College football is a winning business. On-field success is the ultimate determining factor for coaches, players, and fans. Get the job done any way you can, substance over style. Yet, college football style is a key component of what makes the game so aesthetically pleasing. Incredible CFB uniforms go hand in hand with the pageantry that separates the nation’s favorite sport from anything else. With that in mind, who boasts the best college football uniforms?
5 best uniforms in college football
“You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good.” While Deion Sanders’ famous words might not be 100% statistically and scientifically proven, if they were, these five teams would be right at the top of CFB for years to come. Our rankings of the best CFB uniforms consider the standard uniforms that the program rolls out every week combined with the ability to produce one-offs and throwbacks of scintillating stylistic value.
5) SMU Mustangs
A team rich in history, and one of the most offensively exciting programs ahead of the 2022 college football season, the SMU Mustangs back up an enticing on-field product with visually pleasing uniforms. Their standard home uniforms have a clean look, with the blue jerseys set off by crisp sleeve stripes and complimentary white pants. The red mustang on the white helmet is also a strong look.
However, they take style to another level with their range of “Dallas” special editions that replace the standard SMU work mark on the chest plate with a Dallas script. Furthermore, the accompanying alternate helmets with a special three-stripe D engulfing the mustang logo are a work of art. Available in traditional blue or all-white alternates, these one-offs are comfortably among the best uniforms in CFB.
4) Army Black Knights
Black and gold are iconic colors. Sam Sparro, Katy Perry, and the Guillemots all sang about them, so they must be. The two go together perfectly, and it would be nearly impossible to create anything but a visually stunning uniform when those are the primary colors of your CFB program’s logo. Such is the case for the Army Black Nights, whose regular uniforms are predominantly black with gold detailing. Those are finished off with gold helmets.
In what has become one of the greatest college football traditions, however, Army does battle with their rival service academies both in football and in fashion. Their rivalry game with Navy has become a “must-watch” for uniform enthusiasts. In recent years we’ve been treated to “1st Cavalry Division,” “United We Stand,” and “Tropic Lightning” editions that combine eye-catching designs with poignant reminders of a purpose beyond football.
While their regular uniforms lack behind their service academy rivals for pure aesthetic brilliance, Navy’s alternates for the aforementioned rivalry game never fail to hit the spot. Last year’s “Fly Navy” was one of the most beautiful CFB uniforms ever produced.
That isn’t an exaggeration. A pure navy blue jersey was offset with a single star and red and white stripes on the sleeves. The uniform carried the patch of the US Atlantic Fleet on the left breast. Meanwhile, the special edition helmet comprised the US Military roundel on one side and a Super Hornet jet on the reverse side. It’s a spectacular piece of craftsmanship that earns Navy their position in these CFB uniform rankings.
2) North Carolina Tar Heels
In the early 1990s, the University of North Carolina announced an apparel deal with the Jordan Brand to provide — amongst other things — uniforms for their college football teams. Since then, the Tar Heels have produced stunner after stunner after stunner when it comes to CFB uniforms. The success of this partnership was reflected in a 10-year extension to the collaboration that will run until 2028. May it continue forever. Amen.
North Carolina’s baby blue uniforms are a work of art. There’s simply no other way to describe them. Working around a primary color of baby blue, they have a vast stable of simply gorgeous uniforms. All of these, from a darker blue to crystal whites, incorporate this baby blue in an understated but classy way, with sometimes the simplest of minor alterations to detail having the effect of creating a new timeless classic.
1) Oregon Ducks
If you’re trying to purchase every uniform that the Oregon Ducks churn out year on year, you better be approaching this conquest with extremely deep pockets. The program has more uniform changes per season than the most elaborate Broadway show. Remarkably, almost every single one is a masterpiece in itself. Like UNC perched just below them in these CFB uniform rankings, the Ducks have a collaboration with the Jordan Brand.
Yellow. Green. White. Black. Eggshell. Blue. Silver. Name a color, and the Ducks have likely worn it in recent times. “Eggshell isn’t a color,” we hear you cry. Maybe, maybe not, but check out last season’s eggshell uniform, and you’ll agree it’s beautiful. They’ve run black uniforms with pink numbers. They’ve trimmed jerseys with — depending on your eyesight — feathers or angel wing patterning. The Ducks have become synonymous with style and innovation. And for that, we’re truly grateful.
Honorable mentions for CFB’s best uniforms
- Ole Miss Rebels
- Tulane Green Wave
- Vanderbilt Commodores
- Miami Hurricanes
- TCU Horned Frogs
- Boston College Eagles
- Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
- Arizona State Sun Devils
- Tennessee Volunteers
- Utah Utes