There was a time when even the best college football helmets consisted of a dull leather, designed for safety but about as effective as a cloth cap in a monsoon. The purpose remains, and CFB helmets are at the very cutting edge of safety.
Yet, they’re more than that now. They’re a statement, an opportunity to express identity, and some of them are simply works of art. The question begs to be asked, however, which program boasts the best helmets?
What Are The Top 5 Best Helmets in College Football?
Attempting to rank anything in college football is divisive. Everyone has an opinion and each individual is convinced theirs is the correct one. When it comes to ranking the best CFB helmets, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.
What I consider to be a delightful dome, someone might deem a horrific helmet. Meanwhile, these rankings account for the full repertoire of liveried lids used by a program. Forget one-offs, your favorite school has to be consistently the cream of the crop to claim the coveted cranium covering crown.
5) Arizona State Sun Devils
The Arizona State Sun Devils unveiled a new helmet concept for the 2022 college football season. The gold dome with maroon detailing — including the Sun Devils pitchfork logo on either side — is exquisite, particular the all-gold face mask. It’s the latest in a long line of luscious lids.
The traditional yellow and maroon colors are timeless, and the throwback “Sparky” logo makes for one of the most beautiful helmets of all time. The Sun Devil is in the detail, and the PT 42 patch that honors Pat Tillman helps set off a magnificent helmet.
4) SMU Mustangs
There are some things in CFB that the SMU program didn’t do right. However, uniforms and helmets certainly aren’t one of those things. Even their standard white helmet with a red mustang logo trimmed with blue, along with a red and blue front stripe is a superb work of art.
However, they’ve also produced some eye-raising, head-turning, red helmets with a striking silver mustang amongst a plethora of perfect head protectors. The “Dallas” special edition with a blue three-stripe D cloaking the red mustang on a white lid was a stunning success.
3) Alabama Crimson Tide
Sometimes, less is more. As college football evolves and changes, keeping anchored in the traditions that made it the nation’s best sport is hard but necessary. The Alabama helmet is a CFB icon. It isn’t flashy or showy. It doesn’t require a glitzy press conference or grand social media unveiling. Its allure, its beauty, is in its simplicity.
I’m a sucker for traditionalism, and there are few things in the sport that conjure up that imagery than a crimson helmet with white numbers on the side and a single white stripe. Bama equals beauty.
2) Louisville Cardinals
When you’re primary colors are red, white, and black, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with your uniforms and helmets. Yet, creating consistently great variations of a helmet isn’t quite as easy.
Louisville has consistently knocked it out of the park with their CFB helmet designs. From chrome red dome with a white logo as styled by Lamar Jackson, to a mouthwatering all-matte black number and their traditional white helmet, Louisville finds a way to out-style their opponent. Special shout out to their star-spangled Cardinal design.
1) Tulane Green Wave
What makes a special CFB helmet? Well, first, you need an awesome logo. Secondly, having a unique, standout color scheme helps differentiate the great from the good. Thirdly, originality and creativity are a must if you want to come out on top of the helmet arms race in college football.
When you consider those factors, one program elevates itself above all. Forget popular lid leaders like Michigan and Ohio State. Tulane is the cranium covering king.
Whether rocking the 1920s pelican on a surfboard, “Angry Wave,” or T-Wave as seen in 2013, Tulane has consistently had one of the coolest logos in CFB. While a combination of white, green, and baby blue might not be everyone’s idea of a complementary color scheme, the Green Wave make it work in spectacular style.
The all-baby blue helmet, with a thick white center stripe draped on either side in green, the “Angry Wave” logo on the side, finished off with a green face mask should one day find itself hanging in The Louvre.
Honorable mention for CFB’s best helmets
- Colorado Buffaloes
- Ole Miss Rebels
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
- Florida State Seminoles
- Clemson Tigers
- Boise State Broncos
- Wyoming Cowboys
- Navy Midshipmen
- Utah Utes