Good morning and Happy Hump Day, Cougs! The dog days are almost here, my friends. My Capitals bowed out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs surprisingly gracefully which has limited my interest in the rest of that season. I'll keep up with the NBA playoffs, but I have no real vested interest in that. We're almost to the point where we are only left with -gulp- baseball for a couple months until football season finally rolls back around. I'm sure many among you are clamoring for an in depth Euro 2012 preview, but I'll spare you (maybe) and at the very least try to keep things Pac-12 related. One of the easiest ways to do that is to start ranking things. If you're like me, you see an article that is some sort of ranking and you are 86% more likely to read the article. They're easy to devour, they make for excellent conversation starters and most importantly, they're easy for me to write. It can never be overstated just how lazy I am. We're going to kick off what will potentially be weeks of me arbitrarily assigning rankings to the Pac 12 with the logos. We all know who has the best logo in the conference, but where do the other 11 fall after that? I'm sure you're absolutely dying to know so get your jump on and let's do this.
1. Washington State
Am I biased? Of course I am. That said, we really do have a great logo. It's distinct, creative, stylish and basically any other good adjective you'd want to use. Need further prove that it's the best logo in college sports? My mom says so and she's always right. So there. OK, she might be a little bit biased to, but whatever. The only downside to Randall Johnson's masterpiece is that I cannot draw this sucker to save my life. I happen to be the worst artist on the planet so that's not saying much, but it still bugs me and severely cramps my doodling style. Other than that, best logo in the country.
You know what's cool? Buffaloes. Buffaloes are cool.
I'm not sure how exactly you make a buffalo with no face look mean, but whoever created this design did just that. I thought that perhaps buffaloes always looked mean no matter what, but then I remembered the ill-fated "Buffa-slug"and was reminded that this design could have really gone sideways. Regardless, that's a cool logo so congrats, Colorado. Having the second best logo in the Pac 12 is really quite an accomplishment. Keep that in mind once football season starts.
Simple, yet different. Kinda like Huddy
I assume that elementary school teachers have a fine appreciation for Cal's logo because of its effective use of cursive being that they're the only people on the planet who give a crap about cursive. Is that still a thing, by the way? I haven't been in elementary school for a while. Man, cursive was stupid, but I digress. I don't know what it is I even really like about Cal's logo. It isn't spectacular by any means, but the colors are nice and is just unique enough to stand out. They do some other things with bears and paw prints, but for me, just stick with the "Cal". You're good there.
"The block U isn't quite enough. You know what this thing needs? Feathers!"
I get that a simple block letter is a big part of brand recognition for colleges, but aesthetically speaking, it's not the most exciting concept ever so I appreciate that Utah spruced it up a bit and made a nice nod to the region's history at the same time. Good job by you, Utah. Now if you could just do something about this whole Utes thing.
I wonder if they had they red A first, then put the other stuff around it or if it was the other way around.
As long as they stay away from using this thing, Arizona is doing pretty well in the logo game. There's also this thing lurking with a glorious 1980's vibe. I wish I could have been party to the discussion when someone said, "Let's use a cactus for the I." and someone else decided, "No, people won't be able to figure that out. Let's leave the I, but put a cactus on top of it so that it looks stupid." I'm not sure how you win an argument by saying that it will look stupid and I also am not sure why I think logos are created in meetings like the one I picture in my head. I also really need to work on this digressing problem I have. Long story short, nice logo, 'Zona. A for effort. Hey-ooooooooo!!
Again with the cursive!
This is just a classic look and for me really fits as very So-Cal. We need to talk, though, UCLA. You've got to sort out your blue. Are you powder blue or dark blue? I mean, take a look here. You're all over the place. I prefer the light blue so you should probably go with that. Also, you should probably do away with the creepily happy bear that looks like he's squinting all the time.
I don't like to give Oregon credit for much, but their branding game is on point. It's hard to make an O distinct, but they've done exactly that. Now stop making the O with your hands please. It's annoying. Thanks!
8. Arizona State
Just bring back Sparky. Nobody fears forks. In fact, I quite like forks. They've been helping me eat for about 30 years and I appreciate them for that. If you're not going to bring back Sparky as a primary logo, I have another option for you. Just make this your logo and put it on everything.
9. Oregon State
Grrrrr! I'm a beaver!
I'll give OSU props for trying to create something modern and cool, but all that effort was wasted when the design turned out to be awful looking. There are plenty of animals in the world that I find menacing, but a beaver just isn't one of them so to try to make one look badass ends up just being silly. If the critter has to be in it, it should be this guy.
While scoring high marks in the "stuff I can actually draw" category, block letters as logos do next to nothing for me. USC rates slightly higher than Stanford even though they use the exact same S because it has an interlocking C. This isn't actually a function of creative design, though. It's just an initial thing. You'll also regularly see Trojans haphazardly scribbled above the SC or a tree in front of the Stanford S, but in both of those instances, it makes a boring, but fine looking design an ugly design. If I were USC, I'd put the trojan head on everything. I'd also move to a nicer part of town.
