The 2018 season was quietly one of the best in recent memory for college football uniforms. No, not because of Notre Dame’s Yankee-inspired offering from the Syracuse game which we can confirm caused Under Armour stock to plunge 4%* for being so absurd. Sure, we’re still in the throes of Black for Black’s Sake, random gray, American flag themes, camouflage, monotone leotards, and white-out efforts from all across the country. However, this past fall saw many programs hearkening back to their past, embracing brighter colors, and even getting a little weird.
We’re also nearing the peak of alternate helmet mania. The following Power 5 teams wore at least 4 different helmets during the 2018 season: Baylor (6), Texas Tech (6), Oklahoma State (11), TCU (4), West Virginia (4), Duke (4), NC State (4), Indiana (4), Minnesota (4), Northwestern (9), Purdue (4), Arizona (8), Arizona State (10), Colorado (4), Oregon (5), Oregon State (4), Utah (8), Washington State (10), Kentucky (6), Missouri (11), and Vanderbilt (4).
In contrast, the following Power 5 teams wore only one helmet all season long: Kansas State, Texas, Clemson, Maryland, Michigan, Penn State, USC, UCLA, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Anyway, here are my 30 favorite uniforms from 2018 worthy of mention. Click on the team name for a picture, unless there’s an inset.
30) Texas A&M – I miss this look and want it back. I actually liked Adidas revamp for A&M when it came out but it already looks dated to me. A return to their roots is entirely welcome.
29) Georgia Tech – The blue jerseys and white pants were worn only once in their inaugural Adidas season. It’s their best look, in my opinion. Unfortunately, Tech thinks they’re cool for wearing white jerseys all the time.
28) Duke – The Blue Devil face transforms this uniform from wanna-be Colts uniforms to something a lot cooler. Duke should probably try something different for their uniforms and move away from something so traditional.
27) Nebraska – The slightly off-white pants really make this throwback worth it. It’s hard to imagine how Nebraska could go even more plain and look good but they did it.
26) Oklahoma State – My favorite color scheme for the Cowboys (orange-white-black) with the giant chrome Pistol Pete helmet logo. A modern classic.
25) Washington – I’ve only liked Washington in their traditional uniforms and think they’ve whiffed on a bunch of different looks. Except here.
24) West Virginia – The sharpest look for the Mountaineers. They rotate a lot through a bunch of different looks each year and I’m always a fan of this road offering.
22) Virginia – The Cavs updated uniforms in recent years have been quite good. This may be the best of the bunch.
21) UAB – Fortune favors the bold and I applaud the effort. You have to do it for the children.
20) Purdue – A sneaky futuristic looking uniform that works well for the Boilers. I think we’ll see more uniforms using this kind of template in the future.
19) Arizona State – Sparky never should’ve never left us. This is a billion times better than anything they’ve worn since modernizing their logo and uniforms.
18) Kansas – A World War II inspired uniform with a sheet metal rivet-clad Jayhawk logo? Yes, yes, yes.
17) Missouri – It was a great year for throwback, lovable helmet logos.
Ornery tiger logo ftw.
16) South Carolina – Something about the script helmets makes this look so charming. The Gamecocks often drown their uniforms in either black or garnet. This feels balanced and really sharp.
15) San Jose State – The Spartans should play better wearing these bold colors. Such a good look is being wasted out on the west coast.
14) BYU – The white helmet on top of blue jersey and pants spices up this royal shade for the Cougars.
13) Cal – Under Armour has not pulled off a better throwback uniform to date.
12) Buffalo – Maybe my favorite helmet of the year gave the Bulls magical powers on their way to a 10-win season.
11) Air Force – This looks like the most Air Force-y uniform imaginable. They look fast and sleek.
10) Pitt – These throwbacks are so nice the Panthers should be fined every time they don’t wear them.
9) LSU – The Bayou Bengals do not show off enough of their purple. These are fantastic and should get a whole lot more recognition.
8) USF – The annual “SoFlo” uniform for the Bulls is a treat for the country each time around.
7) Colorado State – The Rams normal uniforms are drab and unmemorable. These are a million times better and unlike any other program in the country.
6) Missouri – Haters want to hate, let them. These were impressive in the Columbia sunshine.
5) Oregon State – Old-school Benny the Beaver helmet logo on the best uniforms in the Pac-12.
4) ECU – This is what LSU should look like if they had the guts. Love the yellow facemask to pull it all together.
Bones and swords on the pants!
3) North Texas – These “Mean” Joe Greene throwbacks hold a special place in my heart.
2) UTEP – Hands down, the greatest uniform in college football that people don’t know about.
1) Tulane – In recent years, the Green Wave did an about face with their uniforms. For years, they stifled their sky blue.
Angry Wave™ takes the top spot.
For most of this century the Tulane football team was largely covered in olive green and white with minimal blue. Since 2017, they’ve embraced their lighter shade. This past season they wore the sky blue pants with white jerseys (a tremendous look too) and opened the season with all-sky blue uniform below a white Angry Wave helmet.
*Just trust me.