In the most consequential college football news to break Monday, Maryland elected to dress itself respectably on the football field.

Given some of the things the Terps have worn over the years, it’s a welcome change.

Not just respectable. Pretty dang sharp, actually.

The Terrapins are returning to their classic “script Terps” helmets as their primary lids after using them as an alternate the past few seasons. The throwbacks were so popular among Maryland fans — and anyone with a working set of eyeballs, really — that the change was inevitable.

And now that Maryland officially has a new helmet, we can jump straight into the business of ranking Big Ten football helmets.

We most recently did this with the top 10 alternate helmets in the B1G, which included the script Terps. For this exercise, we will focus solely on each team’s primary helmet.

And before we get started, remember that this website is called Saturday Tradition. Old-school looks curry favor with us.

1. Michigan

Often imitated, never duplicated.

Even if Princeton technically invented the winged helmet first, Michigan does it better. Maize and blue is easier on the eyes than Princeton’s orange and black helmets, which give the appearance of Halloween candy.

This is among the handful of helmets that people around the world can recognize even if they barely follow football.

2. Ohio State

Speaking of never duplicated …

There is no helmet sticker like the Buckeye sticker. Like the Constitution, an Ohio State football helmet is a breathing document. Everybody starts with a clean slate, but by the end of the season you know who the Boss Buckeyes are.

Even on Michigan’s helmets, too many stickers can detract from the standalone brilliance of the winged helmet. But with Ohio State’s plain silver helmets, they add something. Everything, really.

3. Penn State

Penn State’s helmets put some people to sleep. I am not among those people. The plain white helmets with the single black stripe are iconic and clean, especially when paired with the Nittany Lions’ road whites.

4. Iowa

The Hawkeyes wore a variety of different helmets in the 1960s and ’70s until Hayden Fry gave the program its trademark image in 1979. Looking to match a distinctive logo with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ color scheme, Fry found an artist who drew up the “Tigerhawk.”

It’s been on Iowa’s helmets ever since, and has become the logo of the entire athletic department. The ANF (America Needs Farmers) decals are also a nice touch.

5. Wisconsin

When Barry Alvarez arrived in Madison, he stole a page from Hayden Fry’s book. Wisconsin was a moribund program in need of a rebrand.

Wisconsin transitioned from a plain red “W” on a white helmet to “The Motion W.” The Badgers reached the Rose Bowl in their 3rd year wearing the Motion W, and now the look has been adopted by countless high schools around the country.

6. Maryland

Started from the bottom, now they’re here.

For more than a decade now, Maryland’s helmets have paid homage to the ugliest state flag in the union. And though it’s likely we’ll still see the flag saluted in an alternate form — Marylanders love that thing like crab cakes — this is a much-welcomed return to the Terps 1980s style.

7. Michigan State

The Spartans have fiddled with several designs over the years, and that continues to this day with an array of alternate helmets.

But the current primary, with a white Spartan outline on a matte green helmet with a single white stripe down the middle, is their best look.

8. Nebraska

Given my reverence for classic looks, it may be a surprise to see Nebraska’s helmets ranked this low. And I readily admit my reason for doing so is probably silly. But I cannot ignore it.

It’s always bothered me that the “N” on Nebraska’s helmets does not match the “N” used as Nebraska’s primary logo. Why does the 50-yard line have a different “N” than the helmet?

These are the things that keep me awake at night.

9. Northwestern

All that said about Nebraska’s helmets, there’s a pretty clear demarcation between the Cornhuskers and the 6 teams below them on this list. There’s a clear top 8 of Big Ten helmets, and then there’s the rest. I wouldn’t argue against any order from 9-14 now that Maryland has upgraded.

But in terms of my personal tastes, I have always enjoyed Northwestern’s stylized white “N” on purple helmets. Nobody else has an “N” quite like Northwestern’s.

10. Purdue

Purdue’s primary helmets are pretty much unchanged from the Drew Brees Era, and they are perfectly fine. But they get docked a little in my eyes because the Boilermakers have a number of alternate helmets that are much, much cooler.

For instance, Purdue’s special Rose Bowl helmet was as good as it gets — though obviously that look has to be earned.

The black railroad track helmet is a distinctly awesome look, as is the Purdue Pete helmet the Boilers wore for the first time last season.

11. Illinois

I know there are many who disagree, but the Block-I helmet is a major upgrade from the old underlined “Illinois” helmets that mimicked the 1980s New York Giants look. Those did nothing for me.

12. Minnesota

Minnesota’s primary helmets are in the same class as Purdue’s — they’re fine, but the alternates are much cooler. The chrome and Goldy Gopher helmets are top-notch.

But the primary helmet almost feels like someone might have been trying to design a new Washington Commanders helmet and accidentally placed the “W” upside down.

13. Indiana

In a recurring theme, the Hoosiers have a number of alternate helmets that are cooler than their primary look. If it was a matter of rating alternate helmets alone, Indiana and Minnesota would be near the top of the list.

However, the Hoosiers did upgrade their primary look last year by incorporating an element of their throwback helmets — a white center stripe with a black outline.

A subtle change, but a good one.

14. Rutgers

If you’ve seen some of the things the Scarlet Knights have worn in the past, you’ll appreciate what an upgrade their perfectly average Block-R helmets are. These are only in last place because of Maryland’s dramatic upgrade — and somebody has to come in last.

To me, they are boring. But boring beats the heck out of ugly.