Ranking the Top 50 College Football Team Schedule Posters of 2014

Brian PedersenFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

Ranking the Top 50 College Football Team Schedule Posters of 2014

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    The College Football Playoff trophy will be given to the champion on the field in 2014. But which school is worthy of an award for the best schedule poster?
    The College Football Playoff trophy will be given to the champion on the field in 2014. But which school is worthy of an award for the best schedule poster?Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    College football's schedule poster game is strong this season.

    The glossy, stylized promotional posters that pretty much every school creates each year serve a few purposes, not the least of which is to remind fans when their favorite team plays this fall. But beyond that, the posters are meant to advertise the tone and theme for 2014.

    Each school takes their own approach to these placards; some keep it simple, others blow the doors off conventional wisdom. Whatever the case, there's one common goal in mind: to be memorable.

    We took a look at all of the schedule posters released by FBS teams for the 2014 season to find the best of the best, the ones we'd want on our wall. We've ranked the top 50 based on their noteworthiness, their uniqueness and how much they would inspire the casual fan to consider that team to be the coolest in the land.

50. USC Trojans

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    USCTrojans.com

    USC hits on all of the basics in its schedule poster, featuring star players from offense and defense—quarterback Cody Kessler is so tall!—and giving us the lineup of games with home contests in red and road trips in black.

    But that's about it. Nothing flashy, nothing particularly memorable.

    This isn't surprising, because even at its most recent on-field peak during the Pete Carroll era, USC was never about outward flash and flair. New coach Steve Sarkisian is a former Carroll assistant, so it looks like the Trojans are sticking with tradition here.

49. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    RollTide.com

    With a fanbase as rabid and devoted as it has, Alabama doesn't need to do anything special with its schedule poster to get it put up on the wall. Which is good, because the Crimson Tide's 2014 sign doesn't do much to inspire.

    Wide receiver Amari Cooper, running back T.J. Yeldon and his teammates give the standard hard stare out into your living room, while a faint silhouette of Bryant-Denny Stadium looms in the background. The schedule portion stands out thanks to the use of opponent logos in full color, but otherwise this sign is pretty plain.

    Even still, someone somewhere in Alabama is looking at theirs on the wall and yelling "Roll Tide!"

48. TCU Horned Frogs

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    GoFrogs.com

    TCU's offense left a lot to be desired in 2013, but the hope is that a new system will lead to more exciting play from the Horned Frogs. Piggybacking on this approach, TCU's poster prominently features the mantra "Amp It Up"  below a large purple helmet with sound waves emanating from it.

    Oh, and what's probably supposed to be a wavelength but could also resemble a heart monitor displaying the average Frogs fan's pulse. It's pretty active and beating rapidly, they might want to get that checked out.

47. Colorado State Rams

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    CSURams.com

    Colorado State has made great strides in its first two seasons under coach Jim McElwain, reaching a bowl game last year for the first time since 2008. But winning eight games probably isn't the Rams' ultimate goal, which is why their schedule poster reminds fans this program is still "On The Rise."

    Three CSU players are superimposed over a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, with the green-and-gold team color scheme dominating the poster. The only divergence from this is with the schedule info, where highlighted games get different shades such as the planned "orange out" for a visit from Tulsa and a "pink out" when rival Wyoming comes to town in late October.

46. UTSA Roadrunners

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    GoUTSA.com

    UTSA diehards can probably name all eight players shown on this poster without much thought, but for the average college football fan, what we see is by far the most recognizable part of the Roadrunners' program: coach Larry Coker.

    Gazing out introspectively from the middle of the poster, Coker is surrounded by a bevy of UTSA's 30-plus seniors as they all loom over a big and bold list of the opponents on the docket. The logos all stand out well, showing both the challenging nonconference games and the solid lineup of foes the Roadrunners will face in Conference USA play with the hope of making a bowl game for the first time.

45. Appalachian State Mountaineers

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    AppStateSports.com

    Appalachian State is making the jump from the FCS ranks to big-boy football—well, as big-boy as being in the Sun Belt Conference can be considered—and the Mountaineers want you to know this ascension is being done on a united front.

