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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

B.C., Rutgers, U.F. Represented in Indy

Super Bowl week is upon us — or Super Bowl weeks, rather. Little drums up apathy quite like the two weeks between conference championship weekend and Super Bowl Sunday, but I digress. A week in Indianapolis is enough, right? This year’s Super Bowl, as you may know, pits the Giants and Patriots in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII — 42, in layman’s terms. One thing that always interests me heading into every Super Bowl, outside of the game itself, is looking how each roster is built: whether through free agency or the draft, with early picks or late-round steals, with a high-powered offense or stingy defense. Also, where did the players, the 106-plus guys getting ready for the Super Bowl, go to college?

Tennessee and Texas were the most-represented colleges at last year’s Super Bowl, between the Packers and Steelers, with five players apiece. Not all that surprising; those are N.F.L. factories, churning out draft picks on a yearly basis — Texas more than Tennessee, at least in recent years.

But the second-most represented college? That was Central Michigan, which had four players participating in the Super Bowl, tied with Ohio State. So there’s Texas, and Tennessee, and Ohio State… and Central Michigan. The message is simple: the N.F.L. doesn’t care where you went to school or how many times you were on TV, let alone whether you were on a good team, because talent is talent.

And the N.F.L. will find talent, believe me. So does the F.B.S., mind you, but in a different manner altogether; both weigh potential, but with more teams going after more players, it’s far more likely that a major college misses out on an underrated yet productive prospect.

So which college has the most players in this year’s Super Bowl? Nope, it’s not Alabama. The Crimson Tide have two, both defensive ends for the Patriots: Mark Anderson and Brandon Deaderick. It’s not L.S.U., with has three: New England’s Kevin Faulk and Steven Ridley and the Giants’ Corey Webster.

Michigan will have four alums playing on Super Bowl Sunday, led by Tom Brady. Each of the Wolverines’ quartet will factor heavily into the game’s result, in fact. Patriots’ punter Zoltan Mesko will try to give his team the edge in field position, such as he’s done all season. Mario Manningham and David Baas are two vital members of the Giants’ offense.

Enough about which team isn’t the most represented. Which university will take up the most space in your Super Bowl program? That would be — drum roll, please — Boston College, which has six players on Super Bowl rosters after having two representatives in Green Bay’s victory a year ago. Up next is Rutgers and Florida, each of which has five players.

You can see Florida, which has won a pair of national titles over the last six years; seeing the Eagles and Scarlet Knights so heavily represented is a bit surprising. Here’s the full list of colleges with players on the combined Super Bowl rosters:

