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Super Bowl has plenty of SEC and Pac 12 influence

The SEC vs. Pac 12 debate might be an interesting one between these two. Photo: USA Today Sports

The SEC and Pac 12 argument will spill over in to the Super Bowl. With the SEC reigning over the college football world over the last few years, the Pac 12 made a bit of a dent in the argument of conference supremacy in 2013. As it turns out, the SEC and Pac 12 are well represented in this season's Super Bowl with more players on the two-deep rosters for the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks than any other conference.

Tennessee's Peyton Manning (brought to Denver by Stanford's John Elway, of course) battles Stanford's Richard Sherman as Pete Carroll looks for a championship that will never be vacated the way his last one at USC was. Everywhere you look on Super Bowl Sunday you will likely see a player from the Pac 12 or SEC.

So how do the conference numbers break down in this year's big game? These numbers are broken down below. Before diving head first, a few things to keep in mind…

First, for the sake of simplicity, the conference representation is broken down according to today's current conference affiliations. So a player who played at Utah in the Mountain West will actually be counted under the Pac 12. A Utah State player in the WAC gets filed under the Mountain West. It is like this for every consideration, so lets just go with it.

Second, the breakdown only takes in to consideration the final school a player played for. So Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is filed under the Big Ten for his final season at Wisconsin, rather than his time at North Carolina State. The schools generally listed on NFL team pages goes by this method, so that is how these numbers are counted as well.

Denver Broncos

  1st Team Offense 2nd Team Offense
ACC 2 2
Big 12 3  
Big Ten 1 1
Conference USA 1  
Mountain West   1
Pac 12 1 2
SEC 2 2
FCS 1 1

Texas Tech has quite the impact on the first team offense for the AFC champions. The Broncos have two starting offensive linemen from Texas Tech, Louis Vasquez and Manny Ramirez. The Red Raiders also have a third offensive starter on the Broncos with Wes Welker. The SEC and ACC each has more players overall on the two-deep roster for the Broncos offense, with four to the Big 12's (Texas Tech's) three. The SEC and ACC each have two starters and two second team offensive players.

  1st Team Defense 2nd Team Defense
AAC 1  
ACC 2 1
Big 12   2
Big Ten 1  
Mountain West 1 2
Pac 12   2
SEC 4 2
Independents   1
FCS 2 1

On defense is where the SEC shines for the Broncos. Four former SEC players are on the starting defense, including a pair of linebackers from Kentucky of all places (Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan). Throw in a pair of second team players and the SEC has a total of six players on the defensive two-deep roster, easily the most of any conference.

Denver features three players from the FCS pool on the two-deep defense, including a pair of starters, but before you give the scouting department too much credit it is important to keep in mind these are proven veterans. Safety Mike Adams is a former Delaware Blue Hen and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a Tennessee State product.

Seattle Seahawks

  1st Team Offense 2nd Team Offense
AAC 1  
ACC 1  
Big 12 1 1
Big Ten 2  
Conference USA   1
Mountain West   1
Pac 12 4 2
SEC 1 3
Independents 1  
FCS   3

Pete Carroll has embraced his former Pac 12 roots from USC by building his team on a solid foundation of Pac 12 players. On offense the Seahawks have four offensive starters, including former Cal running back Marshawn Lynch and Arizona State tight end Zach Miller. Dig deeper and you will find two second team offensive players on Seattle's roster from the Pac 12 as well, giving the offense six players on the two-deep roster. No other conference has more than four players on the offense. The SEC has one starter (offensive guard James Carpenter, Alabama) and three second team offensive players.

  1st Team Defense 2nd Team Defense
ACC 2  
Big 12 2 2
Big Ten 1 3
Conference USA   1
Mountain West 1 1
Pac 12 3 2
SEC 2  
FCS   2

Perhaps not surprisingly, Pete Carroll's defense features more Pac 12 players than any other conference. That includes three starters, highlighted perhaps by Richard Sherman (Stanford). We should also give some credit to the Seahawks scouting department by filling some depth with a couple of players from the FCS, defensive backs DeShawn Shead (Portland State) and Jeremy Lane (Northwestern State). You also see four starters combined from the ACC and SEC, again showing some good talent comes from that region of the country.

Combined Numbers

Now, let's combine the numbers on offense and defense and see how the conferences stack up…

  Total Offense Total Defense
AAC 1 1
ACC 5 5
Big 12 5 6
Big Ten 5 5
Conference USA 2 1
Mountain West 2 5
Pac 12 9 7
SEC 8 8
Independents 1 1
FCS 5 5

The SEC and Pac 12 each placed 16 players on the Super Bowl two-deep rosters this season, sharing the crown for conference representation when it comes to the numbers. You will get more of a Pac 12 offensive flavor going up against an SEC heavy defense whenever the Seahawks have the football, and if college football has taught us anything that may be good news for the AFC champions in the end. Of course college trends are not really something we can use to translate to Super Bowl analysis, but it is still something you may ant to pay attention to.

It is pretty interesting to see 10 total players from the FCS on the Super Bowl two-deep rosters this year. You will see five names on each side of the football, which is the same number of players from the Big Ten and ACC.

Sources: Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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