Fashion has never been more important in college football and teams all over the nation are trying to make themselves stand out to potential recruits. College football helmets are, in essence, the ultimate symbol for the football program in general.
Some prefer a classic looking lid, while others prefer something stylish and innovative. It was not easy creating a definitive list of the top-10 greatest college football helmets of all time, but since we live in a world where top-10 lists seem to rule the internet, we thought we would give it a go.
SEC Football Helmets Ranked
14. Mississippi State
Nothing about Mississippi State’s colors, uniform or helmets has ever really seemed to click. The “M-State” font has improved recently but we still can’t forgive the silver alternate with the maroon stripe. Some miss the matte design that was popularized circa 2012, but there’s really not much you can do here regardless.
The UK sticker is far more synonymous with Kentucky basketball than it is football. Kentucky seems to have struggled in the Mark Stoops era putting together viable color schemes as sometimes the chosen helmets just don’t match the uniform. The chrome alternates stick out like a sore thumb and the blue/white just seems very plain.
These days, you could see the Commodores wearing a gold, black, or even white helmet on any given Saturday. The inclusion of the anchor chain down the middle has added some identity to Vanderbilt’s game day attire. The gold helmets with the understated star is the worst of the bunch but these helmets have long since been synonymous with losing.
11. Texas A&M
The Texas A&M helmet has a rich tradition and is widely recognizable, it suffers from a similar disposition as Mississippi State’s. The johnny Manziel era did showcase some solid alternates (the state of Texas helmet was actually cool). While it’s a bit taboo to scoff at tradition, especially a school like A&M with a powerful fan/alumni connection, it still doesn’t merit blind praise for the helmets.
With an extremely pleasing color scheme, it’s always seemed Florida could do more with their helmet designs. The script “Gators” seems out of place and a simple “F” or Gator logo would probably be more suitable. The Tim Tebow-era Pro Combat helmets were excellent teasers for what could be possible.
The Razorbacks have recently gone through yet another uniform reboot which included a switch from matte to shiny helmets. The latest look is more of a traditional throwback. The white alternate is subtle and clean while the traditional red helmet has always felt a bit simple and incomplete.
In 2012, the University of Missouri dropped its traditional “block M” helmet design and decided to make this oval Tiger more prominent in branding the athletic department. Last year, Mizzou donned a new helmet for practically every game which agitates purists and excites recruits. Perhaps 2019 will feature even more use of the classic “M.”
7. South Carolina
Huge props to the Gamecocks for implementing the scarlet script “Carolina” helmets as this is the most pleasing design they have currently. The white “C” Gamecock helmet has long since needed an overhaul yet still works with road white uniforms. The black hat pops quite a bit more and it’s interesting to see each week which one will be used.
Next to Georgia and Nebraska, this is most recognizable single-letter helmet in college football. There’s no question that the gaudy Orange of Tennessee is a love-it or hate-it type of situation. Your eyes will never be the same after watching a game inside Neyland Stadium with 100,000 people wearing the color proudly. We can keep Tennessee in the top half of the conference so long as the charcoal helmets never make a return.
Often mimicked but never duplicated, the Alabama football helmet screams tradition and success. This helmet, while uncomplicated, has become the symbol for college football’s preeminent program. A lot of respect is due to the Tide for sticking with this look over the years and refusing to cave in to the fashion show that college football has become in the last decade.
The LSU Tigers boast the SEC’s most diverse color scheme and it’s hard to picture the state of Louisiana without thinking of “LSU gold.” Merely looking at a photo of this helmet elicits thoughts of 100,000 fans, earth shaking noise, crawfish and national titles. The purple alternate even seemed to work but we’re not ready to gander upon these more than once a season at this point.
Easily the most recognizable single-letter helmets in college football, the Georgia “G” is an extremely important part of the brand identification for the University. Though different in design and color, the G is an obvious homage to the Green Bay Packers, who dominated the NFL in the 1960’s.
Simple, yet extremely effective. The Auburn helmet is one of the cleanest lids in all of college football. In an era where uniforms and helmet designs seem to change week-to-week, it is comforting to know that you will see this traditional look each and every college football Saturday.
1. Ole Miss
The nod has to go to Ole Miss here even though the powder blue helmet is not the school’s primary look. It’s, quite simply, a stunning helmet that looks vibrant on television and in person. Easily the greatest “university nickname” helmets of all time, the script “Ole Miss” on the blue helmet is a tremendous look that still holds up today. The nickname itself is as synonymous with the state of Mississippi as Muddy Waters or magnolias.