25. Arizona State Sun Devils
The Arizona State Sun Devils once had one of the nation’s best looks. From 1980-2010, ASU sported a version of the helmet featured above. The iconic look includes the team’s mascot, Sparky, running while carrying his pitchfork. Despite no longer being the main helmet, the Sparky domes are still worn by the Sun Devils. Currently, ASU’s main helmet features an updated, large pitchfork. Since adopting the new look in 2011, the team has worn white, black, maroon, silver, yellow, and sand variations.
24. San Diego State Aztecs
Unless you live on the West Coast or consider yourself a massive college football fan, this is probably the first time you’ve seen this helmet. A member of the Mountain West Conference, the Aztecs are often overshadowed by some fellow California programs a few hours North — namely, UCLA and USC. While the program has had some nice helmets previously, these beautiful lids are on another level. Inspired by the Aztec calendar, this helmet debuted in 2015. A recent update resulted in the Aztec art truly popping off the red dome. Don’t sleep on SDSU’s look.
23. Wyoming Cowboys
The last time Wyoming football was at the center of the football world was in 2018. That year, Wyoming’s star quarterback, Josh Allen, was in the NFL’s crosshairs. Of course, Allen has since become a legit superstar and top-5 quarterback in the league. As for Wyoming, the Cowboys have gone 17-15 since Allen left campus. While playing near-.500 ball isn’t great, Wyoming has looked fantastic while doing it. The Cowboys have one of the most underrated looks in college football. The brown and gold color scheme is perfect — as is the image of Cowboy Joe riding a bucking bronco. With an elite color combo and top-notch logo, Wyoming sports one of the nation’s best helmets.
22. Boise State Broncos
From 2000-2020, the Boise State Broncos were the winningest program in the nation. The Mountain West juggernaut went 219-43 in that span — a winning percentage of 83.5. Boise State rose to national prominence in 2006. That year, the Broncos capped off a perfect 13-0 season with a historic win, 43-42, over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Over the past 15 or so years, Boise has enhanced its look on the field as its brand has expanded. The program has a handful of awesome helmets to choose from. In addition to the black/orange helmet pictured above, the Broncos have blue, orange and white versions — all of which have multiple color options.
21. Ole Miss Rebels
Let’s get this out of the way — Ole Miss’ navy blue helmets are not amongst the nation’s best. When the Rebels sport the navy blue, they don’t look great. However, the powder blue helmet is beautiful. The red ‘Ole Miss’ script and stripe pop off the helmet in a way that it simply doesn’t when paired with the navy shell. Powder blue is underutilized when it comes to uniforms, but it often looks great on the field. Ole Miss should adopt the powder as its primary look. If it does, it will likely move up lists like this one in the future.
20. Arkansas Razorbacks
The Razorbacks are an improving bunch on the gridiron, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to look good while trying to prove you belong at the top of the SEC. Arkansas sports a great, dark shade of red (cardinal). Its helmet would look a bit bland if it had a red facemask — so, we are thankful that it is accompanied by a white facemask instead. The trademark hog on the helmet looks ferocious. Unique and visually pleasing, Arkansas’ helmet is an underrated gem.
19. Georgia Bulldogs
The perennial College Football Playoff contenders don one of the most recognizable helmets in all of football — both at the collegiate and professional levels. Of course, Georgia’s helmet features the same logo as the Green Bay Packers. In place of Green Bay’s green and yellow look, Georgia sports a crisp red and black combo. When Georgia first debuted the ‘G’ on its helmet, it received permission from the Packers organization. While Georgia’s helmet design isn’t unique to the program, it is certainly a powerful look and instantly recognizable.
18. Colorado Buffaloes
It’s hard to mess up a uniform/helmet when your main colors are black and gold. As we can see, the Colorado Buffaloes certainly understood the assignment. The Buffaloes’ primary helmet is an absolute winner. Colorado sports a gold shell adorned with a black facemask and a black buffalo decal. While the program has also introduced black, white and grey shells over the past few years, the gold remains the best. When Colorado was one of the nation’s top programs, this helmet was instantly recognizable and carried weight across the country.
17. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State’s helmet evolves as the season progresses. For some, even the Buckeyes’ plain silver shell (with the stripe) is one of the best looks in the country. This writer wouldn’t include that version of the helmet amongst the nation’s 25-best, but once the stickers start appearing? That’s a different story. The buckeye leaves — which are awarded to players for exceptional play — add a ton to the helmet and Ohio State’s overall look. Once a player’s helmet is full of buckeye leaves, the helmet is elevated to another level.
16. Clemson Tigers
Like Ohio State, Clemson awards its players with small stickers for playing at a high level. But while we don’t necessarily think the tiny footprint stickers are a necessary/good addition to Clemson’s helmet, we do favor the Tigers’ original shell more than Ohio State’s. Clemson’s orange shell pops off the screen, and the white paw print is a tremendous logo. It doesn’t matter if the Tigers are competing for national titles or are mired in mediocrity, their helmet will always be one of the best in the country.
15. North Carolina Tar Heels
We love Ole Miss’ powder blue helmet, but North Carolina’s Carolina Blue look is superior. Carolina Blue is one of the most recognizable colors in collegiate sports. While that is the case largely due to the school’s legendary basketball program, the Tar Heels also have a great look on the gridiron. It doesn’t matter if the helmet is paired with a white, black or blue top, the trademark shade of blue always looks great. The Tar Heels don’t need to mess with a great thing, but they also have a nice white helmet at their disposal.
14. Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma’s crimson helmet is iconic. Teams with a rich history of success often sport a uniform that is regarded as a classic, and Oklahoma is no exception. While the helmet is rather simple, it is undeniably effective. The interlocked ‘O’ and ‘U’ logo fits perfectly on the shell, and the white facemask is a perfect complement to the strong crimson color. The Sooners have introduced a few alternate helmets in recent seasons, but their traditional look remains the clear top dog for the program.
13. Florida Gators
Florida has worn a lot of helmets over the years, but its best look (above) is an iconic college football helmet. First worn in 1979, the orange shell with a white facemask and ‘Gators’ in blue script is rather gorgeous. The program has introduced some strong, white helmets since the mid-2000s — one that features a blue ‘F’ and one that looks identical to the main helmet, but with a white shell in place of the orange — but none hold a candle to the iconic orange dome.
12. Tennessee Volunteers
There is just something about this helmet that we love. It is incredibly simple, no doubt. A white shell with an orange ‘T’ and stripe. The Vols’ helmet has evolved a few times over the past few decades — sometimes to its detriment — but it is currently looking just right. The stripe going down the middle of the helmet no longer features a checkerboard pattern at the base. In addition to the primary look, Tennessee unveiled a strong alternate helmet — with a black facemask and ‘T’/stripe outline — in 2021.
11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Only one team should be able to wear a solid-gold helmet, and that team is Notre Dame. Notre Dame is one of the most iconic brands in college athletics, and its football team leads the way for the school. The Fighting Irish’s current gold helmet is arguably the best in program history. The shell sparkles under the bright lights and gives off a sense of importance. Notre Dame is a team that should never wear an alternate helmet. Simple, but great.
10. Iowa Hawkeyes
Dressed like the collegiate version of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Iowa Hawkeyes sport one of the nation’s cleanest uniforms. Utilizing black and gold (looks more yellow than gold to us), Iowa makes the most out of a rather simple look. The lone pop of color on the helmet comes by way of a yellow stripe and Tiger Hawk logo. Like the University of Georgia, Iowa reached out to the Steelers organization seeking permission to rebrand its program in reverence of the famed NFL franchise. Thanks to Pittsburgh’s generosity, we get to enjoy one of the best helmets in football whenever Iowa takes the field.
9. Miami Hurricanes
Miami owns the orange, green and white trifecta. ‘The U’ is home to some of the greatest teams in the history of college football, and its trademark helmet has become synonymous with the sport. Miami’s main lid features all three colors — the shell and facemask are white, the ‘U’ is half orange and half green, and two thin, green stripes outline a thick, orange stripe. Now, Miami’s white helmet might be its second-best look. The Hurricanes recently debuted a black/neon helmet and WOW. It is a thing of beauty.
