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50 Best NCAA Football Helmets of 2016

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Maryland Football 560x315College football is more than just a bunch of college kids wearing pads and hitting each other for our enjoyment, it’s a business too. We all know what happens when people begin seeing NCAA football as a business. It means things will change.

Several years ago, ticket sales were based on the talent on the field, not the uniforms being worn by the players. A player’s uniform was interesting but it was never as important as it has become today.

CHB141129 0531 Oregon at OregonState 560x392

For example, Oregon started the trend in 2006 when they released four different uniforms, all with different colored pieces from the jersey and pants to the shoes and socks, which gave them 384 different combinations for each week. It was a little extreme to have so many choices but by 2008, the Oregon Ducks were wearing a new uniform for every game without wearing the same combination more than once.

Eight years later, the league has evolved and now just about every team has a few choices each week. It wasn’t just the uniforms that saw an evolution, the helmets got an even bigger upgrade over the years and that is what we are here to admire today. Here are the 50 best NCAA Football helmets of the 2016 season.

(This isn’t just a list of the newest helmets, this is a complete list of the best overall helmets, not just those single use, special edition ones.)

50. Kansas Jayhawks

  • Conference: Big-12
  • Colors: White, Red, Blue, Yellow
  • Version: Alternate

50. Kansas 560x315

49. Virginia Cavaliers

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors: Orange, Blue, White
  • Version: Alternate

49. Virinia 560x448

48. Troy Trojans

  • Conference: Sun Belt
  • Colors: Silver & Red
  • Version: Chrome Alternate

48. Troy 560x420

47. Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Colors: Black & Yellow
  • Version: Standard

47. Iowa 560x336

46. Arizona State Sun Devils

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • Colors: White, Maroon, Gold
  • Version: Alternate

46. Arizona State 560x336

45. West Virginia Mountaineers

  • Conference: Big-12
  • Colors: White, Blue, Old Gold
  • Version: Special Opening Weekend Alternate
  • Logo Details: The logo is the state of West Virginia and it is highlighting the 125th Anniversary of the West Virginia football program. As crazy as it sounds, they have been playing football in the mountains for over a century.

45. West Virginia 560x373

44. Iowa State Cyclones

  • Conference: Big-12
  • Colors: White, Cardinal Red, Gold
  • Version: Alternate

44. Iowa State 560x315

43. Boise State Broncos

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Blue, Silver, Orange
  • Version: Standard

43. Boise State 560x314

42. UCF Knights

  • Conference: American Athletic
  • Colors: White, Black, Gold
  • Version: Alternate
  • Logo Details: This is the same logo UCF has had before but this time, it has been blown up to cover almost the entire side of the helmet.

42. UCF 560x420

41. North Carolina State Wolfpack

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors:  White, Red
  • Version: Throwback Alternate
  • Logo Details: From 1986 to 2000, NC State wore the white helmet with the red diamond logo. But for some odd reason, they decided to change the design in 2000 and have been wearing that style ever since. They are bringing them back this season to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first game played in Carter-Finley Stadium.

41. NC State 560x315

40. Virginia Tech Hokies

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors: Black, Gray, White
  • Version: Black Matte “Hokie Stone” Special Edition
  • Logo Details: On September 10th, for the Battle at Bristol game against Tennessee, the Hokies wore these helmets with the Hokie Stone logo as a tribute to the Corps of Cadets, the military section of the university.

40. Virginia Tech 560x315

39. Nevada Wolfpack

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Blue, Silver
  • Version: Matte Helmet word Regularly
  • Logo Details: Nevada designed these helmets with the Wolfpack logo on one side while the other side of the helmet simply says, “Pack”.

39. Nevada 560x505

38. ULL Ragin’ Cajuns

  • Conference: Sun Belt
  • Colors: Vermilion, White
  • Version: Alternate White with superimposed Fleur-de-lis logo

38. ULL 560x434

37. Oregon State Beavers

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • Colors: White, Orange, Black
  • Version: One of their three main helmets (Orange, Black, White)

37. Oregon State 560x315

36. FIU Panthers

  • Conference: Conference USA
  • Colors: Black, White, Gold
  • Version: Alternate

36. FIU 560x364

35. Charlotte 49ers

  • Conference: Conference USA
  • Colors: White, Green, Gold
  • Version: Standard

35. Charlotte 560x369

34. Georgia State Panthers

  • Conference: Sun Belt
  • Colors: Blue, White
  • Version: Alternate Blue Matte

29. Georgia State e1474602292863 560x392

33. Purdue Boilermakers

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Colors: White, Black, Gold
  • Version: Alternate White w/ Boilermaker Train logo

33. Purdue 560x374

32. Florida Gators

  • Conference: SEC
  • Colors: Orange, Blue
  • Version: Standard

32. Florida 560x373

31. Cincinnati Bearcats

  • Conference: American Athletic
  • Colors: White, Black, Red
  • Version: Under Armour Standard Away

31. Cincinnati 560x310

30. UTEP Miners

  • Conference: Conference USA
  • Colors: Navy Blue, Orange, Silver
  • Version: Alternate Large Pickax

30. UTEP 560x294

29. Texas Longhorns

  • Conference: Big-12
  • Colors: Burnt Orange, White
  • Version: Standard, Metallic Logo

13. Texas 560x302

28. Louisville Cardinals

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors: Red, White
  • Version: Chrome “Ali Tribute” Alternate

28. Louisville 560x280

27. New Mexico Lobos

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Gray, Red
  • Version: Alternate, Matte w/ Red Facemask

27. New Mexico 560x351

26. Wyoming Cowboys

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Brown, Gold
  • Version: Standard
  • Logo Details: For some reason, the Wyoming Cowboys have one of the coolest logos in college sports. Although they got new Nike uniforms this season, they didn’t change their helmet one bit.

