Which Conference Dominates the Playoffs?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I've always been interested in where people go to college and what sort of trends pro teams may have when they recruit players. Thus last year going into the conference championship game I put that interest into action and created a spreadsheet which separated the 4 remaining NFL teams rosters by conference. I tallied up the total players, marked down which NFL team scooped up the most players, and noted some notable players from each conference. And of course pulled together a little conclusion and analysis at the end. This year I'm slightly ahead of the game and have created the list for all playoff teams.

If you care to quiz your knowledge on the subject first I set up a 12 question quiz earlier. Additionally if you desire the spreadsheet you can go here for the D1 list tabulated by conference and here for the D1-AA and Lower list. Hopefully this will appease those who want more info / give some clarity to all those who may be confused.

Now onto the Conference by Conference breakdown sorted by which Conference has the most representatives during this weekends title game matchups.

ACC (94)

Once again the ACC is incredibly benefited by the imports of Miami, BC and VT as they consist of 30 of the 94 bodies. The U of course leads the way with 17 but FSU trails barely behind with 15. The ACC has plenty of star power on both sides of the ball plus the entire conference has at least one player representing them so even Duke has someone to root for. And finally the Giants really like acquiring people in the ACC.

Most Notable Players: Matt Ryan, Brian Dawkins, Anquan Boldin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Reggie Wayne, Edgerrin James, Julius Peppers, Willie Parker, Chris Hope
Biggest School Contributor: Miami with 17.
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: New York Giants with 11.

Big Ten (88)

Ohio State much like the actual football games wins this battle with Michigan as they edge them out 14 to 13 in players represented. The Wolverines may have the bigger names though with two stud offensive lineman and LaMarr Woodley who has emerged as one of the more fearsome pass rashers in the NFL. The Colts apparently like getting very good players from Iowa.

Most Notable Players: Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Jake Long, Steve Hutchinson, LaMarr Woodley, Kerry Collins, Derrick Mason
Biggest School Contributor: Ohio State with 14
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Carolina with 9

SEC (79)

Unlike last year, Eli Manning has some solid company at the top of the SEC, like his brother Peyton. Face Stomper Albert Haynesworth just might have eclipsed Eli as the 2nd best player representing the SEC as well. Atlanta in the heart of SEC company not surprisingly leads the way with the numbert of roster spots while Georgia dominates all in representation even the mighty Gators. Also, poor Vandy has no one to cheer for.

Most Notable Players: Albert Haynesworth, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Ronnie Brown, Lito Sheppard, Jevon Kearse, Hines Ward
Biggest School Contributor: Georgia with 15.
Schools Without Representation: Vandy
NFL Team With Most Players: Atlanta with 12.

Big 12 (62)

Snoooooze. The Big 12 is your clubhouse leader for most boring power conference representation. The Big 12 really supplies limited offensive fire power but with Williams and Hampton provides a lot of beef. The Long Horns tied Miami for the most players represented in all of college football but don't provide the flare like the U.

Most Notable Players: Justin Gage, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Ricky Williams, Quentin Jammar, Pat Williams, Casey Hampton
Biggest School Contributor: Texas with 17.
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: Minnesota and Baltimore with 7.

Pac 10 (59)

The Giants like recruiting on the East and the West Coast as they lead the way for the Pac 10 as well. USC leads the way with 12 with Cal, Oregon and the Arizonas not too far behind.

Most Notable Players: LenDale White, Jonathan Stewart, Lawyer Malloy, Todd Heap, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Antonio Pierce, Troy Polamalu
Biggest School Contributor: USC with 12.
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: New York Giants with 7.

Big East (40)

Doesn't Syracuse suck? Why is it that they not only lead the way in Big East representation but dominate their conference mates. The Cuse have 11 where the next closest is Pitt and Rutgers with 8. Additionally they have the biggest names with Harrison, McNabb, Freeney and Bulluck. Perhaps the Cuse can be good again? Oh and poor UConn's got nobody to love.