Last and most definitely least...
I've made my stance on the block letter pretty clear, but to take one and use purple? Yeah, that's bad. UW has distanced itself from the ferret logo which is good, I guess. Realistically, Washington could have the most stylish and cutting edge logo in the history of logos and it would still come in 12th on my list. Have I mentioned I'm biased?
Not to offend Utah fans too much, but I think the Utah logo looks the most like a small school high school helmet logo that I can think of. The lines aren't crisp at all. It is pretty much black lines. They aren't glossy, and the lines themselves look blocky and pixelated like they designed this thing on an old Apple 2E computer from my junior high days.
I also dislike the midget U. You've blown it up to match the size of the letters of the other logos here, but in reality the U is quite small.
I'm fine with the basic design of feather and drum, but they need to modernize it making the U larger, the black and red shinier, and the lines less blocky and pixelated. Modernize people! Otherwise, the Utes are in 10th on this ranking list.
Here is the newer logo it has been mainly used in baseball.
I am a beaver fan and I agree the logo you show here is awful. I do like there new OS logo, but the evil beaver is awful. Go with Benny or the OS.
The WSU logo looks like a high school logo drawn in an art class contest in the 1950s. Utah's logo feels like an assemblage of clip art. For me the order would be: Cal, UCLA, CU, Oregon, AZ St. (I did like Sparky better), ASU, SC, OSU, Stanford, Washington, Utah, then WSU.
@JustinKistner You do know you've all been trolled? RIght?
@JustinKistner You do realize that WSU's logo has been ranked as one of the best logos in the nation, marketing-wise, for many years, right?
@JustinKistner Your criteria for why the WSU logo is bad, applies EVEN MORE to most the other logos. Cal and Ucla - looks like some kid made those logos in cursive class.
@JustinKistner It wasn't so much your bizarre dislike of the greatest logo of all time (WAZZU, duh) that hurt you credibility as it was your ranking ASU behind "AZ St". That defies all laws of physics.
For the record:
Anyone reading the ESPN blog that posted the link to this page, under the comments I started a little arguement. I purposefully provoked and engaged in an immature argument for my own personal pleasure (aka I wasn't being serious). Although the things I said about myself were true, they were done in an amazingly immature artificial way. I enjoyed molding that argument.... like play-do.....
Great article and as a old Sun Devil fan I say bring back Sparky, When is someone going to create 12 teams beer cans ???? You know for the new 12 Pack (Pac 12) GO DEVILS
The official UW logo has a gold border around it. I like the other logos, but don't think you need to get all design-obsessed with it. Simple is better. Though Colorado's is awesome.
On another note: one of you needs to buy this. It's pretty tight. http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-WASHINGTON-ST-STATE-COUGARS-1931-ROSE-BOWL-POSTER-picture-pic-photo-/270859942780?pt=US_NCAA_Fan_Shop&hash=item3f1082bb7c
@UWJasonUW I've got it already as part of "classic" Washington State Cougar 12-month calendar. I wouldn't pay what they're asking there at ebay. It looks like a high schooler drew it. Right Justin?
@UWJasonUW Did you like the 80s/90s logo with the actual dog intertwined with the W? I always thought it was alright.
@LucasNurmi Yes...that was the best one by far. And the American Flag "W" we had for the 9/11 game last year was pretty special.
@UWJasonUW I bought that poster, from that seller in 2005 before Senior Year. It's an 11x17 he runs off a black and white copier. Looks like total shit unfortunately. It got knocked of my wall one night and the glass frame broke, so I tossed it. Good eye though, I bought this one instead and it's hanging in my living room :) http://www.jeffmcquarrie.com/i_1916rosebowlposter.htm
@UWJasonUW The Sutra was at that game.
I have four framed pictures of old game posters at my house, they're a nice addition if you can get the old lady to approve.
UCLA's logo is terrible. It's not even a proper acronym, i.e., "UCLA" ... it's "Ucla." How is that pronounced? Yoo-kla?
Too reminiscent of My Cousin Vinny.
@Evercoug Isn't that part of what makes it awesome? Haha, when I went to the football game at Martin Stadium, some Coug fans asked me what Utes are, and I thought about answering "Yooooouths," but decided it was a better teaching moment about American Indian culture.
@Longball @weiss.ac OK, I'll take the bait. I think that Zips is a fine nickname for a school, but only because it makes me think of milkshakes. Aggies? No. Hokies? Yes. Hilltoppers? Obviously. Terrapins? Occasionally. Tar Heels? Nope. Demon Deacons? Yes. Jayhawks? Absolutely. Orangemen? Yes. Orange? No. Illini? No (but only for spelling reasons). Nittany Lions? Big yes. Boilermakers? Maybe. Golden Flashes? NOOOOO. Aztecs? Negative. Crimson Tide? Sure, fine, but only most of the month. Commodores? Yes, as long as Lionel Richie is involved.