    That must be the reason ASU's marketing department decided to use backlit silhouettes of six players, all looking like they've just walked off the practice field following a sunrise or sunset workout. The gold from that sun peeking out from behind the players is the only color on the poster, though, as the schedule info on the left uses a black-and-white motif even with opponent logos.

44. Michigan State Spartans

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    MSUSpartans.com

    Michigan State's poster is a mixture of simplicity and functionality, as it puts forth a striking image without shoving anything crazy down your throat. Wild and wacky is more memorable, though, which is why the Spartans' sign isn't higher on this list.

    MSU chose not to highlight any specific players on its poster, instead paying homage to the program's strong fanbase by featuring an unidentified athlete in a No. 1 jersey. According to Gillian Van Stratt of MLive.com, "Mark Dantonio has traditionally reserved that number for the fans."

    Behind the player are a mixture of facts ("Rose Bowl champions," "2013 Big Ten champions") and statements ("Spartans Never Stop," "Dream Big") that very subtly point out what MSU has done under Dantonio. It's a nice touch that, again, isn't thrown in our faces.

43. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    HokieSports.com

    Did you know that Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season? You do now, as a commemorative logo to celebrate this milestone gets prime placement in the middle of the Hokies' wide poster.

    Around the logo are 16 Tech players—half in home maroon, half in road white—collectively wearing each of the team's many helmet options, with senior safety Detrick Bonner (No. 8) looking like he's ready to dive over the rest of his teammates to tackle the Lane Stadium insignia.

    Scrolled across the bottom of the poster are the helmets of all 12 Hokies opponents in 2014, and this makes us realize Tech faces four teams this year that don gold-hued lids.

42. Arizona Wildcats

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    arizonaathletics.com

    One of many posters that features fans almost as prominently as people directly associated with a football team, Arizona really tries hard to drive home its latest slogan: "Be The One."

    Nearly 20 players are on the poster, but several are almost completely obscured by others, as notable a way of pointing out that the Wildcats are lacking the individual stars of years past like running back Ka'Deem Carey or quarterback Nick Foles. Without big names, everyone is supposed to be the same.

    One interesting detail that warrants some explaining, though, is within the "Be The One" logo: on the bottom half is a red football with "11+1" in blue lettering. While, from far away, this could look like a very ambitious goal for wins and losses (though, who aspires to lose a game?), what it really stands for is the team representing the "11" and the fans being the "1."

    So says coach Rich Rodriguez in this teaser video released earlier this year.

41. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    RamblinWreck.com

    Georgia Tech takes an old-school approach to its poster, something that really gets driven home by how old-fashioned the Yellow Jackets' uniforms look compared to other teams in the FBS ranks. The same goes for the backdrop of stadium panoramas and player-action shots, all of which convey a feeling of looking into the past.

    Everything has a sepia tone, reminiscent of the early part of the 20th century, even down to the listing of Tech's 12 opponents that don't stand out much despite taking up a large portion of the bottom of the poster.

    One thing that cannot be debated about this poster is who it's for, as "Georgia Tech" is by far the biggest piece of type visible. A nice touch is having the team's slogan—"Together We Swarm"—in clear letters so that the players behind them bleed through.

40. Stanford Cardinal

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    GoStanford.com

    We like the simplicity of the six Stanford players who are shown on this poster, rising from behind and over the school's name and in front of faint images of Stanford Stadium. We wouldn't say it would "Inspire Champions," as the statements say at the top, especially when you take a closer look at the players featured on the poster.

    Yes, that's right. Both quarterback Kevin Hogan and safety Jordan Richards wear No. 8. It's one of the sad facts of college football that many uniform numbers are shared by offensive and defensive players, but does that have to be flaunted like this?

39. Georgia Bulldogs

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    GeorgiaDogs.com

    The shade of red worn by Georgia's football team is among the most recognizable in college sports, a bold hue that is hard to ignore since it's all over this poster. And it's a good thing it stands out, because the biggest written reference to the Bulldogs is obscured both by the players featured and some odd splotches of blackness at the top.

