Big Sky Conference


CAL POLY EASTERN WASHINGTON IDAHO
"Mustangs" "Eagles" "Vandals"
San Luis Obispo, CA Cheney, WA Moscow, ID
IDAHO STATE MONTANA MONTANA STATE
"Bengals" "Grizzlies" "Bobcats"
Pocatello, ID Missoula, MT Bozeman, MT
NORTHERN ARIZONA NORTHERN COLORADO PORTLAND STATE
"Lumberjacks" "Bears" "Vikings"
Flagstaff, AZ Greeley, CO Portland, OR
SACRAMENTO STATE UC DAVIS WEBER STATE
"Hornets" "Aggies" "Wildcats"
Sacramento, CA Davis, CA Ogden, UT

Historical Helmets

CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY

'B' 'A'
? - 1998? 2015 - 2016 1999? -
'C' 'D' 'E'
2017 - 2017 2018
'F' 'G' 'H'
2019 2021 - 2022 -
*see note 1 below
'I' 'J' 'K'
2022 - 2022 - 2023 -
*see note 1 below
'L' 'M' 'N'
2023 - 2023 - 2023 -
*see note 1 below *see note 1 below
'O'
2023 -

During recent years Cal Poly has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

I have received very little information about historical helmet designs for this team. The photograph below shows a design used by Cal Poly in 1982; the helmets are probably gold in color and have a strange logo that appears to consist of the front half of a horse's body which transitions into a "lightning bolt" towards the back of the helmet. I would greatly appreciate a clear photograph of this interesting design. I have been unable to locate even one photograph of Cal Poly helmets from 1983 through 1985 to show if this design remained in used during those years.

*1 The "805" logo (apparently representing the telephone area code for San Luis Obispo) on each of these designs is worn on the left side only; a different logo adorns the right side (as depicted below).

'G' 'J' 'M'
'N'

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EASTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

? - 1973 1974 - 1975 1976 - 1978
1979 - ? c.mid 1980s c.early 1990s
'B' 'C'
? - 1999 2012 - 2014
'D' 'E' 'F'
2014 - 2015 2015 - 2015
'G' 'H' 'A'
2016 2016 - 2000 -
'I' 'J'
2017 - 2018 -

During recent years Eastern Washington has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

EWU's team nickname was changed from "Savages" to "Eagles" in 1973. While researching this team's earlier helmet designs I noticed several photographs ranging from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s showing between one and five horizontal dark lines on some helmets, plus a few with an 'Indian head' logo, and a few plain black helmets; below are some photographs of these from the university's yearbooks:

While it is difficult enough to locate useful photographs from decades ago, it's even rarer to find an actual explanation of why a particular helmet design was in place, but a detailed one is provided in EWU's 1970 yearbook:

"Have you noticed those players on the team who have funny little strips of electricians' tape on their helmets, or Savage decals or even have their helmets painted all black? About 6 years ago, in 1963, Eastern's coach at that time, Dave Holmes, started what is called the "Hash Mark" system. Our present coach, Brent Wooten, was assistant coach and also uses this system. Coach Holmes started the Black Helmet system because he was looking for a way to give his boys an extra incentive to play harder and tackle cleaner. He felt that if nothing else Eastern would have a strong defensive team.

The "Black Helmet" system is basically a reward for each individual football player that gets what the coach calls a "good, clean hit" in either a football or a practice. "A good, clean hit" is defined as when an Eastern football player hits the opponent in the middle of the opponent's chest in such a way that the opponent's head snaps back. This can be done in either blocking or tackling. Only the coach can give these rewards which come in the form of "Hash Marks" made out of electricians' tape.

After a football player has earned 5 "Hash Marks" he gets a Savage head decal to put on one side of his helmet. Five more "Hash Marks" and he gets another Savage head for the other side of his helmet. On the fifteenth "Hash Mark" he is allowed to paint his helmet black."

It is my strong suspicion that many other teams during that era had similar schemes in place, which would explain the often non-uniform appearance of some teams' helmets at that time.

