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Ranking the uniforms of every college football team in Texas

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Let the debate begin.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 11 UTEP at North Texas Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last year I went through and ranked every college football stadium in Texas, so this time around I thought I’d tackle something even more dear to my heart (and even more subjective): uniforms.

For this list, I limited it to only four-year colleges (so no junior colleges are on the list), but even with that limitation, there are 41 teams that make this ranking. We really do love us some college football in this state. I’ll also go ahead and say from the jump that, well, uniforms are all about personal preference, and some of the placements on this list will simply come down to originality or my own individual tastes. Also, uniforms change constantly, so if I didn’t get your teams’ most recent design, know that I did my best and I am sorry.

41. Sul Ross State

Alpine, TX

srlobos.com

Look, someone had to be last. This uniform isn’t awful, but they went a bit overboard with the red, and it looks especially jarring up against the dark gray. Some more white accents could go a long way in saving this look.

40. Midwestern State

Wichita Falls, TX

msumustangs.com

There’s nothing outright bad about this look, but it’s just a little too similar to Florida State’s uniform combos (some of their other looks make it even more obvious). This is actually intentional, as Midwestern State, now the Mustangs, used to be the Indians, and even had FSU’s spear helmet. Especially for the smaller schools, I love seeing quirky/unique uniform aspects and these don’t check those boxes.

39. Texas Southern

Houston, TX

tsusports.com

Obviously as an Aggie I love maroon, as well the block T logo with smaller letters on either side. But Texas Southern could do well to simplify their look (as is the trend on college football at the moment). The gray logo with a maroon state silhouette on a white helmet gets muddled from any considerable distance, and the sleeve cap accents are the definition of superfluous.

38. Texas College

Tyler, TX

tcsteerathletics.com

Nothing wrong with these uniforms, just nothing particularly remarkable about them either. Like Texas Southern, they could probably do with a simplified helmet logo (and while it’s not their fault, man do I dislike that Adidas cheetah print/tire tread uniform template).

37. UT Permian Basin

Odessa, TX

utpbfalcons.com

All black doesn’t always work, but the bright orange accents really make this uniform pop. That said, I don’t envy these guys having to wear these in those September games.

36. Lamar

Beaumont, TX

Getty Images

Points deducted from being a bit of a Texas Tech knockoff (thanks Under Armour), but red and black always looks solid.

35. Tarleton State

Stephenville, TX

thespectrum.com

One of a surprising number of purple uniforms on this list, but Tarleton’s just land’s a bit too close to the TCU aesthetic for my tastes. Once again, originality goes a long way for these smaller schools.

34. Houston Baptist

Houston, TX

hbhuskies.com

Serious Boise State vibes from Houston Baptist, but I have to admit it looks good.

33. Abilene Christian

Abilene, TX

Getty Images

Another purple uniform, though I appreciate how ACU minimized the use of black here *and the player numbers on the left side of the helmet is a fun touch).

32. Texas A&M Kingsville

Kingsville, TX

javelinaathletics.com

The blue and yellow works very well together, and the script “Javelinas” on the helmet is something you don’t see all that often.

31. Mary Hardin Baylor

Belton, TX

cruathletics.com

Under Armour is at it again with their very distinctive uniform template. But Mary Hardin Baylor’s color scheme does it a lot of favors.

30. Howard Payne

Brownwood, TX

hputx.edu

Howard Payne’s color scheme (navy/gold) and overall design may not be anything remarkable, but they keep it clean and classic-looking. And man, I absolutely love the “STING ‘EM” on the chest. That’s the kind of cheesy stuff small schools should gravitate toward.

29. Incarnate Word

San Antonio, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another example of red and black just going together so well. Slight points off for having a cardinal mascot but making the bird white on your helmet.

28. UT El Paso

El Paso, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UTEP comes in as the lowest-ranked FBS school on this list. The blue and orange is a solid color scheme, but the uniform combos they use just seem to be trying a bit too hard and somewhat ruin it. Keep reading to find a school that does it a bit better.

27. McMurry

Abilene, TX

mcmurrysports.com

McMurry keeps it simple with maroon and white, and it totally works. The wing accents on the sleeves give the uniform just enough personality without being over the top.

26. Austin College

Sherman, TX

austincolleg.edu

Did anyone else always assume that Austin College was in Austin? No? Just me? Well anyway, this is a rock solid look and a unique mascot. The only fault I can find is that it’s very reminiscent of the very similar-sounding Boston College, as well as a larger school you’ll see later in this list.

25. Southwestern Assemblies of God

Waxahachie, TX

sagu.edu

Hey look, more purple. But I love the super simple look to these uniforms, including the matte helmet.

24. East Texas Baptist

Marshall, TX

goetbutigers.com

This all white look really slaps, and I’m a fan of the Tiger logo within the state of Texas silhouette.

23. Wayland Baptist

Plainview, TX

wbuathletics.com

I’ve said several times that I like to see small schools do something against the grain, and this definitely qualifies. Monochrome blue but with a two-tone helmet. And the pops of yellow do just enough to make it all work.

22. Angelo State

San Angelo, TX

angelosports.com

Is it very derivative of the LA Rams look? Yes. Does it still look really good? Yes.

21. Prairie View A&M

Prairie View, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s LSU Tigers meets Dillon Panthers. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?

20. Sam Houston State

Huntsville, TX

NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The reigning FCS champs! Sam Houston has always rocked orange well, but it looks especially good with their simplified design that basically eliminates blue (which is good since UTEP and UTSA already use those colors). Speaking of which...

