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College Football's Top 25 Logos in 2016

Who has the best logo in the FBS ranks of college football?

Logos don’t draw the same attention or excitement as uniforms but they are an inextricable part of each team’s brand that can be recognized around the world.

 

Just ask the New York Yankees. Or the Dallas Cowboys. Or the Chicago Bulls.

 

With that in mind, we rank the Top 25 FBS logos (in descending order) based on aesthetics, color combination and creativity.

 

Note: Rankings are of each school’s primary logo. And hat tip to SportsLogos.net for being such an incredible resource.

 

  School Logo Analysis
25. Michigan

OK, it’s just a block “M.” But the color combination of maize and blue that makes Michigan’s football uniforms the best in the land also makes the school’s logo Top 25-worthy.

24. Navy

Yes, another block letter logo. But it makes this list because you have to love the style, color and incorporation of the North Star, used by seamen for thousands of years to guide them on the water.

23. Notre Dame

Like Notre Dame’s uniforms, the interlocking “ND” logo is eternally old school. It wakes up the echoes of Knute Rockne in his “ND” sweater uniform and all feels right in the world.

22. Utah

The block “U” by itself would look fine but the Utes went the extra mile by incorporating the drum and feather around the letter to blend the look and feel of the nickname.

21. Missouri

Missouri doesn’t get enough credit for upgrading its logo in 1996 from a block "M"  that looked exactly like Michigan’s to a menacing tiger roaring out of an oval. 

20. Florida State

Yes, we much preferred the old Florida State logo that didn’t look like a screaming Elvis but FSU’s new logo circa 2014 looks enough like the old one to warrant a spot on this list.

19. Florida

If you are going to nickname your team the “Gators,” you need a logo that’s going to strike fear into your competition. This logo featuring jagged teeth and a menacing look does just that.

18. Tennessee

You won’t find a more polarizing color in sports than Tennessee orange. While it can be overdone when worn by all 100,000 fans in Neyland Stadium, it looks majestic on that big, bold “T” that demands respect. 

17. West Virginia

The “W” and “V” in the flying “WV” logo go together like peanut butter and jelly. As soon as we see it, we can hear the tune of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and smell the couches burning from here. 

16. Arkansas

It’s hard to turn a pig into a great-looking logo but Arkansas did just that. There’s something about the running hog’s pose that works so well.

15. Army West Point

A lot of people don’t even know what Army’s logo looks like. Changed just last year from a knight wielding a sword to a sword and mask in front of a shield, we salute this upgrade.

14. Old Dominion

If only every Group of Five school had uniforms and a logo as sharp as Old Dominion’s. The two shades of blue and a lion roaring with a crown on its head is equal parts eye-catching, awesome and absurd.

13. Iowa

The Tigerhawk is so awesomely unique but gets knocked down a peg for the black oval around it as the school’s primary logo. Couldn’t the school just have given the hawk a black outline instead?

12 Clemson

The paw print logo is so simple but brilliant. Clemson gets bonus points for how lifelike the paw print looks, as if an actual tiger dipped its paw in orange paint and touched a canvas for the school.

11. Penn State

You will likely never see Penn State’s Nittany Lion logo on its helmet, which is a shame because it would make for one sweet alternate. The profile of a lion’s head looks carved out of a block of marble, leaving it with a stoic glare.

10. Colorado

There was a time when Colorado’s logo was associated with greatness in football. Those days have long since passed but the charging buffalo with the interlocking “CU” logo inside remains one of the best symbols in the sport — made all the better by the classic color scheme of black and gold.

9. Washington State

The genius of Washington State’s logo is in its subliminal messaging. As you may or may not have noticed, the cougar is made up of the letters “WSU.” That uniqueness is what led it to be selected as the best logo in college football by a recent Reddit poll.  

8. Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech’s logo is vastly underappreciated because the Yellow Jackets only use the “GT” portion of it on their helmets. But that cartoon hornet is a college sports classic and having the Yellow Jacket equipped for competition with two wristbands is a stroke of brilliance.

7. East Carolina

We’ll say it again: You can never go wrong with a skull and crossbones for a logo. As a result, East Carolina has one of the best logos and uniforms in college football despite being overlooked in its own state by the likes of North Carolina, Duke, NC State and even Wake Forest.  

6. Kansas State

In order to truly appreciate the Powercat, you must compare it with Kansas State’s previous logo. Designed by a Kansas State art professor and introduced by Bill Snyder in 1989 as Snyder started one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history, it’s little wonder Snyder is so beloved in the Little Apple.

5. Miami

“The U” is a very crisp and clean logo in and of itself but what makes it so iconic and beloved is that it’s more than just a logo — it’s an attitude. It stands for greatness, swagger and kicking ass — or at least it used to.

4. North Carolina

You don’t see many interlocking initials on this countdown because it’s such a commodity. North Carolina’s logo is a huge exception to that rule. There’s something about the curvature of the “N” and the “C” and the way they interlock that’s so perfectly synced. And that perfection is only accentuated by that famous shade of blue.

3. Virginia

With all due respect to Cavman, Virginia seriously updated its logo in 1994. The “V” above two crossing swords is so elegant and regal it feels like it should be a "Game of Thrones" house sigil.

2. Texas

While everything else may be bigger in Texas, the Longhorn silhouette is so compact and minimalistic, and we love that. Throw in that beautiful burnt orange that is so unmistakably Texas and there’s little wonder why the logo is plastered on just about everything in Austin.

1. Michigan State

Michigan State’s in-state rival may have the best college football uniforms but it is Sparty who can lay claim to the game’s best logo. The second-place finisher in Reddit’s recent logo poll, this Spartan helmet silhouette ranks supreme here because it’s everything you want in a logo: Striking but understated, strong but subtle and just all-around awesome. And after years of endlessly toying with the shade of green, Michigan State finally hit the jackpot.

 

— Rankings by Jim Weber, a veteran college sports journalist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. Weber has written for CBS Sports Network, NBCSports.com, ESPN the Magazine and the college sports website he founded and sold, LostLettermen.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JimMWeber.

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