Akron — 2 LB Chase Blackburn, WR Domenik Hixon (Giants)
Alabama — 2 DE Mark Anderson, DE Brandon Deaderick (Patriots)
Alabama State — 1 CB Michael Coe (Giants)
Arizona — 1 TE Rob Gronkowski (Patriots)
Arizona State — 2 CB Justin Tryon (Giants); S Josh Barrett (Patriots)
Arkansas — 3 OG Mitch Petrus, OT Tony Ugoh (Giants); QB Ryan Mallett (Patriots)
Boston College — 6 CB Will Blackmon, LB Mark Herzlich, LB Mathias Kiwanuka, OG Chris Snee (Giants); DE Ron Brace, C Dan Koppen (Patriots)
Brown — 1 LB Zak DeOssie (Giants)
California — 2 RB Shane Vereen, DE Andre Carter (Patriots)
Cal Poly-S.L.O. — 1 WR Ramses Barden (Giants)
Central Arkansas — 1 LB Markell Carter (Patriots)
Chadron State — 1 RB Danny Woodhead (Patriots)
Cincinnati — 1 DE Mike Wright (Patriots)
Colorado — 1 OT Nate Solder (Patriots)
Connecticut — 2 OT Will Beatty (Giants); OG Donald Thomas (Patriots)
Cornell — 1 OG Kevin Boothe (Giants)
East Carolina — 1 DT Linval Joseph (Giants)
Eastern Kentucky — 1 CB Antwaun Molden (Patriots)
Florida — 5 DE Justin Trattou (Giants); TE Aaron Hernandez, LB Brandon Spikes, DT Gerard Warren, LB Jermaine Cunningham (Patriots)
Fresno State — 4 QB David Carr, TE Bear Pascoe (Giants); OG Logan Mankins, C Ryan Wendell (Patriots)
Georgia — 1 RB D.J. Ware (Giants)
Georgia Tech — 1 LB Gary Guyton (Patriots)
Grand Valley State — 1 OG Nick McDonald (Patriots)
Hofstra — 1 CB Kyle Arrington (Patriots)
Houston — 1 OT Sebastian Vollmer (Patriots)
Howard — 1 LB Tracy White (Patriots)
Idaho — 1 DE Aaron Lavarias (Patriots)
Illinois — 2 OT David Diehl, P Steve Weatherford (Giants)
Indiana — 1 OT James Brewer (Giants)
Iowa — 2 S Tyler Sash (Giants); S Jeff Tarpinian (Patriots)
Kansas — 1 LB Mike Rivera (Patriots)
Kent State — 1 WR Julian Edelman (Patriots)
Kentucky — 1 DT Myron Pryor (Patriots)
Louisville — 1 WR Deion Branch (Patriots)
L.S.U. — 4 CB Corey Webster, WR Michael Clayton (Giants); RB Kevin Faulk, RB Stevan Ridley (Patriots)
Marshall — 1 RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants)
Maryland — 1 RE Da’rel Scott (Giants)
Massachusetts — 2 WR Victor Cruz (Giants); S James Ihedigbo (Patriots)
Memphis — 1 K Stephen Gostowski (Patriots)
Miami (Fla.) — 4 S Kenny Phillips, S Antrel Rolle, DT Dwayne Hendricks (Giants); NT Vince Wilfork (Patriots)
Michigan State — 3 LB Greg Jones, WR Devin Thomas (Giants); QB Brian Hoyer (Patriots)
Michigan — 4 C David Baas, WR Mario Manningham (Giants); QB Tom Brady, P Zoltan Mesko (Patriots)
Mississippi — 3 QB Eli Manning, OT Stacy Andrews (Giants); RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Patriots)
Mississippi State — 1 DT Kyle Love (Patriots)
Montana State — 1 LB Dane Fletcher (Patriots)
Navy — 1 WR Shun White (Patriots)
Nebraska — 1 CB Prince Amukamara (Giants)
North Carolina — 2 WR Hakeem Nicks, DT Marvin Austin (Giants)
N.C. State — 1 RB Andre Brown (Giants)
North Texas — 1 OG Brian Waters (Patriots)
Northern Illinois — 1 WR Britt Davis (Patriots)
Northwest Missouri State — 1 DE Dave Tollefson (Giants)
Notre Dame — 2 DE Justin Tuck (Giants); SS Sergio Brown (Patriots)
Ohio State — 2 TE Jake Ballard, C Jim Cordle (Giants)
Oregon — 2 LB Spencer Paysinger (Giants); FS Patrick Chung (Patriots)
Oregon State — 1 WR Chad Ochocinco (Patriots)
Penn State — 3 DT Jimmy Kennedy, OT Kareem McKenzie (Giants); OG Rich Ohlenberger (Patriots)
Pittsburgh — 3 FB Harry Hynoski (Giants); FB Lousaka Polite, WR Dorin Dickerson (Patriots)
Purdue — 3 LB Niko Koutouvides, OT Matt Light, OLD Rob Ninkovich (Patriots)
Rutgers — 5 CB Brandon Bing (Giants); CB Nate Jones, CB Devin McCourty, WR Tiquan Underwood, DE Alex Silvestro (Patriots)
Southeast Missouri State — 1 OG Dan Connolly (Patriots)
S.M.U. — 1 CB Sterling Moore (Patriots)
South Florida — 2 DE Jason Pierre-Paul, LB Jacquian Williams (Giants)
Southern Illinois — 1 RB Brandon Jacobs (Giants)
Southern Mississippi — 1 LB Michael Boley (Giants)
Stanford — 1 OT Matt Kopa (Patriots)
Tennessee — 3 S Deon Grant (Giants); DE Shaun Ellis, LB Jerod Mayo (Patriots)
Texas — 2 CB Aaron Ross (Giants); OT Kyle Hix (Patriots)
Texas A&M — 1 DT Rocky Bernard (Giants)
T.C.U. — 2 OT Marcus Cannon, S Malcolm Williams (Patriots)
Texas Tech — 1 WR Wes Welker (Patriots)
Toledo — 1 TE Christian Hopkins (Giants)
Troy — 3 WR Jerrel Jernigan, K Lawrence Tynes, DE Osi Umenyiora (Giants)
Utah — 1 DE Christian Cox (Patriots)
U.S.C. — 1 CB Terrell Thomas (Giants)
U.C.L.A. — 2 WR Matthew Slater, CB Brett Lockett (Patriots)
Vanderbilt — 1 LB Jonathan Goff (Giants)
Villanova — 1 CB Ross Ventrone (Patriots)
Virginia — 4 DT Chris Canty, LB Clint Sintim (Giants); LS Danny Aiken, CB Ras-I Dowling (Patriots)
Washington — 1 WR Isiah Stanbeck (Giants)
West Chester University — 1 WR Dan DePalma (Giants)
West Virginia — 1 OT Selvish Capers (Giants)
William & Mary — 1 LB Adrian Tracy (Giants)
Wisconsin — 1 TE Travis Beckum (Giants)
Wyoming — 1 S Derrick Martin (Giants)

