We’ve ranked the top 14 Big Ten logos based on their overall design, uniqueness, recognizability, and permanence.
These are the current main logos only. All logos have been verified and provided via SportsLogos.net.
Read: Ranking Big Ten football uniforms from best to worst
Lily: Ranking Big Ten stadiums from best to worst
#14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
It’s the Big Ten so there are a lot of all-caps logos here. While some will be higher on the list due to the recognition they’ve earned, Rutgers R is just an R. It’s been their main logo since they left that Arena football resembling logo. The R logo also went to the helmet replacing this gem. Rutgers claimed to be “the birthplace of college football”. If they want to be simple and classic, then go with the flashbacks.
#13 Illinois Fighting Illinois
I made the polarizing choice to rank Illinois uniforms in the top 4. While my love for blue and orange was a big factor, it can’t do enough to help elevate Block I with rounded interiors. Illinois moved from its block italic font that was used everywhere, including on the helmets. I don’t hate the logo, it’s just hard to make it look cool.
#12 Nebraska Cornhuskers
The N block of Nebraska. Amazingly, they have been using this logo since 1970 when they left their UN logo. This is another logo that I don’t hate but doesn’t do it for me. It is very similar to many block logos that precede it. When I think of Nebraska, I don’t think of this logo. I think about this one, with Huskers included. Or the simplified helmet logo.
#11 Purdue Boilermakers
Although Purdue makes the black and gold color scheme look great on its football uniforms, it just doesn’t transfer over to its logo. The truth is, that’s the problem with gold. It requires reflection and shine, and you just can’t do that with flat colors. Tanning between black and gold aggravates the transformation from gold to brown. It’s still an upgrade on this version who just used yellow for gold. The blocky P italic is different and very recognizable as Purdue though.
#10 Maryland Terrapins
Here are the M’s! Your logo is an M and your colors are red and yellow and you don’t think of McDonald’s? Well, that’s a win in my book. It is one of the newer logos in the list after the use of Maryland this guy for years. It is a unique M which comes from their police and subtly displays the flag. It’s not something Maryland normally is famous for.
#9 Indiana Hoosiers
In the recognizable department, the interlocking UI is one of the most recognizable in college sports. The IS Indiana logo. This version was an alternate logo in the 90s before becoming the main one when Indiana moved away from it. shaded version. Extended blocks are a nice touch. There are a lot of blocky logos and a lot of nested logos, and Indiana’s is one of the best.
#8 Wisconsin Badgers
How to make a block logo unique? Clip art style arch! Here’s the thing, it works. This logo is cool and different and unmistakably Wisconsin. Before the change in the 90s, Wisconsin used this weird W with the block missing in the middle. Before that, there was the giant sans serif W that featured on the front and back of their helmets.
#7 Minnesota Golden Gophers
It’s ugly and perfect at the same time. It has long been a classic logo for Minnesota. For most of their ancient history they used various gopher logos. They also used Ms similar to those in Michigan. This flag from the 1950s features all three. Since the 80s, this logo has been the main exclusive. It is unique and recognizable only as Minnesota.
#6 Penn State Nittany Lions
How do you create a great logo for a program known to be logoless? At first, Penn State focused on the state and the lions, like this old drawing. They also used this S-block logo, which was the font’s influence on their recent flashbacks. This logo has been around since the 80s and is a classic. Way ahead of its time in terms of minimalist logos and perfectly suited to a program known for its simple, traditional uniforms.
#5 Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State block O has existed for a long time. They’ve used this version over the years and even more in recent years, but the Ohio State arch over the O is the main one. For a long time they used this online text version. Ohio State updated the logo and briefly ruined it with this excessively thick font. After the outrage of, well, everyone, they went with the solid but smaller text logo they have today. It is a classic and different version of the logo in capital letters. Iconic for scarlet and gray.
#4 Iowa Hawkeye
Tiger Falcon! One of only three main Big Ten logos that does not feature a letter. Discarded by Hayden Fry’s efforts to transform the Iowa curriculum, the tiger hawk was something different in a time of cartoon logos. It’s simple and timeless. It’s been on the helmet ever since. It is synonymous with Iowa and perhaps the greatest testament to a quality college logo, one of the most ripped off logos in high school sports.
#3 Michigan Wolverines
The M block is easily one of the most recognizable on this list. This version in some iterations was used until 1901. It is a certain endurance. However, the M wasn’t the main one until it first appeared with a wolverine in 1964. Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, Michigan used the M with Michigan, with a longer tip. As the 2000s dawned, Michigan featured countless M designs and color combinations. The single block M didn’t become the true primary until 2012.
#2 Wildcats of the Northwest
The Big Ten’s best all-caps logo belongs to Northwestern. Their cartoon 50s was one of the worst. Their main for a long time until 2012 was the N with a wild cat. The clean and simple version, they are now awesome. It is unique with the reverse slashes and purple and white. Thick and thin lines work perfectly with Northwestern’s embrace of the northwest stripe.
#1 Michigan State Spartans
The final Big Ten logo does not have a letter and is my best conference logo. This Spartan logo became mainstream in the 70s when MSU moved from its 50s cartoon logo, gruff. Previously, MSU had used a helmet logo briefly that sounded like USC. Although this great Spartan logo is the main one, the State of Michigan used its block S logo throughout the late 20th century. The Spartan logo appeared briefly in the ’90s before returning to the S block. It became permanent in 2003 and has truly been key to MSU’s branding efforts ever since. A change in Nike branding led to this 300 inspired logo that would never see the light of day. Despite Tom Izzo’s defense of the new logo, the revolt of alumni and students was enough for MSU to back down and keep its current Spartan logo. It was a smart decision. The lines are clean, it’s unique and timeless, and it’s the best logo in the Big Ten.
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