    Now, about those players...

    We can't help but think putting this poster at the foot of the bed of a Georgia rival might scare some of them, especially with the determined look that running back Todd Gurley has as he's lumbering forward. Similar faces displaying a tough demeanor are supposed to be conveyed by the rest of the Bulldogs, but none are as fear-inducing as Gurley's.

38. LSU Tigers

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    LSUSports.net

    LSU had us at "Geaux."

    The use of the iconic Cajun version of "go" atop the Tigers' poster is classic, and it helps make up for the fact that, otherwise, this sign isn't that memorable other than the use of action shots of players—as well as a smirking Les Miles—inset within "Tigers" across the middle.

    Below that, though, it's very plain and straightforward. There's the standard LSU logo in the middle with schedule info in gold and purple on either side. In actuality, the only thing about the schedule part that stands out is how all or nothing LSU's schedule is in 2014, with either long stretches of home games or back-to-back road contests.

37. Florida State Seminoles

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    Seminoles.com

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has been very vocal to reporters since his team won the national title in January that the 2014 team isn't "defending" that crown because it can't be taken away. The Seminoles are simply trying to win another, which would just happen to come right after the last one.

    Fisher was no doubt consulted on FSU's 2014 schedule poster, because there's not one reference at all to the team's recent championship to be found. Instead, we get action poses of 14 Seminoles (including quarterback Jameis Winston, who looks like he's about to whip a pass into the back of Fisher's head) all looking over a giant helmet surrounded by schedule info.

    An odd touch at the top worth noting: the choice to spell out the year instead of using the numbers as well as the decision to put a hyphen between "Two" and "Thousand."

36. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Huskers.com

    Quick, take the picture of these Nebraska seniors before that giant "N" falls from the ceiling and crushes them!

    The massive letter above the 14 players, who look like they just walked in off the street and were given jerseys to wear, as well as the locker room motif around them all looks very superimposed. But even still, it's a nice set up, especially once you get past the bout of claustrophobia that comes from staring too much at that oversized "N."

    Maybe the biggest surprise is what this poster is lacking, that being Bo Pelini. Considering how notable his offseason has been for his reputation, it's mind-blowing that the 'Huskers coach and his cat aren't prominently featured here.

35. Arizona State Sun Devils

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    TheSunDevils.com

    We're not exactly sure what kind of doubt Arizona State is referring to, but at least we're clear that we're supposed to move past it. Instead, as the poster recommends, Sun Devils fans should focus more on making sure they hold down the right finger on their hand to flash the school's three-pronged pitchfork symbol.

    The poster features a lone player, but the choice of projected starting tailback D.J. Foster over three-year starting quarterback Taylor Kelly is odd. Also strange is the format used for the listing of ASU's opponents, as they're in two columns of six that could make you scroll down one and then the other when they're actually listed in six rows of two.

34. Central Florida Knights

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    UCFKnights.com

    Last season was the biggest and best in Central Florida's football history, as it not only won the American Athletic Conference in its first year of existence but claimed the Fiesta Bowl as well. Both of those honors came with gaudy trophies, which get prime placement on the left side of this poster.

    The whole poster has a feeling of opulence thanks to the Knights' gold-heavy color scheme, and it works well. What isn't pulled off as well as is the display of the 2014 schedule, which is very tiny and tucked into the bottom right corner...right below a comparatively oversized line advertising the starting cost for season tickets.

    Tacky as that may be, it does remind us that these posters are meant to generate revenue for the team as much as to hype up fans.

33. New Mexico Lobos

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    GoLobos.com

    Ever watched a movie about football and wondered if the players really just hung out in the locker room in various forms of undress before and after games? At New Mexico, that's apparently the case based on the 2014 schedule poster.

    Nine players are shown just chilling out in the Lobos dressing room—some in full uniform, others just wearing their pads and some yet to get the gear on. At least they all have their cleats on, smartly protecting themselves from athlete's foot.