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UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO

? - 1964 1965 1965 - 1967
1968 - 1969 1970 1971 - 1975
1976 1977 1978 - 1979
1980 1981 1982 - 1994
November 17, 2007 1995 - 2007;
November 13, 2010
October 31, 2009
September 10, 2011 October 8, 2011 2008 - 2011
September 15, 2012;
September 22, 2012
November 24, 2012 2012 - 2015
'A' 'B' 'C'
November 28, 2015;
2016 -
2016 - 2016 -
'D' 'E' 'F'
2017 2018 2018
*see note 1 below
'G' 'H' 'I'
2018 2020* 2021*
*see note 1 below
'J' 'K' 'L'
2021 2021 2021
'M' 'N' 'O'
2021 2021 2021
'P' 'Q' 'R'
2022 - 2022 - 2022 -
'S' 'T' 'U'
2022 - 2023 - 2023 -
*see note 2 below

During recent years Idaho has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

Besides those depicted above there are three other "known" helmet designs which have been used by Idaho since 1960; below are photographs of these:

The first two photographs show a helmet design which was used during the early portions of the 1965 season. The unusual decal apparently represents a "horn" or "wing" or hybrid thereof, as suggested by the fact that the cartoon logo on the "1971-1975" helmet depicts a bearded "vandal" wearing a helmet with horns that look like a bird's wings. The "horn" orientation is visible in the first photo, while some of the "feather" detail may be seen in the second photograph. These decals were apparently gold in color, and are identifiable in photographs from the games against Washington State, San Jose State, Utah State, and Oregon.

In 1969 Idaho used a version of the "100" logo, as may be seen in the two small color photographs. While it was reported to me previously that Idaho's version of the "100" logo was black with white numerals, these photographs appear to indicate that the football-shape was probably blue with white numerals that were outlined in red (which is the version that most other teams used). The "100" decals were reportedly not used during the last two games of the season.

The third design shown above has been found to be the 1977 design; an earlier report that this design had been used during a 1972 game against Utah State was apparently incorrect. The helmet color is silver with black/gold/black stripes; the script "Idaho" logo is gold with a black outline.

*1 Previously I had a note here questioning whether designs 'E' and 'G' were both actually used, as silver and gold colors can be impossible to distinguish from each other if the decal material is highly reflective. I have now received confirmation from someone close to the team who has verified that a silver "Vandals" logo with black outline was indeed used September 8, 2018 (vs Western New Mexico), while a gold "Vandals" with black outline was used during four other games in 2018.

*2 On November 12, 2022 the number 82 was worn on the left side of each Idaho helmet in memory of former team member Collin Sather, who died in 2019; 82 had been his uniform number while at Idaho. The bearded Vandal logo worn on both sides of design 'R' was worn on the right side of design 'S'.

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IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY

1960 1961 1962
1963 1964 - 1965 1965
*see note 1 below
1966 - 1967 1968 1969
1970 - 1976 1977 - 1982 1983 - 1986
1987 - 1990 1991 1992 - 1996
1997 1998 1999
2000 2007 2008
'B'
2009 2010 2015 - 2016
'A' 'C' 'D'
2001 - 2006; 2011 - 2015;
2017 - 2018
2018 - 2021 2022
*see note 2 below
'E' (and 'E1') 'F' 'G'
2019 - 2022 2022 2023 -
*see note 3 below
'H' 'I' 'J'
2023 - 2023 - 2023 -
'K'
2023 -

During recent years Idaho State has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

The above are to the best of my knowledge the complete set of historical helmet designs for Idaho State for the period covered by this web site (1960 to present).

*1 Uniform numbers were added to the helmets for the last two games of the 1965 season.

*2 The logo is worn on the left side only of this design; uniform numbers are worn on the right side (as depicted below).

*3 The "IS" logo is worn on both sides of design 'E'; it is worn on the left side only of 'E1' while uniform numbers are worn on the right side (as depicted below).

*4 The state outline logo is worn on the left side only of this design; the number 208 is worn on the right side (as depicted below), apparently in reference to the telephone area code for Pocatello.

