Power Ranking the Big Ten Helmet Designs
It's possible I am a bit of a sadist.
On the cusp of having just nearly been slaughtered for my Top 25 Helmet Designs in College Football post, I thought I would dive back into the madness with another helmet design power ranking.
With the last post, I failed to realize just how serious some fans took their team's football helmets. What I deemed as a fun attempt at ranking helmet designs, some fans deemed as a declaration of war.
Miami fans took the post as a slap in the face, as The "U" was left off the list. When Michigan fans saw that their helmet was only ranked No. 8, they acted like their dog was kicked in the face for no reason.
My Arizona co-worker crawled up into the fetal position in a corner and cried for an hour because I only had the Wildcat helmet at No. 19.
After all that drama, I have to be a sadist for doing this again, especially with the Big Ten helmet designs.
On the whole, the helmets throughout the Big Ten conference are on the conservative side, with the most elaborate of the bunch being Michigan State's Spartan logo.
But, there is a lot of history and tradition behind the Big Ten helmets, which makes this a treacherous road to navigate.
Nevertheless, this helmet design ranking needs to be done in the name of Bleacher Report, and I am the man for the job (and that might have just qualified for the worst transition sentence in a slideshow...ever).
11. Northwestern Wildcats
The Northwestern Wildcat football helmet is arguably one of the ugliest helmets in all of sports. The purple and white color scheme make their helmets resemble something Barney might vomit up after a week-long drug binge.
Their original helmet design actually made Northwestern look like a football team, as they started out white with purple numbers on the sides.
Then the late 1960s happened, and someone in the design department at the university started taking Timothy Leary a little too seriously. The next thing the team knows, their helmets are purple and their design department is off at Woodstock.
Several years and helmet changes later, the Wildcats settled on the purple design with white "N" logo on the sides. They have been wearing their current helmets since 1994.
10. Purdue Boilermakers
Drew Brees might take issue, but the Purdue Boilermakers football helmet isn't exactly the most visually appealing design out there. In fact, labeling it dull would be a compliment.
The Purdue helmet is an old gold color with black "P" on both sides. It also has two outer black stripes and one think inner white stripe down the middle.
Since the 1970s, Purdue has tried many different versions of the "P". They have been on their current helmet design since 1997.
9. Illinois FIghting Illini
It's really hard to confuse the Illinois helmet design with another team, because they opted to go with the bright orange design with Illinois in bold, crammed-together white lettering on both sides.
Oh, let's not forget that the word Illinois is underlined. It was that attention to detail that squeaked the Fighting Illini past Purdue in the power rankings.
Illinois has been on their current helmet design since 1995.
8. Indiana Hoosiers
For awhile, it seemed like Indiana couldn't make up their mind about their helmet design.
Red, then crimson, then black, then back to crimson. With white stripe, sans white stripe. Now, the Hooiser helmet is crimson, with a white stripe design down the middle, featuring a white inter-locking IU logo on the sides.
They have only been wearing their current helmets since 2007.
7. Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Minnesota Gophers have changed their helmets three times in the last six years, but it hasn't helped the football team perform any better.
Gopher fans are quick to argue that their helmets are one of the most distinguishable out there. The color scheme has changed several times, but the concept of has stayed the same with the Minnesota "M" on the side.
Their current maroon helmet with golden "M" design has been in place for two years.
6. Wisconsin Badgers
If it weren't for the vast helmet traditions in the Big Ten, Wisconsin's helmet would be rated a lot higher.
The huge red "W" on the side of a white helmet is undeniably one of the easiest to recognize in college football. Similar to Purdue with the "P", Wisconsin has tried many different versions of the "W" branded helmets since the 1970s.
They have been on their current design since 1991.
5. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State has played around with a few helmet designs over the last 20 years, but the most recent design is the best in a long while.
Their green helmets with white Spartan logo on the sides is a much better design than the stand alone S they used for awhile and helps the Michigan State brand stand out in a crowd.
The logo has quietly changed over the last few years, but the current Spartan helmet has been in place since 2007.
4. Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa's helmets are black with a gold stripe down the middle and feature a gold tigerhawk logo on the side, making it one of the most unique and identifiable brands in football.
The helmet is an old school design that might seem outdated to some, but it's full of history and tradition that Iowan's have grown to love.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have had their current helmet designs since 1979. In 2009, the Iowa helmets were adorned the decal ANF, an acronym for "America Needs Farmers." The decal was intended to draw attention to the economic plight experienced by many farmers in the Midwest.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions
There haven't been many changes to the Penn State helmet since Joe Paterno took over as head coach in 1966, but there isn't a need for change when the simple design and color scheme prove to be very effective.
For a brief period in the 1970s, Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions tried a new design by putting blue player numbers on the sides of the white helmets. That era was short lived, and Penn State has been on some version of the white helmets with a blue pinstripe down the middle ever since.
Adding to the helmet tradition, Penn State's equipment manager Brad "Spider" Caldwell exchanges a Nittany Lion helmet with all of Penn State's opponents.
2. Michigan Wolverines
After receiving near death threats from Wolverine fans for only putting Michigan at No. 8 in the Top 25 Helmet designs, I opted to re-evaluate things. Yes, I caved to the peer pressure. In doing so, I realized that maybe they had a fair point.
Michigan's football helmet is one of the most instantly recognizable brands in college sports. The famous "winged" design dates all the way back to 1938, and many fans credit the adoption of the new helmet as a changing in Michigan's football fortunes.
The current Michigan helmet design has been in place since 1976.
1. The Ohio State Buckeyes
Simple helmet designs go a long way. Ohio State demonstrates that better than any other team.
The Buckeye helmet design has been maintained since 1968, making it one of the longest-running designs in college football.
The helmet is grey with a scarlet pinstripe down the middle that's highlighted by small stripes of white and black. The helmets themselves are a simple brilliance, but the team takes them to the next level with the usage of the Buckeye Leaf stickers.
The more people see the grey Ohio State helmets adorned with Buckeye Leaf stickers in major bowl games, the more of a lasting impression they make.