Best and Worst Helmets of the Sun Belt and Conference USA

BOCA RATON, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 12: A detailed view of the helmet of Florida Atlantic Owls during the game against Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at FAU Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
BOCA RATON, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 12: A detailed view of the helmet of Florida Atlantic Owls during the game against Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at FAU Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Appalachian State

Best: A, 2013-2015

Similar to the helmets the Mountaineers wore in the legendary Michigan upset, these are simple but nice. The yellow outline along the A makes it stand out more than others.

Worst: 1982

I get the Appalachian Mountains get snow, but a snowcap on top of a plain block A? It just looks weird. Although it does look more like a mountain than a letter, these are a miss.

Arkansas State

Best: V, 2018-Current

A black shell with a red wolf and red facemask sounds like there’s a lot going on, but it’s not at all. The wolf stands out nicely with the white added in. It’s just much better than “State” across the helmets.

Worst: I, 2015-2017

Take all the characteristics of the best and invert them. It looks like a black electrical take placed on a helmet in what’s attempted to be the shape of a wolf. There’s no white to break things up. It reminds me of an old nWo Wolfpac t-shirt from the late 90s.

Coastal Carolina

Best: 2009-2012

There aren’t a ton of changes between helmets, but a bigger logo and teal stripe down the middle gives this one the edge. What really makes it cool is the fact that teal isn’t a prominent color in college football. I bet a teal shell would look great.

Worst: C, 2019-present

Just to get this out of the way, I usually hate white helmets and this is no exception. It’s plain, but the normally colorful logo is red, white, and blue. I love what they’re trying to go for, but it just doesn’t work.

Georgia Southern

Best: D, 2017-2018

Another thing to get out of the way: a logo on one side with numbers, a different logo, or nothing at all on the other drives me crazy. Now that that’s out of the way, the gold on navy blue looks really nice and a gold facemask is a great touch. They’ve only worn this twice, and I wish they’d bring it back.

Worst: November 9, 2013

Thank the college football gods this only saw one game, but it should have never escaped at all. It looks like Michigan and the San Diego Padres merged to come up with some weird promotional tactic. Brown and gold is a hard pass. That goes for you too, Padres.

Georgia State

Best: P, 2019-present

All black with an electric blue and white panther. Another really good look, very similar to what they wore in 2014 but that version was more of a matte black. On the more shiny black, it allows the blue to stand out even more.

Worst: Q, 2020-present

Talk about plain and boring. White with “Panthers” in small blue letters. t looks like something anyone could come up with in 30 seconds on a Word document with zero effort. For lack of a better term, it’s a dumbed-down version of when the New York Giants had “Giants” across their helmets, except this one doesn’t look anywhere near as nice.


Best: U, 2019-present

I’m a sucker for the red Louisiana uses. What separates this one is the black outline that’s used for the logo on the sides. A gray facemask doesn’t give the feeling of red overload. A white stripe down the middle is also a nice little breakup.

Worst: 1975-1979

A throwback to the days when the school was in Southeast Louisiana. These are a more maroon than red with “USL” spaced out and arched over the top of the helmet. It’s not bad, but very unexciting and bland.

South Alabama

Best: L, 2020-present

A white helmet that really works. The combination of a red facemark with a red and blue stripe makes the red “Jags” really stand out. It’s a solid look that South Alabama wore in every game in 2020 and deserves to see more action in 2021.

Worst: G, 2016

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this is Houston. All white everything with a red growing cougar. The logo isn’t bad, but it’d probably look better on a blue helmet. It doesn’t change that it looks like a completely different program.

Texas State

Best: 1992-1996

Wow, does Texas State have a lot of helmets, and it proves that quality over quantity should really be held in high regard. Texas State only wore a paw print on their helmet for seven total years and it’s a look that should go back to. It hasn’t had anything look this good since.

Worst: AC, 2019-current

I can’t sugarcoat this: this helmet is terrible. White helmet, white facemask, white logo. Wait, what? Seriously, you have to squint to see a gray outline of the Bobcat logo, the entire inside of which is white. The bobcat logo isn’t great, so on second thought, maybe the inability to see it isn’t all that bad.


Best: B, 2015

It’s a shame these only saw one season because they’re really nice. The red and white T looks ominous (don’t ask me to explain how because I can’t) and it looks perfect on any helmet, but especially this black one. Hopefully, it makes a return someday.

Worst: 1993-1998

It’s not bad, but the logo looks strange. It’s a Trojan with its visor down, which is something that Troy had done before (1992) and after (199-2003) but this one is all black. That’s not a bad thing either, but on this particular logo, the visor looks like a giant cheerleading cone sticking out of its eye. Just bizarre.


Best: Unknown-1998

Contrary to South Alabama, this is close copy of a helmet that looks good. It has some major Florida State vibes to it, but the red and yellow combination is different to make the helmet its own. Even though it’s nice, it’s likely something we won’t see again.

Worst: L, 2017-present

I hate to keep piling on white helmets, but this one is another case of that combined with the logo. The logo, which is a word I use loosely, is a red “ULM” in a red circle that is way too small for the helmet. It looks like someone put a mini helmet decal on a full-sized helmet.