26. Wyoming e1474602320844 560x316

25. Connecticut Huskies

  • Conference: American Athletic
  • Colors: National Flag Blue, White, Red
  • Version: Standard

25. UConn 560x315

24. South Carolina Gamecocks

  • Conference: SEC
  • Colors: Garnet, Black, White
  • Version: Alternate

24. South Carolina e1474602337981 560x368

23. East Carolina Pirates

  • Conference: American Athletic
  • Colors: Royal Purple, Old Gold
  • Version: Standard, Giant Pirate Logo

23. East Carolina 560x420

22. Kent State Golden Flashes

  • Conference: MAC
  • Colors:
  • Version: Flying Eagle w/ Large “K” Alternate
  • Style: If you happened to catch their opening weekend game against Penn State this season, then you already know how impressive these Alternate White helmets looked sweet even though they were getting pounded on the scoreboard.

22. Kent State 560x373

21. Clemson Tigers

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors: Orange, White
  • Version: Standard

21. Clemson 560x315

20. SMU Mustangs

  • Conference: American Athletic
  • Colors: Red, White, Blue
  • Version: Standard
  • Style: There is just something to say about a White helmet with a Red Mustang galloping across it.

20. SMU 560x314

19. Ball State Cardinals

  • Conference: Mid-American
  • Colors: Red, White, Black
  • Version: Alternate, Matte

19. Ball State e1474602372218 560x420

18. Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Conference: SEC
  • Colors: Crimson, White
  • Version: Standard

18. Alabama 560x372

17. Texas State Bobcats

  • Conference: Sun Belt
  • Colors: Metallic Gold, Blue
  • Version: Alternate, Matte

17. Texas State e1474602393266 560x463

16. LSU Tigers

  • Conference: SEC
  • Colors: Purple, Gold, White
  • Version: Alternate “Gridiron Gold”
  • Logo Details: The simplistic style is a throwback to the 1940’s when LSU wore this exact same style of uniform with the White helmets w/ the numbers on them.

16. LSU e1474602420295 560x295

15. Colorado State Rams

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Forest Green, Vegas Gold
  • Version: Standard

15. Colorado State 560x416

14. Miami Hurricanes

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors: Green, Orange, White
  • Version: Standard

14. Miami FL e1474602440816 560x345

13. San Diego State Aztecs

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Scarlet, Black
  • Version: Standard
  • Logo Details: The official mascot for San Diego State is the Aztecs and this season, they managed to use that to their advantage with their latest helmet style, one featuring the Aztec calendar. It sounds like a bad idea, but it works.

34. San Diego State 560x372

12. Oklahoma State Cowboys

  • Conference: Big-12
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Version: Alternate, XL Cowboy Logo in Chrome

12. Oklahoma State 560x356

11. Georgia Bulldogs

  • Conference: SEC
  • Colors: Red, Black, White
  • Version: Standard

11. Georgia 560x369

10. Duke Blue Devils

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors: Duke Blue, Black
  • Version: Alternate, Black Matte w/ Metallic Logo Decal
  • Logo Details: Much like a lot of the best helmets we have seen so far, and are about to see, winning and looking good in football don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

10. Duke e1474602468567 560x265

9. Western Michigan Broncos

  • Conference: MAC
  • Colors: Brown, Gold
  • Version: Alternate, Enlarged Logo
  • Logo Details: Boise State started the trend to enhance the logo to XL size which can give the helmet a smoother, cooler look.

9. Western Michigan e1474602487551 560x397

8. North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Conference: ACC
  • Colors: Baby Blue, White
  • Version: Standard

8. UNC 560x392

7. Air Force Falcons

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Silver, Black, White, Red
  • Version: “Legacy Series Sharktooth”
  • Logo Details: During World War II, the P-40 fighter planes being used by the Air Force had the same shark logo painted on their noses.

7. Air Force 560x311

6. Michigan Wolverines

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Colors: Navy Blue, Yellow
  • Version: Standard

6. Michigan e1474602507214 560x283

5. Tulane Green Wave

  • Conference: American Athletic
  • Colors: Sky Blue, Olive, White
  • Version: Alternate
  • Logo Details: For many years, Tulane struggled with making the Green Wave look good but this alternate style nails it. It makes a lame mascot, like a wave, into a animated object that is pissed and wants revenge.

5. Tulane 560x373

4. UNLV Rebels

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Colors: Scarlet, Gray, Black
  • Version: Alternate, Matte w/ Metallic Red Facemask

4. UNLV 560x373

3. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Colors: Black, Silver
  • Version: Alternate, “Dark Knight” Edition
  • Logo Details: This helmet is part of an entire all-black uniform that Rutgers is going to be wearing on October 8th game against Michigan.

3. Rutgers e1474602529832 560x330

2. Buffalo Bulls

  • Conference: Mid-American
  • Colors: Black, Blue, White
  • Version: Nike Mach Speed Alternate, Matte w/ Bull’s Face Logo

2. Buffalo 560x315

1. Old Dominion Monarchs

  • Conference: Conference USA
  • Colors: Black, Silver
  • Version: Alternate, Matte
  • Logo Details: This helmet is just a sample of the entire uniform which is easily the best in the country when it comes to the all-black blackout look these days.

1. Old Dominion 560x378

Editor’s Choice

This is a Maryland based site, and it’s bullshit that one of our writers would submit this article without giving proper respect to the Terps. We love our flag in Maryland, and it clearly makes the best helmet. Fear the Turtle!

Terps 560x280

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