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The 60 Best College Football Helmets

60 Best College Football Helmets

College football is something special. The pageantry, the spectacle, the bands, and the crowds. The uniforms, of course, are part of the show as well – and nothing is more visible to the naked eye than the football helmet.

So, if you’ve ever sat there watching and wondering what the best college football helmets are, wonder no more! We’ve assembled the 60 best college football helmets that you can get your hands on today.

Best College Football Helmets

#1 Bowling Green

The sharply-designed falcon features a cool design. Combining an interlocked “BG” using an edgy font gives this helmet an overall sharp look. The orange and brown color palette work well together and ultimately stands out on the field even if it does call to mind the Cleveland Browns.

#2 UCF

Blowing up the UCF logo to cover the entire side of the helmet was a bold move, and we’re not quite sure if it pays off. The color scheme is classic though, and the stripes are the perfect width.

#3 Clemson

That tiger print is so Clemson that if another team ever dared to re-create something similar, they would obviously be plagiarizing the Tigers traditional design. The purple and white stripes down the center juxtapose so well against the primary orange color.

#4 Coastal Carolina

Being new to the FBS, not many people are going to be familiar with Coastal Caroline’s steroid-jacked angry bird. The color palette is a little bit of a mixed bag, but the overall feel of the helmet is incredibly 90’s. But hey, at least the bird looks menacing enough that it’ll strike fear into the opposition… or not.

#5 Toledo

Toledo has had many different helmet designs and uniform configurations, most of which are based around a rocket. Some of the designs look great, still, some don’t. The one that stands out the most is this simple dark blue and golden yellow color combination that makes the players look like they’re travelling at rocket speed.

#6 Oregon

Oregon loves switching up their helmets and uniform combos, which has led to some less-than-stellar results. However, you have to give props to them for being so creative, and that neon green with the yellow “O” helmet has that classic feel that you love to see.

#7 Texas

With a burnt-orange longhorn silhouette and a pristine white color palette, Texas has one of the cleanest looking helmets out in the world of college football. Bonus points for actually having the logo on the helmet.

#8 South Carolina

Even though the “gamecock” is a little busy-looking, the black, red, and white versions of South Carolina’s helmet looks fantastic. The block “C” stands bold and the logo is unique, if nothing else. Meanwhile, the matte black finish on the helmets is absolutely sublime.

#9 Arizona State

The devilish pitchfork design might take a little getting used to, as it is a little cartoony, and not in a classic, sports kind of way. But we have to give points to Arizona State for its originality, while still maintaining a classic helmet design. The yellow stands out bold and prominent, ensuring no one confuses ASU for another school.

#10 Michigan State

The classic green and white helmet of the Michigan State Spartans would be the best helmet in most states, but Michigan State has to contend with the Wolverines. Michigan’s State is simple but effective, and the helmet on the logo looks cool and fits well.

#11 Boston College

Although Boston College’s helmet features a remarkably basic design, with just one red stripe down the middle, it’s the two-tone color palette that makes this helmet a beauty. The red and gold blend seamlessly fit together, and we have to give props to the designer for designing the stripe at just the right thickness.

11 boston college

#12 Western Michigan

Brown is not usually a great color for football teams, but something about this brown and golden helmet just seems to work. Maybe it’s the well-designed, mean-looking horse, or maybe it’s the rare combination of colors that seem to make this helmet sparkle.

Aug 31, 2018; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge (7) looks to the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Syracuse Orange at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

#13 Tennessee

Tennessee’s iconic orange “T” is enough on its own to make this list, but it’s also the pure white and pristine look of this helmet that boosts its image. In fact, we especially love the lack of outline around the “T” logo. It adds a simplicity that is well-appreciated.

13 Tennessee

#14 Florida Atlantic

This helmet from Florida Atlantic, featuring the state of Florida with the word Atlantic written in it, is particularly unique as you won’t find many schools featuring this kind of style. It takes a bit of getting used to, but we have to give points to the Owls for their white-red color combo with the minimalist design.