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UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA

1960 - 1963 1964 - 1967 1969
1968; 1970 - ? ? - 1976? 1977? - 1979
1980 - c.1985 c.1986 - 1987 c.1986 - 1987
*see note 1 below
1988 - 1995;
November 22, 2008
1996 - 2009 November 20, 2010
*see note 2 below *see note 3 below
'A' 'B' 'C'
2010 - 2013 2011; 2013 2011 (last two games)
'D' 'E' 'F'
2013 2013 2013 -
*see note 4 below
'G' 'H' 'I'
2013 2013 2013
'J' 'K' 'L'
2013 2013 2014
'M' 'N' 'O'
2014 2014 2014
'P' 'Q' 'R'
2014 2014 2014
'S' 'T' 'U'
2014 2015 2015
'V' 'W' 'X'
2015 2015 2015
'Y' 'Z' 'AA'
2015 2015 2016 -
'AB' 'AC' 'AD'
2016 - 2016 - 2016 -
'AE' 'AF' 'AG'
2016 - 2016 - 2016 -
'AH' 'AI' 'AJ'
2016 - 2016 - 2018 -
'AK' 'AL' 'AM'
2018 - 2018 - 2020 -
'AN' 'AO' 'AP'
2019 2022 - 2023 -

During recent years Montana has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

Montana's helmet design history is fairly clear for the period 1960 to 1967, and from the late 1980s to present, but considerable uncertainty remains for the intervening years (1968 to about 1987). Following is a summary of what is "known" and "unknown" about those years:

*1 During these years the bear logo was worn only on the left side; the "UM" logo shown on the next design was worn on the right side. The word "GRIZZLIES" in small letters was present beneath both of these logos.

*2 This design was brought back for use during the 2008 home game against Montana State.

*3 Worn during the 2010 home game against Montana State. The design included a very large, black "bear paw" logo at the back of the helmet, not visible from the vantage point used at this website.

*4 This design had a large gray or silver "bear paw" logo on the back side of the helmet, not visible from the vantage point used at this website.

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MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY

? - 1961 1962 - 1968; 1970;
1976 - 1981?
1982 - 1983
'B'
1984 - 1990; 2014 1991 - 1996;
September 23, 2006
1997 - 1999
'C'
November 19, 2011 2000 - 2012 2014 - 2015
*see note 1 below *see note 2 below
'D' 'E' 'A'
2015 - 2017 2015 2013 -
*see note 3 below
'F' 'G' 'H'
2016 2017 - 2017
*see note 4 below
'I' 'J' 'K'
2017 - 2018 - 2021 -
'L' 'M' 'N'
2021 - 2021 - 2021 -
'O' 'P' 'Q'
2022 - 2023 - 2023 -

During recent years Montana State has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

From 1971 through 1975 the design shown in the photograph below was used. The helmet shells were gold, with a "bobcat head" decal on both sides which was colored in blue, white, and red, with a yellow outline around it. I would greatly appreciate a copy of this logo from someone.

*1 Worn during the 2011 home game against Montana.

*2 Uniform numerals are worn on the left side only of this design; the right side has a large "bobcat head" logo (as represented below).

*3 Uniform numerals are present on the left side only of this design; the right side has a large "bobcat head" logo (as represented below).

*4 Uniform numerals are present on the left side only of this design; the right side has a large "bobcat head" logo (as represented below).

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NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY

? - 1998 1999 - 2004 2005 - 2009
'A' 'B'
2010 - 2013 2014 - 2014
*see note 1 below *see note 1 below
'C' 'D' 'E'
2015 - 2019 2015 2020* -
*see note 1 below *see note 1 below *see note 1 below
'F'
2023 -

During recent years NAU has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

*1 Uniform numbers are worn on the left side only of each of these designs; a logo is worn on the right side (as represented below).