Most Notable Players: Marvin Harrison, Donovan McNabb, Larry Fitzgerald, Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole, Keith Bulluck
Biggest School Contributor: Syracuse with 11.
Schools Without Representation: UConn
NFL Team With Most Players: Indianapolis with 7.

Mountain West (26)

Please tell me how Joey Porter went to Colorado State? Doesn't he just seem like he went to the U? Also, Steve Smith doesn't seem like a mormon to me, but who knows. The Chargers lead the way in the Mountain West and of course have its prized possession in LT.

Most Notable Players: LT, Joey Porter, Steve Smith
Biggest School Contributor: BYU and Utah with 7.
Schools Without Representation: Air Force
NFL Team With Most Players: San Diego with 5.

WAC (25)

Ya not much excitement coming from the WAC either, with Lorenzo Neal probably the best player and he's a fullback. Fresno St. dominates with with 10 representatives, but when the hell was the last time they won the conference? The Dolphins lead the way with 5 with no other team having more than 3.

Most Notable Players: Bernard Berrian, Jason Elam, Kevin Curtis, Lorenzo Neal, Travis LaBoy
Biggest School Contributor: Fresno St. with 10.
Schools Without Representation: San Jose St.
NFL Team With Most Players: Miami with 5.

Conference USA (24)

Conference USA has less reps than the WAC but certainly has larger names with DeAngelo and Chris Johnson form the back field and Chadwick as a possible 2008 MVP.

Most Notable Players: Chad Pennington, DeAngelo Williams, Roddy White, Asante Samuel, Chris Johnson, Gus Frerotte
Biggest School Contributor: Marshall with 4.
Schools Without Representation: Rice and Southern Methodist
NFL Team With Most Players: Minnesota and Philadelphia with 4.

MAC (18)

The MAC's got some players with Gates, Turner and Big Ben leading the way. The Colts have the most players in a conference that's in their back yard. Oh and what's up with Directional Michigan coming in very very weakly.

Most Notable Players: Antonio Gates, Michael Turner, Domenik Hixon, Ben Roethlisberger, Chester Taylor
Biggest School Contributor: Kent State, Akron and Northern Illinois with 3.
Schools Without Representation: Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Ohio
NFL Team With Most Players: Indianapolis with 4.

Independents (13)

Woo Notre Dame has 12 reps with Justin Tuck leading the way. Fasano is a decent name but really none of the other Golden Shower helmet wearers are worthy of mention.

Most Notable Players: Justin Tuck, Anthony Fasano
Biggest School Contributor: Notre Dame with 12.
Schools Without Representation: Army, Western Kentucky
NFL Team With Most Players: Giants and Philadelphia with 3.

Sun Belt (9)

Last year Osi lead the way but he's been out the entire year so he gives way to the Ragin Cajun Jake Delhomme and La-Lafayette leading the way. Poor Florida Atlantic is the lone Sun Beltian with nothing to cheer for.

Most Notable Players: Jake Delhomme, Ike Taylor
Biggest School Contributor: Louisiana-Lafayette with 3.
Schools Without Representation: Florida Atlantic
NFL Team With Most Players: Miami and Carolina with 2.

Division 1-AA (72)

There is certainly talent to be had at the 1-AA level. Three of the likely starting quarterbacks in the playoffs were 1-AA QBs. Two of the star running backs were 1-AA players. And the craziest defensive lineman went to school at Idaho St. Don't sleep on 1-AA.

Most Notable Players: Joe Flacco, Brian Westbrook, Jared Allen, Kurt Warner, Adam Vinatieri, Bart Scott, Tarvaris Jackson, Brandon Jacobs
Biggest School Contributor: Northern Iowa, Montana and Howard with 3.
NFL Team With Most Players: Minnesota and Tennessee with 9.