32. Boston College Eagles

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    bceagles.com

    Boston College football isn't just a family; it's a fraternity!

    Not sure if that's the theme the Eagles were going for with their schedule poster, but that's the first thing that comes to mind when taking a good look at the 16 players decked out in matching blazers, khakis and maroon- and gold-striped ties. Throw in the architectural features surrounding them, and it's hard not to think that the players are all members of the same Greek house.

    If not for the use of "Boston College Football" largely printed across the top and a picture of a pregame huddle on the left side underneath an ornate arch, we'd really think this was the house photo for the BC chapter of Sigma Phi Football.

31. Army Black Knights

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    GoArmySports=s.com

    In case you forgot that the players on Army's football team are not just student-athletes but also the next wave of future defenders of this country, the Black Knights' 2014 schedule poster will make sure you remember.

    New coach Jeff Monken gets center billing, but on his left and right are a pair of seniors who a year from now could be somewhere overseas with the U.S. Armed Forces. Defensive back Geoffrey Bacon is shown in one uniform, the kind that comes with a helmet and shoulder pads, while running back Larry Dixon is in camouflage gear that is normally found at boot camp or on a military base.

30. Memphis Tigers

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    GoTigersGo.com

    Memphis hasn't been good at football for quite a while, making only two bowl games in the past eight seasons. After each year, though, there are, undoubtedly, Tiger fans who are optimistic that the next one will go much better.

    That hope rings true in Memphis' poster, which taps into that optimism by noting that this is the year of the Tigers as they enter their second year in the American Athletic Conference. Memphis went 3-9 last year and faces five straight teams that reached a bowl game in 2013 during a six-week stretch before finishing against six losing teams, so maybe the slogan at the top should have said, "Wait 'Til The Second Half Of This Year."

29. Illinois Fighting Illini

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    FightingIllini.com

    Only 38 schools have had a player win the Heisman Trophy, and Illinois isn't one of them. But that didn't stop the Fighting Illini from having an unidentified player—no, that's not junior linebacker Eric Finney, who wears No. 14—striking the famed Heisman pose.

    The mystery player is doing this while "Fight" is spread diagonally across the middle of the poster, though he's completely surrounded by black, as if he was caught in a spotlight (or maybe the flash of a camera strobe).

    Actually, the best design on this poster is how the schedule info is shown. Each opponent's logo is laid on top of the date of the game, with those logos forming a nice contrast over the orange (home) and white (away) Fighting Illini colors.

28. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Scarlet Knights.com

    As strange as it was to see the Big Ten take Maryland as a new member for 2014, it was even more odd that this tradition-rich conference also welcomed Rutgers into its ranks. Yes, we know both decisions were more about demographics and TV sets than sports performance, but Rutgers in the Big Ten still feels weird.

    Like it or not, though, it's happening. And that's the theme of the Scarlet Knights' poster, which very boldly states, "Here We Come" above the B1G logo.

    The average college football fan probably can't name any current Rutgers players—other than maybe quarterback Gary Nova, who seems like he's been there for a decade—but on this poster, they can at least get a look at what some of them look like. There are nearly 20 shown on here, and if you look close enough, you'll see they're lined up to make a larger version of the Big Ten logo.

    Well done, Rutgers. Well done.

27. Iowa Hawkeyes

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    HawkeyeSports.com

    Leave it to Iowa football to have the most prominent feature of its schedule poster be the lurking figure of an offensive tackle. Brandon Scherff is no doubt the Hawkeyes' best player, and he's probably the most important as well since he'll protect their quarterback's blind side. But putting him front and center and bigger than life?

    Yup, that's Iowa football for you.

    On either side of Scherff are standout defensive linemen Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat, while above (and behind) them are the only glimpses of Iowa skill players (running back Mark Weisman and receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley).

26. Georgia Southern Eagles

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    GSEagles.com

    Since 1985, Georgia Southern has won six national championships in football, but all of those were at the Division I-AA (or FCS) level. Now the Eagles have moved up to FBS for this season, a "journey" they want fans to come and join them on, as their schedule poster indicates.

