The 14 artsiest team logos in college football history

Artsiness isn't necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. What we have here: a dozen team logos that depart boldly from the traditional and should probably be preserved in one museum or another.

Via the indispensable

Alabama, 1952 to 1958


Certain there's a reason why Alabama's mediocre 1950s teams were represented by a sad elephant displaying ice cream. I prefer to leave that reason to the imagination, however. Please never spoil the secrets contained in this image.

Feel like this is the art someone from 1932 Belgium would've created if asked to encompass Alabama football. I know very little about both 1932 and Belgium.

Arizona, 1972 to 1976


The authentic Navajo script for "University of Arizona Wildcats athletics," probably. Probably not, no. Using actual Native symbols can make for beautiful, meaningful team marks, but at least the thought counts here, maybe?

UA could use a Kokopelli doll as its logo, since these things are already everywhere in the state.

Buffalo, 1997 to 2006


Graffiti is art. This work of graffiti was discovered in the haunted Buffalo Central Terminal rail station, one presumes. Either that, or it's car hood art.

Just a touch of teal away from being the extreme of the 1990s MORE GLOSS AND MORE TEAL AND MORE ANGER AND MORE ANGRY GLOSSY TEAL logo trend.

Might also be a new school tattoo.

Charleston Southern, 1964 to 1990


You drew this in eighth grade home room and were never compensated for it.

Cincinnati, 1983 to 1989


Too horrific to have ever served as the mark for an amateur athletics program. Must be some black metal thing. Do not invert this logo while standing indoors at night.

Columbia Lions, 1957 to 1970




East Carolina, 1988 to 1998


Might have been drawn by the artists responsible for Adult Swim's "Mr. Pickles." Only seek more information about that program if you'd like to feel ashamed of yourself for possessing it.

Anyway, the skull's about to throw up.

Kansas, 1923 to 1928


The entire Kansas logo history is pretty neat, as it's basically been the same thing for 102 years, with fluctuations in the bird's leg length and temperament (it got really pissed off during the exact years of the United States' World War II entry, then mellowed back out) and such.

This mellow little fella is the artsiest one. Let's poll Twitter about him.

Pretty sure Draw Something is the correct answer, except for the part about it being a bad Draw Something. It's excellent, whether it was made in Draw Something or not.

Here's what it made me think of:

Navy, 1998 to present


Satan, as drawn by Jack Chick on his subtlest day. With some school colors added in later.

San Diego State, 1997 to 2001


As a design item, quite the standard modern athletic logo. Big colors, bold and distinguished lines, shapes that translate to merchandise of any size ... plus it's clever and instantly memorable.

But let's really think about what's being depicted here. That's a temple like the kind on which the Aztecs sacrificed humans, gouging their still-beating hearts out before shoving their bodies down the stairs (their half-corpses bouncing and splattering blood all the way down the "T") to be dismembered and eaten. Like, SDSU might as well have used [bloody!] this as its logo.

A temple like the kind on which the Aztecs sacrificed humans.

Such subversive brutality. It speaks of the athlete's fleeting physical presence and the NCAA's ownership of its human assets and the ever-replenishing cycle of eligibility years, does it not? Let it resonate within you.

Knew there was a reason we were always mortally terrified of Ted Tollner's Aztec football teams.

Savannah State, 2001 to 2011


One of the coolest logos ever. Could function as actual art art. I do not know what it means.

South Florida, 1997 to 2002


Is this the logo of:

  • A: A Mexican beer?
  • B: A credit card company?
  • C: A "BioShock" XBox achievement?


Valparaiso, 2000 to 2010


Children's art is art.



Yale, 1998 to present


If you do not laugh for an entire minute at the idea of a bulldog moving so rapidly that it demands seven motion lines, you have never observed a bulldog. You should go watch a bulldog for a while and then come back and look at this logo. This whole process will fill you with joy.

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