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)