow and black checkered pattern.
The Terps' new helmets pay homage to the state flag, so despite the clash of colors, that's some sophisticated funk.
7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Most teams can't pull of the chrome domes, but the new Rutgers helmets are spot on.
The American "R" set on the mirrored base, topped off by the bright red facemask, all combine to make one of the chicest helmets in college football.
Couple the Scarlet Knights' sweet new look with their resurgent 9-1 record and No. 18 ranking, and clearly the Rutgers brand is on the rise.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels
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The North Carolina logo has earned it's place from the Tar Heels' success on the hardwood, but the UNC football team has taken a new approach to branding the University.
Just like Rutgers, the Heels' new helmet has a mirrored base, which they also manage to rock to perfection.
But what sets UNC's new lids apart from the rest is the bright blue footprint on the side.
While I would normally object to having someone stomp on the side of my helmet, the logo pays tribute to the history of Tobacco Road.
5. Boise State Broncos
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The Boise State football team is famous for their blue turf at Bronco Stadium, but the Broncos' new helmet designs are garnering attention too.
The traditional blue and orange helmets are okay, but the revamped black and gray version is downright scary.
The all-black bronco with burning orange eyes will make any opposing team regret stepping on the gridiron.
And while Boise State isn't the same BCS-buster without QB Kellen Moore, the Broncos will definitely turn some heads with their latest uniform alternates.
4. Florida State Seminoles
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Florida State University has a rich football tradition, matched only by the history of the Noles' iconic spear and feather logo.
The Garnet and Gold helmet, which now boasts Tomahawk stickers for on-field achievement, is undoubtedly better than the in-state rival Gators' uninspired design.
The Seminoles, sitting at 10-1 with a date against UF set for this weekend, will be riled up to bust out of the tunnel at Doak Campbell Stadium.
And you can bet the 82,000-plus fans doing the chop will be ready for FSU to spear the competition.
3. Michigan Wolverines
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As the winningest program in college football history, the University of Michigan has high expectations every year.
And while the program has underachieved recently, the awesomeness of the Wolverines' legendary helmet design has never wavered.
The Michigan football helmet is probably the most unique in all of college football, though I'm not entirely sure what it has to do with their school or mascot.
But nonetheless, the tradition of the Maize and Blue caps will never be forgotten in the Big House.
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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The Golden Domers have some of the most iconic helmets in college football, but these new age iterations are pretty sweet too.
Stealing a page out of Maryland's book, the Irish introduced these half-gold, half-leprechaun helmets, which they have used at some homes games this season.
It was a surprising break from the norm for a school like Notre Dame, which prides itself on its timeless traditions.
But in my opinion, it was a needed change that will help on the recruiting trail.
Not that an 11-0, No. 1 in the country Irish team needs much help though...
1. Oregon Ducks
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This is a no-brainer for the top of this list, as the Ducks have made a brand name out of their ever-changing uniform styles.
From the all-chrome version Oregon wore in the Rose Bowl Game to the bright yellow ones they unveiled this season, the Ducks always seem to be ahead of the flock when it comes to trendy helmet designs.
Add in the Duck feathers that have become a staple on all of Oregon's helmets and you get the most impressive, amazing-to-behold lids in all of collegiate sports.