Rating the logos: More about Ws than cool

USUALLY IT HAPPENS in the lull between the end of the regular season and the start of bowl games. But this year it was a summer event: Someone with too much time on their hands and access to a website deciding they should pass judgment on the best logos in college sports.

Bleacher Report beat everyone to the punch this season with its recent "power rankings list of the top 75 logos."

(I know, I know, it won't be long until someone does a power ranking of college football's best practice facilities, or coach's hair, but I digress.)

Washington State is ranked No. 37. And No. 7 among Pac-12 schools.

No. 37?

Really?

Not as good as the weasel-looking Washington logo (the author isn't up to date on UW's logo, see below), or the ho-hum scripts of California and UCLA, not to mention the simpleton "O" at Oregon?

Sure, there can't be anything more subjective than ranking college football logos but we've got to quarrel a little here on Washington State's ranking of No. 37/7.

It's hard to know the author's criteria for these college logos, other than they simply "look awesome." The guess here is the rankings are primarily based on the success and tradition of the program, and to a far lesser extent, the look and creativity of the logo.

How else do you explain Michigan and Notre Dame as 1-2? Now, if this were about helmets, Michigan is in everybody's top five as the coolest in the land. But the block M logo? Simple, but hardly awesome.

There has to be some points for creativity in a logo, and whose Pac-12 logo is more creative than Washington State's? Who else found a way to smartly incorporate the school's letters into its mascot, as the Cougars did with W-S-U?

The author's comment about Washington State: "While the Washington State logo may not be flying off merchandise racks around the nation, one thing is for sure: You will always see it flying on Saturday mornings during College GameDay."

My comment: Well, duh. When you haven't played in a bowl game in seven years, merchandise tends to have the national popularity of Charlie Sheen handing out communion. According to The Collegiate Licensing Company, the top three schools during the third quarter of 2010 were Texas, Alabama and Florida. What do they all have in common? Each won a national football championship during the past five years.

Incidentally, Washington State merchandise was the 38th-best selling in the land. Coincidence with the logo ranking?

Again, rankings of college logos are highly subjective. Although most of us would have to agree – and I am an Oregon State graduate – that the Beavers have the worst logo in the Pac-12. Angry Beaver should never have seen the light of day.

That said, California's logo (No. 36/6), while traditional, is not better looking than Washington State's. And Washington's (No. 33/5)? I suppose I could argue that the old Husky inside the "W" could give WSU's logo a run, but a plain block "W" is no match.

Stanford is No. 22/4, and I'll admit, I like the festive red and green colors of the Cardinal logo. But again, that's what we're calling creativity these days, dropping a tree inside a block "S'?

There is something to be said about simplicity, and that's about all the credit you can give Oregon's "O" (No. 20/3). For a school that prides itself on cutting edge, the "O" is a downer, although I have to give them credit for marketing the hell out of that "O."

It might also represent the number of wins Oregon has left from 2010 once the NCAA gets done with the Ducks.

The Pac-12 leaders are, to no one's surprise, UCLA (No. 12/2) and USC (No. 8/1). Big markets, lots of success. But seriously, in both cases, it's about the program far more than the logo.

In no way would I suggest Washington State's logo is top 10, though it certainly could contend on originality alone. Unfortunately for logo-worthiness, tradition and success probably play a role. But somewhere at least around No. 25 would seem right.

Next up: Ranking of college football coaches' vertical leaps. (Hint: Joe Paterno didn't crack the top 75).

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