NCAA Team Apparel: How To Pick Winning Gear.

NCAA football game sideline

Some of my favorite apparel to wear is from the NCAA.  Whether it be a NCAA fitted hat or a beanie, you can’t go wrong showing your school spirit. Here are some general guidelines for picking great NCAA hats.

Pick A College You Or Your Family Attended.

I am sure this seems intuitive to most of you out there, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. If you or your family has a personal connection to a particular university, you should probably own at least one item of clothing from that school. For example, for my undergraduate degree I attended Sacramento State University, and for Law School I attended BYU. I own clothing for both of these schools and wear it with pride. When my children go to a university, I will also buy apparel for each of those schools.

Pick A College Near Your Home.

This one also seems somewhat intuitive. If you live near a college or university, it is always a good idea to support that university through buying their apparel and wearing it. This not only serves as advertisement for the University, but also helps foster civic pride.

Pick A Classic

There are some universities who’s apparel is always in style. The logos and names are iconic, and define college athletics. Pick one that you have some sort of connection to if possible. For example, my mother is from Michigan, and my father’s family is from Arkansas. I would have no trouble wearing apparel from either University of Michigan or University of Arkansas. If you do not have a personal connection, just pick one you like! Here are some suggestions of classic teams for which you may want to pick apparel:

  • Harvard and Yale: Although these two schools don’t play in Division 1, they are probably the two most prestigious Universities in the United States. They have long traditions in college athletics, and their colors are classic.
  • Michigan: The classic Maize and Blue cannot be beat.

  • Alabama: The Crimson Tide is a great choice for the classic design.
  • Florida: Gator Chomp! I really love the Orange and Blue combination, as well as the imposing gator logo.
  • USC: For west coast college football fans, USC is synonymous with power athletics. I really like the yellow Trojan on the maroon background.
  • Notre Dame: Another traditional powerhouse that has a great logo, but since I am part Irish I may be biased.

Pick Something Unique

Another method you can choose while picking NCAA apparel is finding one that is unique, and not worn by many people. This will show that you are willing to be different, and you will be the envy of all your friends. Here are some unique NCAA apparel that you may want to consider:

  • UC Santa Cruz (Banana Slugs)
  • UC Irvine (Anteaters)
  • Tulane (Green Wave)
  • UC Santa Barbara (Gauchos)
  • Providence (Friars)
  • Louisiana Lafayette (Ragin’ Cajuns)
  • Delaware University (Fighting Blue Hens)

NCAA Apparel to Avoid:

These simple rules are intuitive, but must be stated. First, one should never, under any circumstances, wear clothing from your rival school, or another school from your conference. For example, I would never wear a hat from the University of Utah. Cal fans should not wear Stanford Apparel UCLA fans should never wear USC shirts, etc. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid buying and wearing gear of the current champion every year. Nobody likes a bandwagon fan.

So what do you think? Did I miss any general rules? Any classic college team apparel that I missed? Please leave your comments!

Shop for NCAA Fan Gear at Fanatics.com


  1. Great tips!
    Buying hats can be tough sometimes and you really did a great job with this article!
    I do agree with the Michigan hat, it truly cannot be beat (that’s where I’m from originally, now residing in Colorado still wishing I was back in Michigan lol!)
    Great article though!
    Thanks so much for this information,

    1. Thank you for visiting the website! My brother lived in Michigan for a while and loved it. He always represents with his Michigan hats.

  2. Thanks for sharing your post, those tips were really interesting. I am a big sports fan and i often like to get items that represent my specific team and i wear them proudly. I travel a lot and sometimes i am  wearing a hat in the area that i am in that belongs to another part. I for one love Florida Gator Chomp ! Thanks for sharing 

  3. I didn’t realise that so much thought was required to decide which sports hat to wear!  I’m from the UK but have family in the USA- Mississippi to be exact.. I have a niece who went to Ole Miss and a nephew at Miss State! 🤣 So to avoid any argument I have a conference cap! The cap has every logo from each school in the SEC. I don’t uoset anyone!  My son is gearing up for school soon.. next year.. he’s had offers from various schools, he’s a student athlete, and he’s after two particular schools, so I’m not sure what I’ll do then! And we also watch pro football too.. We watch the saints from New Orleans… going to need a few caps! Love the article, very well written and really fun to read! 

    1. Thanks for visiting the site. Very good choice to get a conference hat, as Mississippi State and Ole Miss HATE each other!

  4. Thanks for the tips! My cousin lives in US and he really like to wear trendy hats. NCAA hats seem a good choice for school student to make him a fashionable one.

    Do you have a list for rivaling schools (or maybe, some of notable rivals)? He lives there since around 3 months ago, so I doubt he will know which rivals to avoid. I will share your article to him. He will surely like this 🙂

    1. Thank you for visiting the site, and for the great Idea about a list of rivals.  I will draft that today and link it to this article. 

  5. I personally am a “hat wearer” myself and honestly, have never put much thought into it when purchasing one.  However, this past Christmas I ran into the dilemma of what hat to buy when looking for one for my son.  A little direction and tips would’ve been great then!  So thanks for the article.  Sometimes it’s the little things right in front of us that takes another person to point out for us to see it that make all the difference.  Thanks again and good job.

    1. Thanks for visiting the site. A lot of my ideas are admittedly straightforward, but there are lots of non-sports fans that want a cool hat and don’t know where to start or know what will get the teased. 

  6. Some great ideas on different types of hats to buy. I think the UC – Irvine Anteaters is a must have. If nothing else, it will draw some attention. Banana Slugs? Is that really UC – Santa Cruz’s nickname? I think I would change it. lol I have a few hats from U. of Missouri that I attended, but am always open to considering more. I will have to bookmark this site, and come back when I am in the market again for some sports hats.

    1. Thank you for visiting the site. Yes, the Banana Slugs are a real mascot, and I’ve actually seen a few of their hats around Nor Cal.

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