Division 2 or Lower (28)

Not overly surprising nobody who went to school D2 or lower is a massive impact player. Fort Valley St., wherever that is, is the only school with more than one player represented. Meanwhile None is represented twice by both Australian punters, plus it took me forever to figure out that Bradley for Marcus Pollard does not have a football team.

Most Notable Players: Kevin Boss, Nate Washington, Grady Jackson, Dominic Rhodes
Biggest School Contributor: Fort Valley St. with 2.
NFL Team With Most Players: Indianaplois with 5.

Conclusion and Analysis

~Once again this is done by current conference alignment and not what conference these players actually played for when they went to school. Therefore the ACC massively benefits from its inclusion of Miami whereas many of those players actually played in the Big East.

~The SEC is always hyped as the best conference in America yet for the second straight year they trail other conferences on the total playoff player tally.

~If you're going to a DII school than your chances of making the NFL are very very slim and you're chances of being a superstar are almost nada.

~The Armed Forces is not a very good gateway to the NFL as Navy, Army and Air Force combine for one player in the playoffs.

~Tom Brady made the Big Ten's list a lot prettier last year.

~Randy Moss's inclusion made Conference USA's list look prettier as well.

~There are 118 or so D1 programs and yet three of the playoff starters slipped through the D1 fingers.

~Why do so many kickers not go to major D1 schools?

~I find it amazing that of the major BCS conferences only UConn and Vandy lack any kind of representation.

~The Cuse beat out some major colleges including current BCS bowl bid collectors Bama, Oklahoma, Utah, VaTech, Cincy, Florida, and Penn St. and yet they seemingly have won a single game in the past five years.

*All Rosters were taking from Yahoo.com and their active 53 man roster list. If a player is on the PUP or IR he is not included.

Posted by Simon at 1:11 PM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


No other Notre Dame player's to mention?!

How about Ryan Grant, John Carlson, Julius Jones, or Jeff Faine? Grant had over 900 yds in only seven starts last year and a 1200 yard season in 2008. Carlson was a lone bright spot on a terrible Seahawks team (53 catches and 5 tds for a rookie tight end...better than any other rookie tight end in years). Jones is no star but has a career rush average of 4.0 yds and is a regular starter. And Faine is one of the top centers in all of football.

Matthew said...
6:07 PM  

Apparently the whole concept of this post being about the PLAYOFF TEAMS flew right over Matthew's Irish head.

Reading Is Fundamental said...
6:29 PM  

Of course, most of those ex-SU guys are from the late 1990s when the Orange were really good. Sigh.

CuseFanInSoCal said...
8:43 PM  

Why do so many kickers not go to major D1 schools?

I was a hotshot kicker (and punter!) in high school. There are a few reasons for this:

1. Big D-1 (FBS?) schools don't really need punters, ever. Its pretty easy to find some rich booster's legacy kid with decent athletic ability, keeping scholarships available for skill positions.

2. Similarly, aside from frequent PAT and Kickoffs, D-1 kickers don't get as many looks--and even then, many schools have at least 3 "kickers". D-II schools often have one person performing all 4 major kicking duties (kickoff, PAT, FG, onside), which makes it easier for the NFL to scout them.

No doubt you've read thousands of horror stories about driven young athletes (and their psychotic parents) who plot out a road to riches through sports which starts before puberty. In the bizarre world that is the mindset of a "future NFL kicker", a Div I-AA or II school is often a better opportunity for actual playing time.

As for me, it turned out I enjoyed being a college student more than I enjoyed playing on the football squad, and so my kicking career, as it were, ended after one collegiate season. My in game action consisted of being the holder for PATs and FGs. Also, I had to play on special teams. So it goes. On the plus side, at my school, the hazing wasn't all that bad--it was the hockey players who were the depraved homoerotic sadists.

Anonymous said...
11:26 AM  

you misspelled "flair"

Anonymous said...
3:42 PM  

How about Adrian Peterson and Tommy Harris from the Big 12 these guys are Pro Bowlers.

ouzena said...
10:08 AM  

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