8. Florida State Seminoles
All three of Florida’s top programs — Florida, Miami and Florida State — don iconic helmets. Winners of three National Championships, the Seminoles have worn their iconic helmets since 1976. FSU has a great color scheme — although some of the more recent uniforms have been a bit lacking — predominantly using garnet and gold. The Seminoles typically take the field in their gold helmets. The garnet facemask and garnet/white spear are perfect compliments to the gold shell. While there have been calls for FSU to change its mascot/brand, the spear helmet remains one of college football’s best.
7. Texas Longhorns
Another simple, classic helmet. Texas is a historic program. It claims four National Championships, has two Heisman Trophy winners, and is sixth all-time with 928 wins. The program’s burnt orange and white look is iconic. Texas’ gorgeous helmet has remained largely the same since 1961. In ’61, the helmet featured the Bevo logo with the player’s number above it and an orange stripe down the middle. The stripe and numbers are no longer in place (the numbers are on the back), but the beloved burnt orange Bevo remains — and we love it.
6. Oregon Ducks
Oregon changed the landscape of college football both on and off the field. Chip Kelly’s offense has been copied by countless programs around the country, and Oregon’s countless uniform/helmet combinations have resulted in hundreds of alternates nationwide. The Ducks’ classic ‘O’ helmet was pretty solid, but their current winged look is iconic. Oregon has donned more than a handful of winged helmets, and all of them are outstanding. We can’t wait to see what the Ducks unveil next.
5. Pittsburgh Panthers
Sometimes, new isn’t better. From the early 1980s through 1996, the Pittsburgh Panthers were one of the best-dressed teams in the nation. Then, Pitt unveiled a new helmet that was a far cry from the glory days — a gold shell featuring a whack-looking Panther. In ’05, the panther lid was scrapped in favor of a gold helmet with a block ‘PITT’ — another dud. Thankfully, the program turned back the clock in ’19 and brought back the beautiful helmet pictured above. The colors are great, and the script ‘Pitt’ is even better. A true masterpiece.
4. UCLA Bruins
UCLA’s complete uniform is arguably the best in the country. The Bruins’ home blue and gold are unmatched. And while past versions of the helmet may be a bit better — ‘UCLA’ in navy blue instead of light blue was phenomenal — the current version is still top-tier. The ‘UCLA’ script is perfect, and the gold is now the perfect shade after a few years of the program sporting a more yellow-gold lid. The Bruins may not be an elite team, but they look the part.
3. Michigan Wolverines
Everyone recognizes Michigan’s maize and blue. The Wolverines wear the most notable helmet in college football — and possibly in all of football overall. Michigan has sported its famed winged helmet since 1938. There is never a doubt which team is playing if you quickly glance up at your television and see these helmets. We are undecided on the helmet stickers — they can look good to an extent, but too many stickers seem to take a bit away from the winged look — but the base helmet is perfect.
2. USC Trojans
The Trojans haven’t been good for a few years, but USC remains an elite program — and arguably college football’s most historic. 11 National Championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners, 510 NFL Draft picks…the USC Trojans are a legendary name. So, it is only fitting that USC’s helmets are also elite. Aside from an update to the Trojan logo on the helmet, the lid has remained largely unchanged since its debut in 1972. There is no mistaking USC’s cardinal and gold color scheme, nor its simple yet powerful helmet. If Lincoln Riley can carry the Trojans back to the top of college football, the helmet will only stand out even more.
1. LSU Tigers
Alabama? NOPE. Penn State? Absolutely not. The best helmet in college football belongs to the LSU Tigers. Purple and gold look great together. Tigers are badass. Combine those colors with an iconic animal and you have a glorious helmet. The ‘LSU’ arching over the tiger head works to perfection — as does the helmet stripe going down the middle. Also, LSU’s white alternate helmet may be just as gorgeous as its primary yellow lid.