'A' 'B' 'C'
'D' 'E' 'E1'

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UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO

? - 2001 2002 - 2005 2006 - 2007
2008 - 2009 2010 - 2013 November 22, 2014
'A'
2014 2015 2016 - 2019
'B' (and 'B1') 'C' 'D'
2016 - 2019 2016 - 2019 2017
*see note 1 below
'E' 'F' 'G'
2017 2017; 2021 2018
'H' 'I' 'J'
2018 2019 2019
'K' 'L' 'M'
2019 2021 2022 -
'N'
2023 -

During recent years Northern Colorado has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

  • 2023: F-M-M; M-M-M; M-M-N; N-N
  • 2022: M (entire season)
  • 2021: L-L-F; L-F-F; L-F-L; L-F
  • 2020: [no games played]
  • 2019: I-J-B; K-J-J; C-J-A; J-C-J
  • 2018: B-A-C; B-A-F; C-F-C; G-H
  • 2017: B-C-A; D-A-C; A-C-B; E
  • 2016: A-A-B; B-B-A; B1-B1-C; C-C

*1 Design 'B1' is identical to 'B' as seen from the left side, but has a different logo - a 'bear head' - on the right side (as represented below).

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PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY

c.1970 ? - c.1998 c.1999 - 2001
*see note 1 below
'A'
2002 - 2006 2007 - 2009 2010 - 2014
'B' 'C' 'D'
2010 - 2013 2011 - 2013 2011
'E' 'F' 'G'
2014 2015 2016
*see note 1 below
'H' 'I'
2016 - 2023 -

During recent years Portland State has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

  • 2023: H-H-H; H-H-H; H-H-H; H-I-I
  • 2017 - 2022: H (all games)
  • 2016: G-G-H; H-G-G; G-H-H; H-G
  • 2015: F (entire season)
  • 2014: E-E-E; A-E-E1; A-E1-A; A-?-A
  • 2013: B-C-C; C-A-C; ?-A-C; A-A-A
  • 2012: B-C-C; A-?-C; A-C?-?; C-?
  • 2011: B-A-A; A-C-C; A-?-A; ?-D
  • 2010: A-A-A; A-A-A; A-B-B; B-B

*1 Design 'E1' differs from 'E' in that the viking head logo (as on 'C') is worn on the right side of the helmet.

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CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO

? - 2001 2002 2003
2004 2005 - 2006 2007 - 2014
'A' 'B' 'C'
2015 - 2015 2016 -
*see note 1 below
'D' 'E' 'F'
2016 - 2016 - 2017 -
'G' 'H' 'I'
2018 - 2018 - 2019 -
'J' 'K' 'L'
2019 - 2019 - 2019 -
'M' 'N' 'O'
2021 - 2021 - 2021 -
'P' 'Q' 'R'
2021 - 2021 - 2022 -
'S' 'T' 'U'
2022 - 2022 - 2023 -
*see note 2 below
'V'
2023 -
*see note 3 below

During recent years Sacramento State has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

  • 2022: G-R-K; N-I-H; G-G-N; R-S-T; S (the last two games being NCAA Division I-FCS playoff games vs Richmond and vs Incarnate Word)
  • 2021: A-M-N; A-G-K; G-K-O; P-Q-A (the last game being an NCAA Division I-FCS playoff game vs South Dakota State)
  • 2020: [no games played]
  • 2019: A-I-G; A-J-A; A-H-J; K-K-L; D (the last game being an NCAA Division I-FCS playoff game vs Austin Peay)
  • 2018: A-A-G; D-D-D; A-A-H; H
  • 2017: A-A-D; D-A-D; A-A-A; E-F
  • 2016: A-A-C; C-D-D; E-A-C; E-A
  • 2015: A-A-A; A-A-A; A-B-B; A-A

I have not received much information about helmet designs used by Sacramento State before the 1990s, but it has been reporte to me that the "SAC" design was in use as early as the late 1960s. The team also apparently used yellow helmets during at least some years in the 1970s.

Some rather low-qualityp photographs from the 1969 season suggest that the team used yellow helmets with a green "S" on the sides, probably a green-white-green sequence of stripes, and a version of the college football centennial "100" decal worn at the back of the helmet.

