Which Conference Dominates the Playoffs?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

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 two years ago 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, like last year, I'm slightly ahead of the game and have created the list for all playoff teams.

If you desire to see all the players, I have a spreadsheet located here.

Now onto the Conference by Conference breakdown sorted by which Conference has the most representatives during this postseason.

SEC (104)

The SEC leads the way with the most players for the first time in the three years I've done this. They've gotten a nice influx of Florida with Harvin and Taylor joining the playoff brigade and they of course have Peyton Manning. The rest of the squad though isn't as hyped up as some of the other conferences. Finally Vandy for the second straight year is lacking any representation and for the first year is the ONLY BCS SCHOOL with no alumni in the playoffs. Somewhere Jay Cutler is crying... and throwing another interception.

Most Notable Players: Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Lito Sheppard, Felix Jones, Percy Harvin, Fred Taylor, Ben Watson, Alan Faneca, the "Blindside"
Biggest School Contributor: LSU with 18
Schools Without Representation: Vandy
NFL Team With Most Players: Bengals with 14

Big Ten (97)

The Big Ten is storming in this playoffs. With 97 players they have the second most of any conference. They also have the team with the most alumni in the postseason. That team is the Michigan Wolverines with a whopping 20. The Wolverines beat out the Buckeyes for the first time this decade in something related to football as the Buckeyes have a respectable 14 players in the mix. Each Big 10 member has at least one player in the dance with the Jets having the most Big Tenners at 13.

Most Notable Players: Tom Brady, Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Steve Hutchinson, Derrick Mason, Braylon Edwards, Nick Mangold, AJ Hawk, Aaron Kampman, Leon Hall, David Harris, Charles Woodson, Marlin Jackson, Marion Barber, Beanie Wells, Antoine Winfield, Will Smith, Steve Breaston, Drew Brees
Biggest School Contributor: Michigan with 20
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: Jets with 13

Big 12 (87)

The Big 12 has 86 members but lacks a certain amount of punch to be completely honest. Outside of Peterson, ACL-less Wes Welker and perhaps Ty Warren the Big 12 has no might. Nebraska leads the way with 12, which is a bit surprising given how down their 00s decade was in comparison to the Longhorns and Sooners.

Most Notable Players: Adrien Peterson, Wes Welker, Ty Warren, Roy Williams, Roy Williams 2, Terence Newman
Biggest School Contributor: Nebraska with 12
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: Saints and Packers with 10

ACC (84)

The ACC cooled down from its dominance of the past two seasons and has exactly 10 less players than it did last year. This can be attributed mostly to the lack of New York Giants who are an ACC squad. Again the ACC is mostly lead by the 3 newbies (Miami, VT and BC) whom account for 30 of the 84 spots. The U, not surprisingly, leads the way with 14 which includes the most notable players from the conference.

Most Notable Players: Anquan Boldin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Reggie Wayne, Samari Rolle, Antonio Cromartie, Shawne Merriman, Antrel Rolle, Vince Wilfork, Jonathan Vilma, Jeremy Shockey, Philip Rivers, Thomas Jones, Michael Vick
Biggest School Contributor: Miami with 14.
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: Jets, Saints and Ravens with 10

Pac 10 (70)

The Pac 10 is USC and Quarterback driven. Three of the 12 starting quarterbacks went to a Pac 10 school while USC contributes 18 of the 70 Pac 10 players. DeSean Jackson, Chad OchoCinco and Todd Heap would likely make a nice receiving corps as well.

Most Notable Players: Todd Heap, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Chad OchoCinco, Clay Matthews, DeSean Jackson, Aaron Rodgers
Biggest School Contributor: USC with 18.
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: Saints and Packers with 8

Big East (47)

The Big East provides some cream of the crop players but not much depth. McNabb and Freeney went to Cuse when they did not suck. Darrelle Revis and Larry Fitzgerald are arguably the best players at their position in the league. After that you get to some good but not great players like Kerry Rhodes, Donald Brown, Trent Cole and LJ Smith. Pitt leads the way with 9 players.

Most Notable Players: Donovan McNabb, Larry Fitzgerald, Dwight Freeney, Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes, Donald Brown, Trent Cole, LJ Smith, Ray Rice, Brian Leonard
Biggest School Contributor: Pitt with 9
Schools Without Representation: None
NFL Team With Most Players: Philly with 7

Mountain West (33)

The Mountain West is a San Diego theme. The Chargers and Aztecs lead the way in both categories. Outside of LDT, theres a lot of boredom and role players.

Most Notable Players: LDT, Austin Collie, Malcom Floyd
Biggest School Contributor: San Diego St. and BYU with 8
Schools Without Representation: UNLV & Air Force
NFL Team With Most Players: San Diego with 6.

WAC (24)

The WAC is where superstars are not born but middle of the pack wide receivers on the other hand...

Most Notable Players: Bernard Berrian, Kevin Curtis, James Jones
Biggest School Contributor: Fresno St. with 7.
Schools Without Representation: Idaho
NFL Team With Most Players: Packers with 5.