    The relationship between fans and the team is furthered all over this poster, both in the reflection of each faction on either side of the helmet that takes up most of the sign as well as the "GATA" just above the top of the facemask.

    "GATA," according to the school's website, stands for "Getting Athletes Together Again." The theme of symbiosis that rings throughout this poster is powerful, and it makes us want to run through a wall to help GSU fare well in its first season of FBS play.

25. Baylor Bears

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    BaylorBears.com

    With a storm looming in the background, seven Baylor players are ready for action as they strive to "Be The Standard" that the Bears have established these past few seasons since going from a doormat to a national power. It's a strong message, and with the stars they show on this sign, it really does feel like scoring in bunches and winning big will remain the standard in Waco for some time.

    Below the players are all of the logos of the 2014 opponents, all done up in Baylor gold rather than their traditional team colors. It's one of many odd choices on this poster, along with not featuring the new McLane Stadium (a true symbol of how far this program has come) but at the same time being maybe the only schedule poster that includes a punter (senior Spencer Roth, second from the left).

    Baylor's standards are its own, it seems.

24. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

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    ulmwarhawks.com

    Louisiana has a surprising number of FBS programs (five to be exact) despite being in the middle of the pack nationally in population, but each of those teams manages to have their own strong share of in-state pride and support. And each is equally proud of their state, as you can see in Louisiana-Monroe's prominent use of the state outline in its schedule poster.

    Inside the outline is an image of several Warhawks players running into the distance, possibly in an attempt to escape the claws of the enormous bird looming over them.

    Maybe the bird needed to be that big to stand out with the largest hashtag (#RISE) found on any schedule poster produced for 2014 printed above it.

23. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    OKState.com

    No, Oklahoma State, why don't you tell them you're coming.

    The Cowboys' poster is pretty straightforward in most cases, with 10 players staring out from the middle decked out in the school's pronounced orange color. It's surprising that they didn't have them wearing a selection of the varying shades of orange, black, white and gray that OSU switches back and forth between on the field. But what isn't surprising is the inclusion of a "Pokes" mention.

    It's also not a shock that it's done so in the form of a paddle, the kind that fans beat against the rim around the football field at T. Boone Pickens Stadium.

22. Air Force Falcons

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    GoAirForceFalcons.com

    We understand what Air Force was trying to do here, showing how powerful its team can be and how striking the Falcons' blue is when combined with the lightning bolt on the helmet. It's so strong that the electricity is shorting out the image of coach Troy Calhoun and his players as they run onto the field, right?

    Or maybe the picture on the TV is just really fuzzy. Or could it have been snowing real bad when the photo was taken?

    Whatever the case, it's a very memorable image, one we won't soon forget. And, thanks to a very lengthy description box below them, we're able to determine which players are featured in the grainy image.

21. Florida Gators

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    GatorZone.com

    Oftentimes, college football teams will list information and highlights about the previous season on the schedule poster for the upcoming year—a way of reminding you of the past while preparing you for the future.

    But Florida just went through its worst season in more than 30 years, so that idea had to get scrapped. Instead, the Gators went with...the fight song lyrics!

    Written out above a scene of Florida players running onto the field at the Swamp, it's a nice contrast of images. The blurred-out, orange-drenched crowd is also an interesting touch, though you'd think the part of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium that lists past national championships wouldn't have been obscured as much.

20. Connecticut Huskies

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    uconnhuskies.com

    As far as we can tell, no one has ever referred to Connecticut as the "Notre Dame of southern New England," but that's the vibe we're getting from this schedule poster. Considering new Huskies coach Bob Diaco was Notre Dame's defensive coordinator before coming to Storrs, the similarity makes sense.

    Despite being in a major downswing on the field, this poster doesn't give off that impression. A large crowd can be seen in the stadium—though there's a decent amount of maize and gold in view, as the picture appears to have come from last season's visit by Michigan—and that goes well with the huddle of Huskies meeting up above the field.