19. UT San Antonio

San Antonio, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UTSA’s overall aesthetic looks a lot like UTEP’s, only they do so in a more cohesive and visually interesting way. Especially in this image, you can see how much more UTSA’s orange pops.

18. Hardin-Simmons

Abilene, TX

reporternews.com

That’s now three Abilene schools on this list. Who knew they were the epicenter of Texas college football? But of the three, Hardin-Simmons tops the list, as I love their Cowboy logo, and especially it’s oversized use on the helmet. It makes a bold statement that complemented off with a simple design on the rest of the uniform.

17. Texas Tech

Lubbock, TX

Getty Images

I’m gonna get some hate for putting Tech this low, but Power 5 teams are held to a higher standard. The Red Raiders are all over the map when it comes to their uniform combos, which for a good while was very en vogue in college football, but the result is a diminished visual identity. They seem to have leaned more heavily into red being a primary color recently after decades of favoring black. They have not only three standard helmets but have also worn multiple throwback helmets in recent seasons. Also their throwback set it very similar to their current standard uniform, which makes the throwback almost not worth having at all. Tech has the potential to be a much better uniform, but they need to streamline their combos and stick with a consistent look for more than just a couple of seasons in order to get there.

16. Texas Lutheran

Seguin, TX

texasfootball.com

Much like UT Permian Basin, Texas Lutheran’s all black design works because they have a nice contrasting color, and kept the overall design relatively simple.

15. Stephen F. Austin

Nacogdoches, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wearing purple while also wearing Northwestern stripes certainly borders on being derivative, but I have to say, the result is still pretty darn solid.

14. Southwestern

Georgetown, TX

southwestern.edu

A unique logo, an underused color palate and a classic uniform design scores Southwestern high marks from me.

13. Texas Wesleyan

Fort Worth, TX

ramsports.net

Wesleyan pairs a classic color combo with an old school design and the result is fantastic. Bonus points for using a Rams logo/helmet design other than the one used by the NFL team.

12. West Texas A&M

Canyon, TX

gubuffsgo.com

The white helmet with the maroon jersey/pants really pops, and I love the large “WT” logo. So simple but so effective. And of course I had to get an A&M System school into the 12th slot. #branding

11. Houston

Houston, TX

Getty Images

Absolutely nothing wrong with these uniforms. A classic design. Though as much as it goes counter to my critiques of other uniforms, I find myself wishing UH would take a few more risks with this one.

10. Baylor

Waco, TX

Getty Images

Baylor underwent a big brand refresh several years ago that unified all of their athletic teams under a single set of logos, colors and fonts, and as a principle, I’m a big fan of this concept. Unfortunately, this effort saw the football program ditch their traditional gold for more of a canary yellow, and while this can create some interesting looks, I’ll just never think this looks better than this.

9. Texas A&M Commerce

Commerce, TX

lionathletics.com

I’m not a fan of the random stripes on the pants, but man do I love that Lion logo and how they use it on the helmet. So so slick, and it gets them into the top 10 on my list.

8. Trinity

San Antonio, TX

afca.com

I love love love this helmet design. The state of Texas outline (which we’ve seen used numerous times on this list) while still prominently displaying the school name. I wish the jersey fonts more closely matched the one on the helmet, but that’s a small gripe on an overall great design.

7. North Texas

Denton, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Green is such a great color when used correctly, and UNT absolutely nails it with this design. No superfluous elements, and the eagle logo on the helmet is a nice change up from the standard NFL-inspired wing designs you so often see.

6. Texas Christian

Fort Worth, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’ve always loved TCU’s purple and block color combo, and I think it’s between them and Northwestern for who really “owns” this color combo in college football. Their current collar design nudges right up to the edge of being too much, but I actually dig it, because you don’t see anything like it on any other team.

5. Texas State

San Marcos, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Texas State recently went to this old school design, and I absolutely love it. It lets’ their color scheme and relatively unique Bobcat mascot do the heavy lifting.

4. Rice

Houston, TX

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’ll always be a sucker for Rice’s old english style “R” logo. It looks so great on the navy helmet with a gray facemask. If they went a bit more throwback with their jersey fonts they might have even challenged for the No. 1 spot.

3. Texas

Austin, TX

Getty Images

Some might say this this is just my maroon-colored glasses clouding my judgement (and they may be right), but hear me out. Texas undoubtedly has a classic, iconic uniform. But there are a couple of small things (and at the top of this list, the small things matter), that have caused this uniform to take some steps backward in recent years. First of all, despite what they claim, the orange has without question gotten lighter in recent years, looking more like Oklahoma State than it does the burnt orange of their heyday. Recent seasons have also seem them add a longhorn logo on the collar, and widening the “TEXAS” wordmark on the chest compared to what it used to be. It leads to a jersey that can end up looking very cluttered, and that cost them a spot in the top two. Sorry, Longhorns.

2. Texas A&M

College Station, TX

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

A&M did a major refresh of their uniform in 2020, and boy did they hit a home run. They found the perfect marriage of going back to an old school design while still maintaining more modern fonts. The glossy helmet in particular is such a welcome change. A&M’s previous set was certainly unique, but was also very busy, and a bit of a remnant of a different era. This new set looks much more timeless. But due to my unwavering objectivity, it is not No. 1.

1. Southern Methodist

(Dallas, TX)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

SMU spent a few years not getting this quite right, but their current set is close to perfect. They balance the red and blue so well, and the Ford SMU Mustang logo on the white helmet is so classic. They do suffer from a bit of the same thing Texas does with the smattering of patches at the top of the jersey, but the collar logo/chest wordmark being smaller help mitigate that admittedly small critique.

These awesome uniforms must be why they’re getting all the recruits.

Feel free to roast my rankings in the comments.