14 Florida

#15 North Carolina

This was probably the easiest helmet in all of college football to design. Everybody loves the Carolina Blue, and although we might have preferred to see a version of this helmet without the busy North Carolina logo, it works well enough for the Tar Heels.

15 nc

#16 Vanderbilt

The five-pointed star is a little too reminiscent of the Dallas Cowboys logo, but the combination of the sharp star and sharp “V” letter on the inside of the star makes for a clean-looking design. The colors work well together, making everything about this simple helmet look clean and sharp.

#16 Vanderbilt

#17 Air Force

These bright blue lightning bolts with a white backdrop just pop on the gridiron. We especially love the blue facemasks and blue stripe running down the middle. It makes the players wearing this helmet look faster, and despite its simplistic design, it still looks great.

#17 Air Force

#18 Boise State

If we didn’t know anything about Boise State, we might say that this helmet design, with its distinct but quiet blue color and blended bronco logo was subtle. Overall, the white, blue and orange all fit well together, and though the horse logo is a little played out, it works well enough in combination with everything else to get a pass.

#18 Boise State

#19 Colorado

This helmet would look so much better without the “CU” over the buffalo logo, as it makes it look like the buffalo’s underbelly is missing, and in general just looks weird. However, the buffalo itself does look cool and the little horn is an awesome detail. The black and gold work well together to create an extravagant look without trying too hard.

#19 Colorado

#20 Fresno State

Normally, we’d give a big thumbs down to any logo as cartoony as the Bulldogs logo, but something about it just works. The same goes for that big, green “V” on the back of the helmet, which makes no sense from a color palette perspective, considering everything else is red and white. This helmet shouldn’t work, but maybe that’s why it does.

#20 Fresno State

#21 UNC Charlotte

Though some might find this helmet boring, we love the lettering of the “49ers”, and the added pickaxe-wielding arm surrounding it is icing on the cake. It’s original, and originality means a lot, when it doesn’t suck.

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#21 UNC Charlotte

#22 California

The “Cal” in cursive just oozes class, and the simple two colors, three letters combination make this minimalist design cool, simple, and effective. The blue and yellow just pop. Everything about this helmet is easy on the eyes.

#22 California

#23 Louisiana

This Louisiana helmet definitely gets points for being different. I mean, how many teams have “Ragin’ Cajuns” written across the helm? The little touch of contracting raging just adds more fun, and the double white stripe adds some nice versatility and makes the helmets look aerodynamic.

#23 Louisiana

#24 UCF

Blowing up the UCF logo to cover the entire side of the helmet was a bold move, and we’re not quite sure if it pays off. The color scheme is classic though, and the stripes are the perfect width.

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24 ucf

#25 Iowa

Black is a risky color to make the primary of your helmet, but Iowa manages to pull it off, thanks to the great hawk design that is emboldened by its yellow color. The design of the hawk itself is menacing, simple, and effective, creating a clean, crisp look that works.

#25 Iowa

#26 Tulane

No other helmet has a wave on it, so we have to give Tulane props for this helmet. The “T” is getting swept up in a green wave, which seems to really fit the vibe of Tulane. Overall, it’s original, simple, and effective.  

26 Tulane

#27 Hawaii

Everything about the Hawaii helmet is unique. From the funky “H”, to the color palette which evokes the local flavor, to the two variations of green which seem to work, even though green-on-green never should.

#27 Hawaii

#28 Syracuse

These orange and blue helmets just stand out. Yes, the big block of “S” is not that creative, but it still looks nice.

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#28 Syracuse

#29 East Carolina

The skeleton pirate is corny but works in an endearing kind of way. This helmet is so bad that it’s good. The color palette is awesome, though, with the purple and goldenrod color combo just popping out on the football field. In particular, the yellow facemask is cool as a cucumber.

#29 East Carolina

#30 Kansas

The cartoon Kansas bird is just hilarious and amusing to look at, and the deep red primary mixed with the blue detail makes this colorful, cartoonish helmet stand out. It’s just a shame the football team doesn’t match the awesomeness of the helmet.