    One way that this poster is very unique, at least compared to most others, is how the schedule info is only for UConn's seven home games. If you want information on the road games, you'll have to look elsewhere.

19. North Texas Mean Green

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    meangreensports.com

    North Texas' athletic teams are known as the Mean Green, named after the school's most famous athlete (NFL great Mean Joe Green). Yet the mascot is an eagle, and eagle images are prominent on school apparel and uniforms.

    All we see, though, is SO MUCH BRIGHT GREEN. That, and a fierce grill on the facemask shown above.

    North Texas is coming off a big year, and under coach Dan McCarney, the team has a chance to be a consistent mid-major power. Unfortunately, the Mean Green's most notable games this season are all on the road, so North Texas fans coming to home games this year won't get to see the best matchups.

    But they'll surely see lots of green. Lots and lots of green.

     

18. Clemson Tigers

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    ClemsonTigers.com

    Clemson lost a ton of notable players from last year's Orange Bowl-winning team, but you wouldn't know that from looking at this poster. It seems impossible that the Tigers aren't bringing back their entire lineup of standouts, considering how many players (23, including extra-point and field-goal holder Corbin Jennings!) are shown on there along with coach Dabo Swinney.

    Maybe the plan of action here was to throw on so many players that, after spending all that time reading who is coming back, you forget that guys like Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Bashaud Breeland are gone. If you do remember that, though, there's also the Orange Bowl trophy from the win over Ohio State to reflect back fondly on.

17. Iowa State Cyclones

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    cyclones.com

    The children are our future, right?

    Iowa State thinks so, because it put a bunch of them on its schedule poster in the reflection of a facemask visor, a cute image that helps mask the fact the Cyclones are coming off a very bad year and don't have a lot of notable players on this season's team.

    But if you're a true fan, that shouldn't matter, as the poster tries to drive home. ISU fans are supposed to be "All In" no matter who is playing and should be loyal and true forever.

16. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    HailState.com

    If you didn't know that Mississippi State is one of the many schools that has a name for its Stadium (Davis Wade) and the field within that stadium (Scott Field), you will now. Same goes for the fact that the facility is 100 years old, as the special logo signifying this is basically the second-most prominent thing on this poster after the striking image of quarterback Dak Prescott.

    Wait, make that the third-most prominent thing. How could we miss the awesome tattoo that takes up nearly all of Prescott's right bicep? If not for that ink, this poster wouldn't have been as high on the list.

15. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    GamecocksOnline.com

    South Carolina's schedule poster has a lot of the things you'd find on a sign for any other team. There are standout players featured, images of a large crowd cheering on the Gamecocks in the background and even a hokey slogan across the top.

    There's also the standard schedule information on the bottom, done as well as anyone else has with decent-sized opponent logos above the dates of the games.

    But there's one thing that Carolina's poster has that no one else's has, and it's what makes it among the better ones in the country: the Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, decked out in his patented headset and visor. We're not sure what he's pointing at, whether it's a referee he's about to chew out or a player who's done something wrong and is about to cause Spurrier to tear off that headset.

    Or maybe Spurrier is about to troll someone, which is just as likely as the other possible scenarios.

14. UTEP Miners

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    utepathletics.com

    A fair number of schedule posters feature players as a way to connect fans with the guys on the field, the ones who are playing their butts off to win and whom the crowd is cheering on fervently.

    But not all of them have a player featured front and center with such long, flowing red hair and a glorious beard as that of UTEP senior tight end Eric Tomlinson. And bearded 6'7" guys make any poster one worth putting up on the wall and gazing longingly at.

    The poster also features images of players from the Miners' football past, back when the program was among the better schools in the country. But that was a long time ago, before bears were all the rage in sports.

13. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    TexasTech.com

    Texas Tech makes no secret of how much it appreciates its devoted fanbase, a large following that gets top billing on the 2014 football schedule poster. From the description of being "fearless" to the abundance of supporters outnumbering players and coaches, the fans are definitely No. 1 when it comes to Red Raiders football.

