The Vince Lombardi Trophy sits between a New York Giants and a New England Patriots helmet during a press conferene for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis

SEC, Big Ten, BC (?) top Super Bowl XLVI rosters

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Last year’s Green Bay-Pittsburgh Super Bowl contained a couple of mini-surprises as it pertained to college football, with the MAC tied for third among all conferences with 13 former players littering the two squads’ game-day rosters and Central Michigan tying for the top spot among individual schools with four ex-players in the championship game.

This year is no different when it comes to surprising roster tidbits.  Before we get to the surprises, and the non-surprises in a couple of cases, though, a little bit of technical housecleaning is in order: the totals you see below come from the official sites of the Giants and Patriots, and we’ve utilized the 53-man game-day rosters as well as, in a departure from last year, those on injured reserve and the eight-man practice squads.

With that clutter out of the way, and in no surprise whatsoever, the SEC and Big Ten pace all conferences with 24 and 23 ex-players, respectively, on the two teams’ Super Bowl rosters.  The Giants are particularly fond of Big Ten players, with 14 of the 71 players who comprise their (active and inactive) official roster from that Midwestern conference.

The only Big Ten member that won’t have a player in the game?  Minnesota.  Of the 14 teams that will compete in the SEC in 2012, 12 will be represented in Indianapolis; Missouri and Auburn are the only SEC members who won’t see one of their former players on either of the two rosters.

The only other conferences in double digits are the ACC (19), Pac-12 (15) and Big East (14).  Just one Div. 1-A conference is not represented — the WAC.  Below, you can behold the magnificence of a chart — replete with colors and dots and lines and everything — showing how the two roster of the NFL clubs have been shaped collegiately:

As far as individual schools go, Boston College tops all 1-A teams with six former players vying for a ring Sunday night.  Four of those players are not-so-surprisingly with the Giants; from 1991-1993, Tom Coughlin served as the Eagles’ head coach, so the Giants’ sideline boss certainly hasn’t forgotten his BC roots.

Rutgers and Michigan are each represented by five players, while Florida, Fresno State, LSU, Miami and Virginia will have four apiece.

The Sun Belt’s Troy, in another surprise, will have three players in the game, along with Arkansas, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Purdue and Tennessee.  All told, 31 1-A teams will be represented by at least two players.

(Writer’s note: Fresno State (MWC), Missouri (SEC), TCU (Big 12), Texas A&M (SEC), UMass (MAC) and West Virginia (Big 12) were included in their new 2012 conference homes.  And, yes, I’m well aware of the uncertainty surrounding WVU’s move from the Big East.)

Vandy turns to familiar face to fill coaching role of assistant fighting cancer

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 22:  Josh Crawford #22 of the Vanderbilt Commodores celebrates a touchdown against the Tennessee State Tigers scored by teammate Trent Sherfield #10 during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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With an assistant fighting a significant health issue, Derek Mason has turned to someone very familiar with the Vanderbilt football program to fill the coaching void.

Vandy confirmed Monday that Warren Belin has been hired as the Commodores’ outside linebackers coach. Belin will, at least temporarily, replace Osia Lewis, who stepped down from his job as he battles liver cancer. Lewis will transition into an of-field role within the program as he fights the disease.

The announcement came on the same day Vandy kicked off spring practice.

From 2002 through 2009, Belin was Vandy’s linebacker’s coach under Bobby Johnson. He was at Wake Forest in the same role from 2013-15.

Last season, he was with the Demon Deacons in an off-field role as director of high school relations.

Blocked from Pitt and Syracuse, Gus Edwards’ transfer from Miami to Rutgers is official

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Gus Edwards #7 of the Miami Hurricanes rushes for a touchdown during a game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Sunlife Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In opting to leave Miami in late January, Gus Edwards was restricted by the university from transferring to two of his top choices in Pittsburgh and Syracuse as they were on this coming season’s schedule. A little over a month later, the Staten Island native, who wanted to transfer and move closer to home as he was a new father, has found his new college football home in the same area of the country.

On its official Twitter account earlier Monday, Rutgers announced that Edwards has transferred into the Scarlet Knights football program. As Edwards will be coming in as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

The upcoming season will be the running back’s final year of eligibility.

Edwards was third on the team this past season in rushing with 290 yards. For his Hurricanes career, the 6-1, 230-pound back ran for 977 yards and 12 touchdowns on 186 carries.

A foot injury suffered in summer camp cost Edwards the entire 2015 season. He received a medical redshirt for that season.

Mississippi State announces contract extension for Dan Mullen

STARKVILLE, MS - NOVEMBER 5:  Head coach Dan Mullen of the Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrates with fans after the end of an NCAA college football game at Davis Wade Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Starkville, Mississippi. Mississippi State beat the Texas A&M Aggies 35-28. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
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With its Egg Bowl rivals knee/neck-deep in controversy — and with said rival reportedly trying to bring it down as well at one point — Mississippi State has taken the time to put a positive face on the current state of its football program.

The Bulldogs announced Monday night that they have reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension with head football coach Dan Mullen.  The new deal means Mullen is signed through February of 2021.

According to the school, Mullen’s financial package will be $4.5 million for 2017.  Mullen was paid $4.2 million in 2016, a figure that was seventh in the SEC according to USA Today‘s salary database.

“I am very thankful to the University and athletic administration for their belief in me,” Mullen, the subject of myriad coaching carousel rumors the last handful of years, said in a statement. “We have built a special program over the last eight years, creating a culture where winning is expected while achieving that in the toughest division in college football. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I am truly excited about the direction we are heading as a program. This extension allows my family a long-term future here in Starkville, a place we are proud to call home.”

Since taking over as MSU’s coach in 2009, Mullen has guided the Bulldogs to a 61-42 record overall and 29-35 in conference play.  In those eight seasons, the best divisional finish was second in 2014.  In the other seven seasons, they were either fifth (five times) or fourth (twice) in the SEC West.

The Bulldogs have gone to a bowl game each of the past seven seasons, the longest such streak in school history.  They’re also 5-3 against Ole Miss under Mullen.

“Dan has brought unprecedented success to Bulldog football and is one of the elite coaches in the country,” athletic director John Cohen said. “From a school-record seven straight bowl games to our performance in the classroom, he continues to raise the standard of excellence.”

North Texas, SMU extend series with four more games

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 24:  A general view of before a game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the SMU Mustangs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 24, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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North Texas and SMU jointly announced Monday the two sides have extended their on-going home-and-home series with four more games.

The Mean Green and Mustangs will meet Sept. 1, 2018 in Denton, Sept. 7, 2019 in Dallas, Sept. 5, 2020 in Denton, and Sept. 11, 2021 in Dallas.

The Interstate 35 rivals meet annually from 1922 through 1942, resumed their series on a near-annual basis from 1974 through SMU 1992, and then again picked up the rivalry on an annual basis in 2014.

SMU holds a 30-5-1 all-time lead and owns a 2-game winning streak, including a 34-21 win on Sept. 3 of last season. The pair will meet Sept. 9 in Dallas.

North Texas also announced a home-and-home with Texas Tech earlier this month.