It all started innocently enough.  Team Colors By Carrie already stocks beaded bracelets and earrings in the most common color combinations used in professional baseball and football.  But as August came to an end, and the college football season was about to get started, I decided it was time to determine what color combos might be missing.

This proved to be a much tougher task than when I analyzed the 32 teams in the NFL® and the 30 teams in MLB ®.  Do you know how many colleges and universities there are in this country?  Too many for me to even think about!   I quickly narrowed down my research to include only the schools in the FBS and FCS (that’s the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision of the NCAA, what used to be known as Division I-A and Division I-AA, for the uninitiated in college football).

So, that left only 270 schools.  How hard could that be?  Surely there’s a list on the internet somewhere, I thought.  It turns out there are a lot of lists, but I couldn’t find one single source that contained all of the team’s colors in one place.  Good thing I love spreadsheets, because that is where I went to compile all of the data.  And thankfully I haven’t forgotten how to create a good pivot table since I left corporate America.

So where was I?

Oh yeah.  Shades of red.  And blue.  And is it gray or grey?

Do I stick to just the primary and secondary colors, or add in the 3rd, 4th and 5th choices that some schools use?

One of the few things I remember from my college days is the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), and decided that was the only way to go.  So whether it was royal blue, sky blue or navy blue, it was just plain old blue on my list.  I didn’t even try to figure out the difference between crimson and scarlet and cardinal red.  It’s just red.  And please don’t get me started on whether your team’s blue and gold combination is really blue and gold, or blue with a color that looks a lot more like yellow!

After hours of work, here are the results … the most common color combinations for college football teams:

  • Red and White (41 schools)
  • Blue and White (27)
  • Blue and Gold (21)
  • Green and White (16)
  • Red and Black (16)
  • Red and Blue (15)
  • Red and Gold (12)

And to give you a visual of just how predominate some colors are in the world of college football, here are graphs depicting the frequency of both primary and secondary team colors:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Team Colors Infographic

This team color thing is really pretty interesting, so I’m going to dig in a little deeper next week with a look at why teams sometimes pick certain colors, and how those colors might impact the psychology of the game.  Stay tuned!