I just read some stupid website that ranked the top 10 college logos, and they put Clemson's paw print first. Now, I may be a little biased towards the Irish, but a paw print is neither original or creative. Also, I do not see a paw print and immediately think Clemson - I think oh, how cute, some little kids football logo - the bears or cubs or somesuch.
So, I will now attempt a list of the 10 best college logos. For the sake of this list I considered the best combination of the mascot caricature and/or lettered logo. So, the Irish get bonus points for both the leprechaun logo and the interlocking ND. So, let's begin:
Notre Dame Fightin' Irish
The most recognizable pair of logos in college sport. (I admit, I'm biased, but there are few logos that are as recognizable in college sports; only the Yankees logo and Dallas Cowboys star are comparable)
Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State is one of those rare logos that stands alone, so much so that there is no "letter logo." Just the Nittany Lion is enough. Classic.
Again, a logo so distinctive, it stands alone. Hook 'em Horns.
(Usually, these logos stand alone without the accompanying name - the site I've been referencing for these logos doesn't actually have the logos I wanted)
Duke Blue Devils
This is one of those logos that has it all - the letter, the mascot, the recognizability. High marks.
I hate the Hurricanes, and I find their "mascot logo" to be tacky. However, the "U" does clearly belong to Miami, so much so that they've taken to calling themselves just "The U." So, I begrudgingly put them high on my list.
University of Southern California Trojans
One of the true classics, the simple, understated design has become recognizable through the years as SC has worked to become a legendary university in football. Thus, they get a boost, despite lacking in creativity.
Much like the Irish, the Hoyas have a clearly recognizable mascot. Unlike the Irish, however, the Hoyas letter logo leaves something to desired, and dropped them down in my rankings.
Washington State Cougars
Possibly the most creative logo to make the list, this one gets high marks for seamlessly combining the "mascot logo" with the "letter logo." If only they were good enough at anything to be more recognizable...
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State would be higher on my list, as Brutus Buckeye is a good mascot caricature, and the Ohio State logo is very distinctive. Also, they do have a high "recognition" factor. However, I have a soft spot for logos that don't hit you over the head, as Ohio State's does - a simple OSU logo would have impressed me more.
Another great logo that requires no letters to be clear who they are referring to (ala Penn State and Texas). However, the logo is not as recognizable as some others.
Honorable Mention (alphabetical order):
Next Week: Helmets