#30 Kansas

#31 Notre Dame

Basic, one-color designs are not really on this list, but Notre Dame’s golden dome is an exception. It just captures the spirit of campus and the gold on these helmets just seems brighter and more distinct than the gold on other helmets.

#31 Notre Dame

#32 Missouri

The big, yellow tiger is simply designed but works well for its efficacy. It contrasts well with the color palette on the rest of the helmet, and the numbers on the back with the “Mizzou” is a nice little touch.

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 27:  University of Missouri Tigers helmet rests on the turf during the Texas Bowl game between the Texas Longhorns and Missouri Tigers on December 27, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

#33 UAB

UAB has a surprisingly-well designed dragon on its helmet. I mean, you really can’t stop looking at it. It’s remarkably well made for something that so easily could have been a disaster. 

Be sure to stay out of disaster by making sure you have all these football protective gears on our list. 

33 UAB

#34 Florida

The Gators have managed to create quite the color palette, with the red, white and blue standing out as distinctly Florida. The white helmets with the Gators lettering looks sleek and classy, and the red and blue stripes on the helmet are so pretty to look at.

34 Florida

#35 Louisville

Louisville follows the trend of “angry, cartoon animal” logos, but we got to give props to the red detailing on the white helmet. It looks simple yet modern and hip.

#35 Louisville

#36 UTEP

The orange-and-blue combo does wonders for a team that often flies under the radar. The font of the UTEP lettering is cool in and of itself, but the “T” being a pickaxe is a great little detail that adds a lot of sharpness to this helmet.

#36 UTEP

#37 Wyoming

The Cowboys, unsurprisingly, have a cowboy bucking a bronco, which we appreciate for its subtle dig at other “mean horse” teams. The green and yellow color combo over the backdrop of a white helmet is vibrant, and the fact that Wyoming decided to use a silhouette instead of an actual picture is reminiscent of the NBA shield and oozes class.

#37 Wyoming

#38 SMU

The galloping horse outline is crazy cool, and though the color palette reminds us of the Buffalo Bills, the Bills have one of the coolest color palettes helmet in the NFL, so there’s worse to emulate. The blue striping around the red horse in particular looks great.

SMU

#39 Stanford

Syracuse already had the patent on “big block of S”, so Stanford switched things up and added a tree to their logo design. To be fair, the tree is well-drawn. The red facemask, the team’s primary color, is a nice touch.

#39 Stanford

#40 Colorado State

They’re known as the Rams, so it makes sense that they have ram horns on their helmets. The design is simple but bold, as the horn makes up most of the helmet, and the color pattern of green and gold is a nice change of pace.

#40 Colorado State

#41 Oregon State

The Halloween color scheme isn’t the only thing that’s cool about this helmet. The strips are sharp and edgy and make the players seem fast, and the beaver logo is amazingly well done, considering the animal. Most football teams want to look tough and hard, and here’s Oregon State with a beaver.

#41 Oregon State

#42 Arkansas

The Razorback red gleams brilliantly on gameday, but what we’re really here for is the angry pig. The logo is awesome and unique and looks sharp as the teeth on this peeved off hog. Arkansas makes this list because of the hog.

#42 Arkansas

#43 Pittsburgh

We’re suckers for cursive writing. The lettering on the Pitt helmet just looks classy and cool – old-school cool to be exact. The color scheme leaves something to be desired, but at least it’s unique. Unique is fun. 

#43 Pittsburgh

#44 LSU

This LSU helmet is bold and prominent, and the color scheme works so well here. Even though the tiger logo is a little busy, so is the Lakers logo, and most people find that charmingly quaint.

#44 LSU

#45 Ohio State

You will not find a sharper stripe on a helmet out there. The red, black, white, silver color combo is classic and looks oh-so sharp. That’s not to mention the iconic buckeye stickers, which look great when you have just enough games under your belt – but not too many!

#45 Ohio State

#46 Nevada Wolfpack

The matte finish on this helmet looks sleek and aesthetic, while the wolf design on the side is really well done.

