The flash point for this happened in November 2006 when Michigan and Ohio State were both undefeated and ranked #1 and #2 in the polls. Following an epic (and painful for me) contest there was a lot of talk of a BCS title game rematch (I wanted nothing to do with a rematch). The SEC PR engine (cough, cough, CBS sports) started up hasn't slowed down since.
The recent conversations about adding a 12th team and a championship game got me thinking: What would a B11 makeover look like? I decided to start with the helmets. Rather than just choose a few, I decided to include everyone. I realize that in most cases, a change is ridiculous. But hey, we are in the off-season and content is hard to come by.
I know, I know... I have too much time on my hands. In any case, I would be interested in hearing which of these you like best, which one you think is the worst, and any additional concepts or ideas you may have.
|Illinois: This one is the most simple and obvious needed change of the group. The hideous orange version the current Illinois helmet is embarrassing. I know the NCAA would have a problem with using the Native American imagery, but I don't care. I also don't think the non-existent Illini Indian tribe would either.|
|Northwestern: I have nothing against the current Northwestern helmet, but this is a complete overhaul project and everyone needs to participate. I went through a couple of iterations of this before I just settled with the simple text design. The actual Wildcat logo is an amateurish drawing and did not work for me.|
|Wisconsin: I am a big fan of the mascot paw track. Not many people know this, but Wisconsin actually uses a Badger Paw as a trademarked logo. I included the classic Wisconsin "W" to eliminate confusion on which school is wearing these helmets.|
|Michigan State: Sparty changes their design a lot, but they have never used anything other than a green helmet (in the modern era). After attempting to design a black helmet and a silver helmet using a Spartan image, I settled on this white version. MSU uses the state of Michigan on their basketball court.|
|Minnesota: Of all the helmets in this project, I think I like this Gopher one the best. In fact, I had to stop myself from using other cartoonish mascots for more schools because I loved this one so much and did not want to dilute its awesomeness.|
|Purdue: The Boilermakers rolled out all black helmets for the 1989 and 1990 seasons, but for the most part they have always been a gold with the Purdue "P" team. The smoking train logo is way cool and should be used more.|
|Indiana: Indiana is one of the more difficult teams in the B11 to work with graphically. There exists no Cornhusker like cartoon Hoosier and there really isn't an alternative to the standard interlocking IU logo. Quite honestly even that looks like the greek letter psi. So I just made something up using a block I and the state of Indiana.|
|Iowa: I think the current Iowa Hawkeye logo is one of the best primary trademarks in the NCAA. As such, I saw no need or had no desire to change their outstanding and distinctive design.|
|Penn State:This when I expect the rotten tomatoes to start flying. From what I can tell, the current simple white helmet is as important as Joe Paterno himself. I went with the equally bland blue helmet with numbers as they had from '68 to '74.|
|Ohio State: Before I start getting death threats over the loss of the Coors Light Silver Bullet design - you need to remember the Buckeyes wore scarlet helmets during 1966 and 1967 seasons coached by Woody Hayes himself. I resisted the temptation to put the cartoon version of Brutus and kept the chronic atta boy stickers.|
|Michigan: I realize I am biased, but I think the existing Michigan helmet is a work of art. Attempting to make-over the winged helmet is like asking someone to augment the Mona Lisa. It just doesn't feel right. My first idea was to design a wolverine version of the USFL Michigan Panther helmet, but I couldn't get it right. So I just reversed the colors and turned my head away in shame.|
HT: Davidson at Chris Creamers Sports Logos Forum for the incredible helmet template.
1/14 edit: This post has generated a lot of interest (and hits). As you expect, everyone has their own opinion. Just so my intention is clear to anyone reading this -- This is nothing more than an conceptual off-season conversation starter. I DO NOT think that the teams from the B11 need to change their helmets (except Illinois). As a conference, we have some of the best helmet designs and color combos in the country. I was just playing around. If you don't like what I have done, fire up your computer and share your own ideas.
For my next project, I may do an SEC helmet makeover next just to see if I can piss them all off too.