*1 Uniform numbers are present on the left side only of this design; the right side has a very large "S" logo (as represented below).

*2 The logo is worn on the left side only of this design; uniform numbers are present on the right side (as represented below).

*3 The number 916 (apparently in reference to a local telephone area code) is worn on the left side only of this design; uniform numbers are present on the right side (as represented below).

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

'A' 'B'
? - 1999
November 22, 2014
2000 - 2016 2015 - 2016
*see note 1 below *see note 2 below
'C' 'D' 'E'
2016 - 2019 2017 2018 - 2019; 2021 -
'F' 'G' 'H'
2018 2018 2018
'I' 'J' 'K'
2019 2020* 2021 -
'L' 'M'
2021 - 2023 -

During recent years UC Davis has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

  • 2023: E-K-K; E-K-M; E-J-C; J-C
  • 2022: E-K-K; E-J-J; E-C-E; E-J
  • 2021: E-K-K; E-E-K; K-E-E; L-K-E (the last game being an FCS playoff game at South Dakota State)
  • 2020*: J (entire season)
  • 2019: E-E-C; E-E-C; C-E-C; C-I-I
  • 2018: E-C-F; C-E-C; E-E-C; C-G-H; E (the last two games being FCS playoff games vs Northern Iowa and at Eastern Washington)
  • 2017: C-C-C; C-C-C; C-C-C; D-C
  • 2016: A-C-C; C-B-C; B-B-B; C-C
  • 2015: A-A-B; B-B-A; B-B-A; A-A

*1 During the 2014 home game vs Sacramento State the script "Davis" logo was used for the first time in many years, but only on the left side of each helmet; on the right side was worn a "C" logo with a smaller "A" inside (as shown below). This is probably a reproduction of a logo used by the team during some previous decade.

*2 Uniform numerals are worn on the left side only of this design; on the right side is the script "Davis" logo (as represented below).

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WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY

c.1980s - 1996? 1997 1998 - 2000
2001 - 2005 2006 - 2011 2012 - 2014
'A' 'B' 'C'
2015 - 2016 2015 - 2017 2017
*see note 1 below
'D' 'E' 'F'
2018 2018 - 2021 2017 - 2022
*see note 1 below
'G' 'H' 'I'
2019 2019 2020 - 2022
*see note 2 below *see note 1 below *see note 1 below
'J' (and 'J1') 'K' 'L'
2022 2023 - 2023 -
*see note 1 below
'M' 'N' 'O'
2023 - 2023 - 2023 -

During recent years Weber State has used the following sequences of helmet designs:

  • 2023: K-L-M; E-L-M; L-K-L; N-O
  • 2022: I-F-F; I-F-F; J-I-J1; I-F-F; F (the last two games being FCS playoff games vs North Dakota and at Montana State)
  • 2021: F-F-I; I-F-E; I-F-F; F-F
  • 2020*: F-I-E; E-I-F (the last game being an FCS playoff game vs Southern Illinois)
  • 2019: F-G-G; E-E-F; G-F-F; H-F-G; F-G-F (the last three games being FCS playoff games vs Kennesaw State, vs Montana, and at James Madison)
  • 2018: F-D-D; E-F-F; F-D-F; F-F-D; F (the last two games being FCS playoff games vs Southeast Missouri State and vs Maine)
  • 2017: B-F-B; F-F-B; B-C-F; F-F-F; F-F (the last three games being FCS playoff games vs Western Illinois, at Southern Utah, and at James Madison)
  • 2016: B-A-B; A-A-B; A-A-B; B-A-A (the last game being a FCS playoff game at Chattanooga)
  • 2015: A-A-B; A-B-A; B-A-A; B-B

*1 The right side of each of these designs differs from the left side as depicted below.

'A' 'F' and 'H' 'I'
'J' 'J1'

*2 Uniform numbers are worn on the left side only of this design; a "wildcat head" logo is worn on the right side (hence the right side looks like design 'D' above).

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