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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

 

Making the NFL Player

This past weekend, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about which colleges turn out the best NFL players. Their criteria was based on how good a player is in the NFL and how good their team is. Now I'm not sure why they gave extra points for wins, are they measuring winners or NFL-caliber players? Anyway, your #1 team? Florida State. They've been lingering around the top ten in the polls as long as I can remember, and Bobby Bowden is doing something right to prep his players. The 'Noles had 45 players in the league, including 25 regular starters.

Here is the top 30:

1. Florida State
2. Florida
3. Georgia
4. Tennessee
5. Ohio State
6. Michigan
7. Miami
8. Auburn
9. LSU
10. North Carolina
11. Notre Dame
12. Penn St.
13. Nebraska
14. USC
15. Texas A&M
16. Texas
17. Wisconsin
18. UCLA
19. Washington
20. California

Others (in order): Purdue, Virginia, Iowa, Arizona State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Colorado, Alabama, Stanford.


By Conference:

1. SEC, BIG 10, BIG 12, PAC 10 - 6 Teams (but SEC wins for having 5 of the top 9)
2. ACC- 5 teams
3. Independent - 1 Team (Notre Dame, duh)

And that's your top 30, no Big East teams, which suggests that they may be on the same level as C-USA or the Mountain West at this point. I would say the major surprises are USC (14) and Texas (16). They are preceded by North Carolina (10), a historically mediocre team (and I'm being generous with mediocre).

What's interesting is the rankings displayed here are similar to the actual BCS rankings if you averaged out, say, the last 10 years (with a few exceptions such as UNC). All of the other teams in the top 10 are typically right up there in the rankings. 11-20 is not much different except for Texas and USC. Nebraska has been bad lately but were terrific in the late 90's. And everyone else on the list seems to often linger around the bottom of the top 25.

Which leads me to the conclusion that big-time programs produce big-time players. Genius, right? Playing big games in front of big crowds, having the finest facilities, and the highest paying boosters (what!?) prepares players to be pros. This is exactly why I was nervous about Eli Manning. Did he ever play a big game at Mississippi? I think Eli is coming along nicely, but is this the reason that Alex Smith had about a 3:146 TD to INT ratio last year after coming out of Utah? Ryan Leaf went to Washington State and we all know that he was about as successful as "The Magic Hour". Sure there are exceptions, Steve McNair went to Alcorn State. But I believe that this intangible of playing big games before the NFL is one of the main reasons why players are successful in the NFL.

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