    And not surprisingly, the female faction of that fanbase has positioned itself as close to head coach Kliff Kingsbury as possible. Kingsbury admitted on the Dan LeBatard Show (via For the Win) that he flirts with the mothers of recruits when in living rooms trying to get their sons to play for him, so it's not surprising that this connection with the women of Red Raider Nation is so prominently featured on the poster.

12. Georgia State Panthers

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    GeorgiaStateSports.com

    For a program that has never won a game against or as an FBS football team, Georgia State and its fans sure look happy and excited in this poster. But then again, when you get to dress up in face paint, funky hats and other types of headgear, smiles just naturally form.

    The Panthers were 0-12 last season in their first year of FBS play, but in talent-rich Atlanta and with a built-in urban fanbase, this is a program that should rise soon enough. GSU has a chance to have the best record in the country for at least one day this season, as it opens the 2014 schedule ahead of everyone else when it hosts FCS team Abilene Christian next Wednesday.

    Heck, with follow-up home games against New Mexico State and Air Force, both of which went 2-10 last year, the Panthers could also be the nation's first 3-0 team. Maybe such possibilities were mentioned to the poster's subjects as they were being photographed, thus soliciting such big smiles.

11. Cincinnati Bearcats

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    GoBearcats.com

    Cincinnati is one of a handful of schools that produced more than one schedule poster for 2014, but we picked this one for the ranking because of the scowl on senior running back Ralph David Abernathy IV's face and because he's perfectly placed his hands to spell "Bearcats" with the palms of his football gloves.

    We didn't pick this because of the schedule info, because it's as small as can be in the upper right corner, almost like an afterthought. But we hardly noticed that, because Abernathy won't stop staring at us.

10. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

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    RaginCajuns.com

    One of the hottest college football programs in the country the last few years is Louisiana-Lafayette, which has won nine games each of the last three seasons and won bowl games at the end of each campaign. That's probably why the Ragin' Cajuns player featured on the schedule poster appears to be covered in flames—either that, or because he ate one too many chili peppers.

    The "Home of Champions" emblem across the middle is a bit much since ULL has been the champion of the same bowl game—the nearby New Orleans Bowl—three times. But you get the picture: This is a very good program that, if you don't give it the proper respect, could burn you.

9. Tennessee Volunteers

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    utsports.com

    Is this a football poster or a promo sign for some upcoming movie about a tormented action hero? Butch Jones is Tennessee's head coach, but in this picture, he's been given the kind of airbrush treatment usually reserved for the aging actors in the Expendables movies.

    Jones is shown so prominently in this poster that there's hardly room for anything else, yet the Volunteers still manage to squeeze in some essentials. Players are huddled in the back, while down below, you get some very small type with the schedule info. The top right corner is the only place where it actually says "Tennessee," right below a "Brick By Brick" motto that could easily be mistaken for a movie title.

8. Auburn Tigers

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    AuburnTigers.com

    The SEC loves flaunting its speed in football, and Auburn takes this one step further by marketing its own version of swiftness. The Tigers were indeed one of the fastest teams in the country last season, coming out of nowhere to win the conference title and reach the BCS title game.

    The players shown in the top right corner are all huddled together celebrating that SEC championship, when that speed helped Auburn dominate Missouri.

    Gus Malzahn and his visor and sweater vest hold down the bottom left corner, while a War Damn eagle soars under Malzahn's upraised arm. This poster is so full of inspiration and uplifting messages that it's probably up on the cork board of the majority of classrooms in Auburn-backed parts of Alabama.

7. Kentucky Wildcats

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    UKAthletics.com

    Kentucky may not be anywhere near one of the best football programs in the country, and might not get there any time soon. But the Wildcats sure know how to convey a message in their schedule poster.

    There is plenty of optimism for the future thanks to the recruiting inroads coach Mark Stoops has made in just over one year on the job. Though it hasn't translated into on-field results, as the poster shows, it's all a process that has to be undertaken in order to "change the game."

    Wide receiver Javess Blue is shown on top straining to pull the weight of a heavy sled, an exercise that will make him strong enough to keep moving as a defender tries to tackle him below. The message is clear here, and we like it.