Conference USA (25)

4 studs and not much else. Conference USA provides the playoffs Randy Moss, Brett Favre and two of the best DBs in the league in Asante and Atari. The conference then falls off the map.

Most Notable Players: Randy Moss, Asante Samuel, Brett Favre, Atari Bigby
Biggest School Contributor: UCF, UTEP and Marshall with 4.
Schools Without Representation: East Carolina and Tulane
NFL Team With Most Players: Minnesota and Philadelphia with 4.

MAC (18)

The MAC gives us Antonio Gates, who didn't even play football, and Chester Taylor. Then you get nothing and like it. Somehow Kent St. has 5 players in the playoffs.

Most Notable Players: Antonio Gates, Chester Taylor
Biggest School Contributor: Kent State with 5
Schools Without Representation: Ohio, Miami and Akron
NFL Team With Most Players: San Diego and Dallas with 4

Independents (11)

Independents is now down to three teams with WKU entering the Sunbelt thus Kyle Eckel is the lone representative for either Army or Navy. The rest is Notre Dame which is pretty much Ryan Grant and Bertrand Berry.

Most Notable Players: Ryan Grant, Bertrand Berry
Biggest School Contributor: Notre Dame with 10.
Schools Without Representation: Army
NFL Team With Most Players: Cincy and Philly with 2

Sun Belt (8)

The Sun Belt had a much better list last season. This list is DeMarcu Ware and nothing else.

Most Notable Players: DeMarcus Ware
Biggest School Contributor: Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy and WKU with 2.
Schools Without Representation: Florida Atlantic
NFL Team With Most Players: Miami and Carolina with 2.

Division 1-AA, D2 and Lower(118)

It appears as if a lot of talent slips through D-1's finger tips. Three of the quarterbacks were D1-AA. The top pass rusher was D1-AA. The combo of Austin, Crayton, Colston and Vincent Jackson would make an unstoppable Wideout combo. Throw in a healthy Westbrook and a little bit of Bart Scott psycho and you'd have yourself a damn good team.

Most Notable Players: Joe Flacco, Brian Westbrook, Jared Allen, Kurt Warner, Adam Vinatieri, Bart Scott, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tony Romo, Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin, Al Harris, Marques Colston, Darren Sharper, Vincent Jackson
Biggest School Contributor: Howard with 5
NFL Team With Most Players: Arizona with 15

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 finally takes home the crown of most players, this the third year running.

~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 makes the Big Ten's list a lot prettier this year.

~Randy Moss's inclusion makes Conference USA's list look prettier this year, but it is missing a certain 2000 yard rusher it had last year.

~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 Vandy lack any kind of representation. That's pretty damn poor. Even Duke has one alumni in the playoffs. Vandy has ZERO.

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

Posted by Simon at 10:32 AM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


You said Nebraska had the most players from the Big XII with 12 but your spreadsheet says OU/Neb/Texas all have 11.

Why list the ACC ahead of the Big XII when it had less players?

Anonymous said...
10:03 AM  

Fixed the ordering.

As for Nebraska I have:

Ralph Brown
Fabian Washington
Sam Koch
Steve Octavien
Ahman Green
Brandon Jackson
Cody Glenn
Carl Nicks
Scott Shanle
Matt Slauson
Stewart Bradley
Ryon Bingham

Perhaps the spreadsheet on google didn't load 100% correctly

Simon said...
10:59 AM  

The most notable players in the MAC are Antonio Gates and Chester Taylor? First off, Antonio Gates didn't even play football in college. Secondly, Ben Roethlisberger went to Miami of Ohio and I'm pretty sure he is a notable player, seeing as he has won 2 super bowls. James Harrison went to Kent State and he was named the defensive player of the year last year and got named to the pro bowl this year. How do you leave these big time players off your notable list?

Anonymous said...
12:56 PM  

Just in case people forgot, the STEELERS are not IN the playoffs.

Simon said...
1:00 PM  

you also have 18 people listed for lsu yet you have georgia and tenn as leading the SEC with 15.

Anonymous said...
12:38 PM  

And my inability to count is corrected

Simon said...
2:17 PM  

Greg jennings is more notable than Chester Taylor

Anonymous said...
9:14 PM  

how did you not mention ray rice or brian leonard in the big east section? RU

Anonymous said...
2:40 AM  

While the SEC has more players they place fewer players per school than the big ten. SEC = 8.66/team Big 10 = 8.81. Suck it SEC you're overhyped and it showed this bowl season.

Anonymous said...
11:10 AM  

rutgers(ray rice) is in the big east not the acc

Anonymous said...
1:49 AM  

Huge mistake, you listed Ray Rice and Brian Leonard under the ACC. They should both be in the Big East

Anonymous said...
8:39 AM  

My bad. The original error was not having Ray Rice or Leonard on the list at all. It's fixed now.

Simon said...
9:49 AM  

This stat is not fair because the current big east only has 4-5 years' history. So either count miam/vt/bc's prior graduates as big east or only count the graduates of the recent years for all conferences.

Patrick said...
7:28 PM  

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