SEC, Big Ten top Super Bowl rosters, followed by… the MAC?

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Seeing as we are mere hours away from what’s become a national holiday, we thought it might be a worthwhile endeavor to attempt to tie the Super Bowl into our little corner of the football world.

Specifically, how does the roster makeup of the two combatants shakeout conference-wise?

Not surprisingly, a pair of power conferences lead the way.  Somewhat surprisingly, though, one of the lesser non-automatic qualifying conferences is right behind the perennial powers.

Based on exhaustive research that involved, basically, a quick Google search and a few beers — not necessarily in that order — we can reveal that (surprise!) the SEC leads all Div. 1-A conferences with 17 former players as members of the 53-man game-day rosters of the Green Bay packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.  Close behind the five-peat, national title-winning league is the Big Ten with 16.

The ACC is next with 13, tied with the surprise of the group: 13 former players from Mid-American Conference teams will be playing for the Lombardi Sunday night.  Somewhat astonishingly, the Packers’ game-day roster is comprised of eight former MAC players.

Besides the four already mentioned, no other schools were in double digits, although the Pac-12’s nine  just missed the “prestigious” cut.

Interestingly, Conference USA (7) has more former players in The Big Game than the Big 12 (6).  Even more interesting — and embarrassing — is the fact that the Big East has the same number of players in the game (4) as does the Sun Belt.  And, again, the Big East receives an automatic berth into a BcS game.

The Mountain West and WAC have three players apiece, while football independents Notre Dame (2) and BYU (1) combined for three as well.

Eight players from the Div. 1-AA level or lower are represented as well.

As far as individual schools go, Ohio State, Tennessee, LSU and (surprise v2.0!) Central Michigan all have four former players on the 53-man game-day roster.  Michigan and Texas have three players each.

So, what does all of this mean?  Absolutely nothing, other than we might want to start paying a little closer attention to the MAC-tastic football being played in the other Midwest football conference.

(Writer’s note: Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and Boise State were included in their new 2011 conference homes.)

(Writer’s note, the sequel: Packers 27, Steelers 24)

Butch Jones says the most Butch Jones quote of all time

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It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.

That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.

I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.

This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.

It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?

Here’s the full quote.

Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.

And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.

Houston Nutt settles lawsuit with Ole Miss

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Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.

It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.

Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.

Each side released their own bitter, short statements.

Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.

Washington loses LT Adams, CB Miller for the season

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No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.

The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.

Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.

The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.

But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson to take 6-month sabbatical

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not be the Maryland AD for the next six months.

Anderson announced Monday he will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on “professional development.” That leave of absence will see him remain on his national committees with the NCAA and NACDA, the professional organization of ADs.

It was reported over the weekend that Anderson would be out completely as Maryland’s AD, but those reports were knocked down by the university.

Additionally, Maryland announced that former Georgia AD and current Terps associate AD/CFO Damon Evans will run the department in Anderson’s stead.