I graduated LSU in 1988. Geaux TIGERS!!
Anyway, a front bumper is designed to protect the grill, the engine and the tires (hubs) from frontal impact. As was mentioned, if your tires are protected from impact while on a trail, you should be fine. All bumpers protect the grill and engine from front impact, just by being on the jeep. I have seen some jeeps with some very narrow front bumpers. If you need this for clearance while rock climbing, I understand but I would never use such a bumper in the field or trail If you hit your tire, it may go flat... you can change it, BUT if you hit it too hard and tear up the front hub the tire sits on, then what are you going to do? I would rather have the protection of a bumper that extends out to protect my tires from impacts with shrub bushes, trees, logs, etc.
After reading this thread, it seems "thenorsepole" gave some great advice and wise advice that no one paid attention to. Well, I want to thank him personally for it. The fact is, when you first get a jeep, you go crazy with all the stuff you are going to do. Then, when you "settle down" somewhat, you get an idea of how you are going to use your jeep MOST OF THE TIME. Then you start building it for that, or you keep it stock. Either way, it is your choice. Don't be in a hurry. Figure it out objectively what you want to do with your jeep. Leave the "looks great" thing out of the equation. How are you going to use your jeep? Truly. Once you figured that out, then figure out what you need and what you can afford. Now re-evaluate the "looks great on my jeep" thing and figure how this helps or hinders your build. Make a decision and get jeeping.
Remember: How you use your jeep will determine how you build it. How you build your jeep will determine how you use it. For example: I had a WWII jeep that I drove in the field for years. Could it rock climb? No... but I could drive around the rocks. It was simple and dependable. I did not want to modify the jeep for driving in the field because I decided it was fine just like it was. I knew the jeep. I knew its limitations and I worked within them.