Photos: Top 10 Ugliest FBS School Logos
Like many, we’ve lamented Florida State’s decision to change its iconic Seminoles logo. Then again, FSU fans should count themselves lucky. At least they had an awesome logo they could be proud of - something that fans of the schools on our list of the Top 10 Ugliest Football Bowl Subdivision Logos have probably never known the joy of.
Since “Blaze” the dragon was introduced as UAB’s mascot in 1996, the Blazers’ logo has tried to play up the fearsomeness of the mythical creature. Tried and failed, unfortunately; our first thought whenever we look at the logo is Puff the Magic Dragon. As opposed to, say, “Game of Thrones.”
9. Wake Forest
The “F” in Wake Forest’s run-of-the-mill letters logo might as well signify the grade that the school gets for creativity. For the life of us, we can’t figure out why the school doesn’t put the one-of-a-kind, snarling Demon Deacon more front and center.
If you were in our shoes or if you’re a Wake Forest fan, doesn’t the thought of a glaring Demon Deacon on the side of a football helmet seem much more appealing than the existing “WF”?
8. Western Kentucky
To be fair to the Hilltoppers, their 1999 decision to make a hand waving a towel as their athletic program’s primary logo is rooted in tradition. Former longtime men’s basketball coach E.A. Diddle had a red towel with him throughout his career in Bowling Green, and WKU fans have since taken to waving similar towels at sporting events.
At the same time, making that the primary logo is a questionable choice. Especially considering that when non-Hilltoppers fans think of Western Kentucky, they don’t think of the red towels. They think of lovably quirky mascot Big Red.
How Temple came to be known as the Owls is actually pretty cool. The university started out as a night school for young people of limited means, making an affiliation to the nocturnal hunting owl a natural one.
The school clearly tried going with a fearsome look to its logo, with bared talons and fierce yellow eyes. Yet we’re not really afraid of it. If anything, we’d try petting it if it was real.
6. Iowa State
Remember the “Cyclone Bird” that used to be a big part of Iowa State’s look from 1995-2007, most notably on the sides of the football helmets? It was definitely quirky, but it was unique to the Cyclones. Whenever and wherever you saw it, you thought “Iowa State.”
That was done away with as ISU’s primary logo starting in 2008 in favor of a boring red block “I” with “STATE” transposed in front of it. Now, if you’re a college sports neophyte, you’re left wondering which state that starts with “I” the logo represents.
5. Bowling Green
The Falcons’ old logo, used from 1980-2005, proved too subtle and out-of-date for modern day college athletics. Starting in 2006, Bowling Green updated the falcon’s head. Alas, they made the mistake of not stopping there.
The interlocking “BG” is much too cluttered, so much so that it’s hard to tell from a distance what letters are in the design. And while we have no problem with BGSU’s orange-and-brown color scheme, we do have a problem with the latter color being emphasized over the former.
4. Oregon State
Having long been lost in the shadow of in-state rival Oregon - particularly in an age when having the newest uniforms, logos and what-not has become as big a part of college athletics as wins and losses (a movement that the Ducks helped start) - Oregon State underwent its own Nike-fication last March, with a rebranding it called “reBeav.”
To say that OSU’s new beaver logo hasn’t been well-received in Corvallis would be an understatement. It’s less a beaver and more a “Beavershark.” The old logo inherently cast OSU as a plucky alternative to its sleeker, space-aged in-state rival. The new one makes the Beavers come across as helpless, desperate imitators.
If UTSA wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate college sports program - particularly in advance of its first season as a bowl-eligible, full FBS member, in 2014 - it’s got to do something about its Roadrunners logo.
At first glance, it looks like a cheap knockoff of the Baltimore Ravens’ logo - and that’s an entirely different type of bird. It’s frustrating that UTSA is missing out on a golden opportunity to design its logo off of something that everyone associates with its nickname: The perpetual tormentor of Wile E. Coyote (provided that Warner Bros. would give them licensing rights).
May 1 marks 61 years since the University of Akron student council made the regrettable (in our opinion) decision to adopt a kangaroo as its mascot. Why? “Kangaroos” was one of the nicknames considered three years earlier before “Zips” - a shortening of the brand name product manufactured by the local BF Goodrich Company - won out.
Nothing quite suggests the intensity of college athletics like a kangaroo hopping along, does it? Although we suppose it’s not too bad considering a possible, more literal alternative: An actual zipper in the crotch.
1. Kent State
When done right, combining an animal with a weather phenomenon can look pretty cool. Case in point: The aforementioned (and dearly missed) “Cyclone Bird” at Iowa State.
Kent State’s attempt at this type of logo, however, badly misses the mark. Hoping to incorporate its Golden Flashes nickname (which has existed since 1926) and its golden eagle mascot (in effect since 1985), KSU gave us a lightning bolt bird starting with the 2000 season.
If it was either a lightning bolt or an eagle, the Golden Flashes would have a respectable logo on their hands. Instead, because they foolishly combined the two into a “Lightning Eagle,” they’ve given us the ugliest logo in the FBS.