 

#46 Nevada Wolfpack

#47 Miami (FL)

Miami could have a logo of Jesus riding a dinosaur and it would still be one of the sweetest helmets out there, so long as it had The U. The U is all we’re here for. Nothing more, nothing less. Even non-football fans recognize The U.

#47 Miami (FL)

#48 Tulsa

Tulsa might not have the best football team out there, but they do have one of the sweetest looking helmets. The cursive lettering has got that old-timey feel, and the blue and gold is just so sharp and clean. The stripes are a nice touch as well.

#48 Tulsa

#49 UCLA

The UCLA helmet looks even better when complementing the jerseys. On it’s on though, UCLA gets props for the cursive design and the “a” that swoops around and underlines the whole word. We’re not sure why the “cla” in “UCLA” is in lowercase, however.

#49 UCLA

#50 USC

The Trojans’ logo is a little bit busy, but still easily identifiable. The two-tone color palette complements itself very well, and overall the helmet just as that “traditional football helmet” kind of look.

#50 USC

#51 Ole Miss

The powder blue helmet with the gorgeous cursive Ole Miss logo is a sight for sore eyes. The red and blue complement each other so well that you can almost forgive Ole Miss for adding that unsightly stripe down the helmet.

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#51 Ole Miss

#52 Virginia

It’s hard to make a single letter logo look good, but Virginia has managed that thanks to the orange-blue color combo which distracts from the lack of a real logo. The swords underneath, however, are a nice touch as a homage to the Cavaliers.

pasted image 0 (1)

#53 Michigan

You don’t even have to watch college football to recognize Michigan, thanks to their distinctive design that avoids conventional helmet tropes. There’s no stripe down the helmet, or a single monochromatic look. Instead, you’ve got a unique helmet that’s somehow always in style.

#53 Michigan

#54 Oklahoma

The Sooners have one of the more vintage designs in college football, but the metallic sheen gives it a more modern flair.

54 Oklahoma

#55 Alabama

Simple but distinctive, Alabama is one of the few schools to feature player numbers prominently on the sides of its helmets. The red and white color scheme looks nice, but it’s a little safe.

Speaking of safe, here’s a list of the safest football helmets you can get your hands on. 

alabama helmet

#56 Florida State

The signature spear logo remains a classic, and the combination of the spear, metallic gold crown and garnet football face mask is an all-time great in terms of football helmets.

#56 Florida State

#57 Penn State

Bland is beautiful. The all-white lids are kind of tame and the blue stripe is a little too thin, but all-in-all, it’s a pretty iconic helmet that works for the Nittany Lions.

#57 Penn State

#58 Marshall

The Midshipmen win major points for creativity and originality here, with hand-painted helmets which feature seven historic ships of the US Naval Fleet, all of which are based on the player’s positional group.

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#58 Marshall

#60 TCU

Few teams have pulled off a chrome design as well as TCU. The horned-frog skin texture is a nice touch and the logo itself is daring, bold and creative.

#60 TCU

A Bonus: #61 Virginia Tech

The Hokies wore these “Hokie Stone” special edition helmets for the Battle at Bristol game against Tennessee, and we wish they’d bring them back as permanent helmets. The matte finish is fantastic and the Hokie Stone finish on the inside of the stripes and VT logo look great.

To complete the look, match your cool helmet with these amazing cleats and football gloves.

A Bonus#61 Virginia Tech

Frequently Asked Questions

Helmet stickers, otherwise known as reward decals, are stickers given to a player for individual accomplishments. It’s an idea borrowed from fighter pilots who would mark their planes with stickers after successful missions.

The Buckeye stickers on the helmet are a simple nod of recognition for players who might go unnoticed by traditional statistics, like those who make key blocks on touchdown runs.

The Buckeye leaf is now trademarked by the school, and the idea is to subconsciously drive players towards the team’s best interest.

For a long time, stickers on helmets were attributed to Ohio State’s coach Woody Hayes, who used them in 1967 to replace Ohio State’s old helmets. However, new evidence claims that the practice of awarding stickers began with Jim Young, who was the former assistant coach at Miami in 1965, two years earlier than Woody Hayes.

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