College Football’s Top 25 Best Helmets
25. Air Force
College football teams can be defined by their choice of helmet. As a result, we rank the college game’s top 25 lids (FBS and permanent helmets only).
Air Force rarely finds itself in the AP Top 25 but the Falcons land on this list for their awesome, lightning-bolt helmets that are older and better than what the San Diego Chargers wear.
— Clayton (@AyeClay_Clay) April 18, 2014
The Bulldogs’ helmet is a perfect example of putting your own spin on something and making it better. The block “G” also is on the helmet of the historic Green Bay Packers. Yes, UGA just copied the decal. But Georgia’s red and black gives it a different feel.
The “Y” on the helmets represents one of BYU’s landmarks, “Y Mountain,” which has the large letter looming over the campus. More than anything, though, it’s a representation of BYU football past and present; that’s why the school went back to the future in 2005, scrapping their disastrous uniforms from 1999-2004 for a taste of the past.
Let’s be honest, there are certain helmets that fit certain schools. When you see that maniacal boar coming at you off Arkansas’ helmet, it just feels right for the Razorbacks. You think down South, old-time football.
21. Penn State
If you aren’t a college football fan, you simply don’t get it. The Penn State helmet is straightforward and clean. To anyone else, it’s the most boring thing you’ve ever seen. That’s why art is in the eye of the beholder.
This is the beauty of college football in “Good Old Rocky Top.” The classic creamsicle “T” isn’t as omnipresent as the “The U” in Miami but, for generations of Tennessee fans, it’s a source of pride.
This isn’t New York City or Los Angeles, it’s the nation’s heartland. The definition of Nebraska is its proud football program. And that’s how the red, simplistic “N” sits on this white background: prominent and proud.
18. East Carolina
It’s not as good as the Oakland Raiders’ helmet, but you can never go wrong with a skull-and-crossbones design. And something about the purple background works almost as well as Oakland’s silver lids.
17. Kansas State
One of the many great things head coach Bill Snyder has done for K-State’s football program is introduce the “PowerCat” logo after he was hired in 1989. Now over a quarter century later, it’s one of the few fashion choices from the 1980s that has withstood the test of time.
Like Kansas State, Iowa’s snazzy logo was introduced by a legendary coach - in this case, Hayden Fry. The “Tigerhawk” is a great logo for a peculiar nickname, and you can never go wrong with a black-and-gold color scheme.
14. West Virginia
West Virginia has done a good job of putting a twist on a simple helmet. Not to be confused with the “Flying V” of Mighty Ducks fame, this helmet has a “Flying WV” introduced by legendary head coach Don Nehlen, making each Mountaineer look like he’s motoring around the field.
The school did a good thing by switching up the helmets for the 2010 season. It went back to the white ones with a blue stripe on one side and a red stripe on the other like the “Desert Swarm” days.
Only certain college teams can pull off orange. But Clemson is literally the only team who can have the famous paw print, the one which is placed prominently on its helmets and is trademarked. Aesthetically, it’s beautiful looking - as if a tiger softly dipped its paw in white paint and then on the helmet.
Colorado’s helmet is a dual threat: A good logo with a classic color scheme. The black silhouette of a buffalo is ominous and intimidating and the school’s letters are placed perfectly. Now if only the Buffaloes’ football team itself was nearly as nice to look at…
The collision of the purple and gold is very royal and, in addition to the colors, the school’s abbreviation and fierce tiger logo are placed prominently on the helmet, giving this lid all-around appeal.
9. Florida State
The Tomahawk Chop is annoying, but the spear’s presence on Florida State’s helmets is just right. The gold helmet with garnet and white spear was introduced in Bobby Bowden’s first year as coach in 1976. Bowden has retired, but the helmet - with mini tomahawks adorning it - looks like it will last forever.
UAB’s football program is now deceased but not before wearing one of the greatest helmets ever for its final season in 2014. The fire-breathing dragon is unlike anything college football has ever seen, and the scales on the bottom are just the cherry on top of this beauty.
— Name (@PicSports0) January 14, 2015
7. Ohio State
OSU has unique lids with Buckeye tree leaf stickers on them, given to players for big plays and consistency on the field. They’ve got a cool look to them, too, thanks to an infusion of glitter. While there’s no Ohio State logo on them, a helmet covered in Buckeye leafs serves as a great de facto logo.
6. Miami (FL)
The Hurricanes were transcendent in 1973 by creating the “U” logo that people now use to refer to the school and form its hand signal. But forget its place in our vernacular, “The U” - in its split orange and green - looks great, too.
5. Notre Dame
The campus has the legendary “Golden Dome” building, so it’s appropriate that its beloved football team runs around in exquisite gold helmets. Student managers make sure the helmets don’t look any less than perfect, putting a fresh coat of paint on them each week with real gold flakes.
Of course they do.
Alabama is one of the most storied programs in college football and its helmet is part of that lore. Yeah, we know college football is about representing your university; but in Tuscaloosa, it’s also about respecting the number on the side of your helmet, too.
The helmet, with a pure white background, encapsulates everything that is Texas football - the ranch-like burnt orange color, the horns and the huge players’ numbers on the back. So simple yet so great.
What other colors but cardinal and gold could befit the Men of Troy’s helmets? It’s old-school, classic Tinseltown. Other than being the definition of LaLa Land, its design is a great depiction of a stoic Trojan warrior. It all just fits so well together.
The “winged helmet” is so incredibly original and steeped into college football history that it’s one of the first things that comes to mind when people think of college football, like the Heisman Trophy, fall Saturdays and tailgating.
Voted the best helmet in college football by the Associated Press in 2010, who are we to disagree?