@weiss.ac No, yes and no. When we played Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl back in 2003, I actually did ask one of their fans for the background on the name. It wasn't intended to be derisive. I legitimately didn't know at the time.
@Huddy Do you say the same thing about Seminoles or Sooners or Buckeyes?
In a way, you answered your own question as to what's wrong with Utes. If people have to ask what it is, it may not be the strongest representation. That said, I actually looked into it for a post when Utah was joining the conference and can appreciate the historical significance. I'm unfortunately just prone to taking the obvious joke whenever possible. i.e. "Utes isn't a word. He he he."
Great topic in the off season. I have to agree with most of your points on these. WSU is easily number 1 and I think Colorado is a clear #2. Sparky would be #3, but the new ASU one would fall down a few pegs, just above the block letters, maybe even below. Utah dresses up the block letter so they fall in like you have them and I think Arizona dressed their's up as well so they fall in the top half. I think the tree in Stanford helps, they just don't use it enough. With the Tree, they raise above the other block letters for me, without, they move below the O as it is more creative. I think SC also moves above the other block letters because the interlocking ones are just cooler, well maybe not Oregon's old UO, but in this case and Oregon State's new one. I think that OS would move up behind SC. The current Beaver one, I might have to place them last. Just above them would be UCLA and Cal, as I just think the cursive looks dated and needs to go. The O and W are just above the cursive for me. So I would go like this:
1WSU, 2Colorado, 3Sparky, 4Utah, 5Arizona, 6Stanford(with tree), 7USC, 8O, 9W, 10Cal, 11UCLA, 12Beaver (would be 8 with OS)
Fantastic read, Huddy. Though I always think of the Trojan head (on their helmets) as being the SC logo. And the Trojan head looks great on those helmets.
Not a big fan of the Oregon 'O' on the helmet, but I love love love the helmets they wore for the Rose Bowl this year; totally cool.
Like the Beavers, don't love their logo. And Sparky is way better than the new fork helmet they now have.
Cal and UCLA are classic and look great. And you're right, the Colorado logo is excellent.
The husky 'W', like the Ducks' 'O', is not imaginative or interesting, but if put on the right helmet, can look good. The Ducks' charcoal gray helmet with the black 'O' looks great, and the gold uw helmets look good too. But the huskies' purple helmet with the gold 'W' back in the '90's wasn't so great. And by the way, I always liked the huskies' gold pants with the purple and white stripe down the side from a few years ago.
p.s. nice work, Ted Miller linked you!
Oh wow, that old Zona logo brings back some memories! Sean Elliot! Kahlid Reeves! Steve Kerr!
Both OSU and ASU made big mistakes ditching their old mascot logos. Sometimes when you go out of your way to impress the kiddies, all you end up doing is designing stuff that will be dated and require a re-do within 5 years.
Personally, I would move the Utah drum and feather to #2, but if the Sparky and the original Bennie Beaver were still in effect, they'd round out my top 4.
@Longball That old 'Zona logo just seems like it's perfectly suited for a hideous Aloha Bowl shirt from the 80's to me. Of course, I mean hideous in the best way possible.
UW is ranked WAAAYYYYY too highly here, I think somewhere around infinity-th would be more appropriate. Seriously, it's a purple W. Someone with the creativity of a rock could have come up with something better. Take Wisconsin - they used a W and made it their own.
Wouldn't it be difficult to be the one tasked with making the Beavs' logo? It has so much potential to be funny (think BAD funny) but you still have to keep it appropriate?! They have to play it safe and shouldn't be punished for it. I'd move them up to as high as 6 on your list. Otherwise well done.
I think ASU's old logo was pretty awesome. Where would you have had it slotted Huddy? Me thinks #2 or #3.
As much as I hate giving Oregon props, there's more to their "O" than just being an "O." The outside of the "O" is actually the shape of Autzen and the inside is the shape of their track. They actually put some thought into it and made it representative of two important features of their campus.
@BobWoodshed I'm totally behind "the Woodshed." I put Oregon squarely in the deuce spot. In a separate category, I would rank USC as the school that has the worst logo given that they should have one of the best logo "upsides" in the country....total underachievers...
Great work Huddy! Agree on #1 and taking out the homer element the WSU logo has been well-received nationally. On UW I am not a fan of the block W on its own but I do think it has a classic look on the gold helmets. Even I can admit the UW gold helmet is pretty cool. As to the Beavs, they are in a tough spot. I mean it's a BEAVER, I don't know how to dress that up! But I think they are doing their best with what they have. Also I do line UCLA cursive, but only on the gold helmets. It looks out of place elsewhere, and don't their home hoops unis have the block UCLA?
@SeanHawkins I actually like the interlocking "OS" that the Beavs use now and I'm not sure where it falls in their official branding, but I think at this point the beaver head one is the most identifiable nationally, which is unfortunate.
I'll begrudgingly agree on UW's helmet, but fortuantely they don't seem to know what their colors are anymore so they'll where the white one or wear the gold with black or do whatever else they can to look bad.