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Let's Talk About Spelling Team Names on Logos

There's nothing quite like telling everyone your team name in giant letters on your logo.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So I'm thinking about ideas to write about during the off-season "Let's Talk" series and I come across this re-tweet in my timeline:

As many of you know I'm always interested in the way sports teams market themselves, build their brands, create uniforms, logos, colors, etc. so this piqued my interest. I'd previously been aware that an obscene amount of NBA teams incorporate a basketball into their logo but sure enough each club also adds a team name as well:

NBA logos

Only the Bulls, Timberwolves, Bobcats, Bucks, Grizzles, Spurs, Blazers, Warriors, Rockets, and Nuggets have a logo without a basketball, for the record.

The Raptors new logo for 2015-16 did its best to copy the Nets. The Bucks went with nightmare white eyes on a "M" deer neck. The Wizards are making leaps and bounds of improvements next year. The 76ers basically touched up their logo. And the Clippers decided switching to this is an improvement. All five feature team names as part of the logos. Although, the Hawks brought back their "Pacman" logo this past season and are transitioning that to primary status with a new touch, in addition to possibly adding a new alternate logo and team colors. Yikes.

*Note: In doing a little research it appears the NBA requires every franchise to have the city and/or team name on its primary logo, plus a basketball must be incorporated into either the primary or any secondary logos.

The brand crazy NFL only has 3 teams featuring team names on their logos: Jets, Raiders, and Steelers. The latter two really don't even need the script so it's the Jets as the one big culprit. This is interesting that the NFL is so nameless heavy despite the fact that the league has even branded the crap out of the teams' name fonts.

Let's power rank the college football teams with team names in their logo!

*Note II: I'm not including logos that feature the script "state" as it's too generic and I'm not including logos that incorporate school letters such as TCU, UCLA, and Kentucky. If there's one thing colleges love it's using letters instead of full names and I'd be here all day talking about them.

Ranking the NCAA Football Teams With School Name on their Logo

Louisiana Tech

This has always worked for me. I've never been able to explain it. I have an irrational (I think?) love for this and it makes no sense.


Marshall has been putting out high quality logos and branding for 15 years. "The Herd" feels necessary with so much block "M" teams out there. It works well.

Appalachian State

Just sneaking in the list due to the wordmark inside the "A" that is so small it's difficult to read. If you can't tell it says, "Suck it, Michigan."


The "A" is too similar to the Braves so isn't used by itself all that much. I wish they'd adopt the elephant full-time.


It's got a flag pole. Bonus points. Plus, I've always enjoyed the style and color of the script.

Ohio State

This has never made sense to me. The Big Ten is littered with schools calmly relying on block letters. And perhaps the best of them all scrawls these black letters across what could be such a unique logo.


I prefer either version of USC's Trojan logo over this. I guess you could say without the script this logo is pretty boring so in that light I kind of like it.

Louisiana Lafayette

Technically, Louisiana Lafayette uses this logo more often but either way both logos would land on the list. It's not great but it's always done a good job of getting that Cajun feeling across to viewers.

Ole Miss

It's just like Cal but a little better.


You have to feel for small schools. They could create an impressive stand alone sword logo but they're scared to leave out their name.

New Mexico

I've never hated this one. I'll give it that much.


Berkeley re-branded a couple years ago but hasn't dropped this boring word mark.

Western Michigan

The horse is good enough!


A husky is one of my favorite things in the world. Unfortunately, this is the worst husky logo of them all.

Old Dominion

A lion with a crown offers so much promise (see, the Premier League). The text ruins everything, and the "D" is hiding the "O" too much.


I suppose a school can't expect to just put a light brown bobcat out there and expect us to remember the program.

Florida Atlantic

Bonus points for the feathers coming off the "F" and the "U" but they could have just left it at that, no?

Georgia Southern

Few things are worse than listing your full school name with a common mascot logo.

Georgia State

Georgia State Panthers (2010 - Pres)

This looks very similar to a re-brand my local D-3 SUNY school did a few years ago. That's not a compliment.


Not much for the Vandals to do here except re-work this goofy dude.

South Alabama

I don't mean this in a funny or disrespectful way but this logo has always looked like the unfortunate people who get major burns on their face and get plastic surgery to repair the damage.


The Minutemen used to have serviceable logos at best. Now, it just makes me want to cry.


This is the worst logo in North American sports.