Four of the Eagles’ contingent play for the Giants, whose coach, Tom Coughlin, was Boston College’s head coach from 1991-93. One, Snee, is Coughlin’s son-in-law. Bill Belichick drafted several Florida players when the program was run by Urban Meyer, including two, Hernandez and Spikes, who have continued their college success on the N.F.L. level.

So there you have it. Boston College, somewhat surprisingly, leads the way with six players. This is at least partly due to Coughlin’s connection with the university, both through his own history and familial relations. Rutgers has become a popular program for Belichick to look towards in the draft over the last two or three years. Florida is, well, Florida. There are Gators everywhere.

You can also follow Paul Myerberg and Pre-Snap Read on Twitter.

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  1. Gotham Gator says:

    Great stuff. Don’t forget that Belichek and Urban Meyer are tight, with Belichek annually spending time at Gator spring practices during Meyer’s time in Gainesville.

  2. Hooskin says:

    Aaron Carter: http://cdn.buzznet.com/media-cdn/jj1/headlines/2011/01/aaron-carter-rehab.jpg

    Andre Carter: http://trialx.com/curetalk/wp-content/blogs.dir/7/files/2011/07/sports/Andre_Carter-3.jpg

    Paul: I watched Andre play for the Redskins. Sometimes he reminded me a great deal of Aaron. But fixed it above, thanks.

  3. DMK says:

    It’s always neat to see lists like this. Remember, though, that representation on NFL rosters naturally lags a few years behind college football current events: Alabama had absolutely no one drafted in 2008.

    It would be interesting to research how those players from little schools actually ended up there. Which were truly unheralded little guys and which were always known to be elite prospects but were relegated to Tallahassee Tech because of utter inability to be a student or because of behavior issues? Marshall was not the first choice for Randy Moss …

    And let’s keep it in perspective: Billy Cundiff went to Drake.

  4. Dave says:

    Would love to hear more about Shun White’s path to the NFL. Did he serve any or all of his 5-year active-duty Navy commitment? If so, where?

  5. Monty says:

    Alabama State, Brown, Cal Poly, Chadron State, Cornell, Eastern Kentucky, Grand Valley State, Hofstra, Howard, Kent State, Montana State, Northwest Missouri State, Southeast Missouri State*, Southern Illinois, Villanova, Westchester, William & Mary… that is a very impressive list of contributors to the Super Bowl who will not be playing FBS-level football next year (unless I’ve made any mistakes, that is).

    *TWO double-directional Missouri State schools? Well played, Show Me State.

  6. Mike says:

    Troy has really produced two dynamite DEs in the cowboys Demarcus Ware and Osi Youknowhisname! Love these lists and glad to see UF so prominently represented. Come on Chico, score some Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all!

  7. Jams says:

    Does a school’s proximity to the pro team make any difference? Or a player’s hometown’s proximity to the pro team?

  8. 31southst says:

    Thanks for the list Paul. As a BC alum, I would tell you to not underestimate the fact that co-owner John Mara is a BC guy himself. For someone like Herzlich, I think that definitely played a role.

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