    What we're not so keen on, though, is why Kentucky felt it necessary to list its schedule information twice. If this was meant to be two posters, that's one thing, but then that takes away from the correlation between practices and performance that Blue is depicting.

6. Navy Midshipmen

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    NavySports.com

    While Army included actual military garb to show the connection between football and service, Navy decided to show patriotism and country pride in a different way: with lots of things that scream 'Merica.

    First and foremost, you have the use of blue and white (with stars) for "Navy" and then red and white stripes in "Football." There's also a bunch of flags being carried by players as they run onto the field, along with a big trophy that clearly notes that the team represents the United States Naval Academy.

    Another great touch that shows no single player, like soldiers themselves, is no more important than any other can be seen by how Navy went with seniors Noah Copeland and Parrish Gaines rather than star quarterback Keenan Reynolds.

5. Rice Owls

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    RiceOwls.com

    Try to unsee the giant owl that's staring out from this poster. Just try.

    Rice's mascot isn't the biggest image on this sign, but it's certainly the most striking. It's piercing gaze is mesmerizing, and you really have to fight hard to break free from its scrutiny to check out the rest of what's going on here.

    Many schools stick with just their school colors on posters, but few do it better than Rice. The deep blue bleeds from all corners of the poster in dynamic fashion, making each of the players stand out. Oddly, though, the Owls use that color to list their road games on the schedule portion rather than go with white for the away contests.

    We'd be more critical of that, but that might upset the owl. We wouldn't want that.

4. Texas State Bobcats

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    TXStateBobcats.com

    Did you know it was time to grind? If not, Texas State has your back and has made sure to remind you in nice big, bold type at the top of its schedule poster. Why it's in quotations, though, is anyone's guess.

    The Bobcats are one of the many forgettable FBS teams that have moved up from the FCS ranks in the past few years, but this poster does its best to try and help you remember them. You'll also likely recall the next time you happen to see a TXST highlight that features running back Robert Lowe scoring a touchdown, it meant the player known as "Quick Six" just went for six.

    Catchy, huh?

3. Central Michigan Chippewas

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    CMUChippewas.com

    Thanks, Central Michigan. Now we're hungry for chips.

    One of the many teams in the Mid-American Conference that seem completely interchangeable from year to year unless they feature a breakout player or pull off an early-season upset, there's not much about the Chippewas that stand out beyond their nickname. The school has won 10 or more games twice since 2006 but usually is right around .500 and otherwise unmemorable.

    But you should study this poster closely, because for all you know a future NFL star is shown here. After all, this school produced J.J. Watt, Antonio Brown and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher.

2. West Virginia Mountaineers

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    wvusports.com

    The first thing this poster tells us is that, deep down inside, everyone in West Virginia owns a Mountaineer costume. Even the football players.

    But the message that's really being displayed here is that West Virginia's football team is still deeply rooted in tradition, even with the team moving to the Big 12 three years ago. That move hasn't gone as well as expected, but if the Mountaineers stick to their roots, then everything will work out.

    If not, they can always tear off their jerseys to reveal buckskin shirts and pants and don a coonskin cap in place of the helmet. Probably shouldn't include the musket, though.

1. Wyoming Cowboys

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    GoWyo.com

    The Mile-High City of Denver ain't got nothing on Laramie. Thanks to Wyoming's football poster—and the turf at War Memorial Stadium—we know that the highest elevation in FBS football is 7,220 feet.

    The Cowboys roam the high plains between a pair of mountain ranges, where new coach Craig Bohl has come to after leading North Dakota State to three straight national titles at the FCS level. Wyoming hasn't been particularly good over the past 15 years, but hands down, it wins the schedule poster battle for 2014 with this awesome offering.

    The brown and yellow motif that is outlandish in some of the Cowboys' uniforms (like the digital camo version) is much more subdued on the schedule poster, but that still doesn't make the images less imposing. Whether Bohl can turn around this program remains to be seen, but at least he and his staff know how to make a great first impression on fans' dens and office walls.

     

    Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.