The lineup of college football helmets in 2012 features such colors as matte black, shiny chrome, battle-scarred silver and copper, and includes such design elements as glittering gold leaf and duck wings. The new looks—which, in many cases, are rolled out only once a season—are primarily efforts to boost school spirit and recruiting, as well as help goose athletic apparel sales. The mix-and-match unis were a novelty a few years ago but have now become commonplace. Even tradition-laden teams in the Big Ten have messed with their duds this season.
In its 30--27 win over Wisconsin last Saturday, Nebraska payed homage to the 1929 Cornhuskers. The Badgers wore a similar look to honor their '62 Rose Bowl team.
One of Missouri's new looks ditches the block m on the helmet for a snarling yellow tiger on a matte-black background—black velvet would be more appropriate.
One of 2012's few subtle designs belongs to Northwestern, which brought back the wraparound stripe across the chest and back of its uniforms from 1928.
For its tilt with Miami in Chicago this Saturday, Notre Dame will go with helmets covered in gold leaf and a giant fighting leprechaun. We'd be mad, too.
STEVEN BRANSCOMBE/ZUMAPRESS.COM (NEBRASKA)
ED ZURGA/GETTY IMAGES (MISSOURI)
NATE SHRON/GETTY IMAGES (NORTHWESTERN)
JOE RAYMOND/AP (NOTRE DAME)