Which college team has provided the NFL the best pipeline of talent from 1979 to 2009? We're down to the Final Four as we decide which campus has the most fertile NFL grounds.
No. 1 USC No. 4 Florida State
Florida State was college football's team of the late 1980s and 1990s, finishing 14 consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories and a top-five ranking.
Southern California was the team of the 2000s, winning at least a share of consecutive national championships and producing seven straight top-four finishes.
The Seminoles and Trojans produced the sport's greatest dynasties during the past three decades, but USC was a better NFL factory.
Since the 1979 draft, USC alumni in the NFL combined to make 111 Pro Bowl appearances, nearly twice as many as FSU's 63 Pro Bowlers. Ex-Trojans were named first-team All-Pro 42 times; ex-Seminoles received the honor 23 times.
The Seminoles gave us defensive backs Deion Sanders and Terrell Buckley; the Trojans gave us Troy Polamalu and Ronnie Lott. FSU produced tailback Warrick Dunn; USC produced Marcus Allen.
Offensive linemen Walter Jones, Ken Lanier and Tra Thomas played at Florida State; Anthony Munoz, Bruce Matthews and Tony Boselli went to USC. Peter Boulware and Derrick Brooks were star linebackers for the Seminoles; Junior Seau and Willie McGinest were Trojans.
USC has also been the more fertile NFL pipeline during the past 10 years. Since the 2000 NFL draft, the Trojans produced Carson Palmer, Polamalu, Reggie Bush and Mark Sanchez. The Seminoles nurtured Sebastian Janikowski, Corey Simon and Johnson.
FSU might have manufactured more great seasons, but USC produced more NFL stars.
-- Mark Schlabach
If you stretch your memory to the 1980s, USC might have the edge, but over the past two decades, Florida State has been right there alongside the Trojans when it comes to productivity of alumni in the NFL. In fact, from 1990 to 1999, Florida State had more players make Pro Bowl appearances (38) than USC (27) and had just two fewer in the past decade.
Five former Seminoles were selected to play in the 2009 Pro Bowl, marking the third straight season at least three former FSU players were in the game. The length of time these Seminoles spent in the league is a testament to Florida State's ability to recruit and produce NFL talent.
Former cornerback Terrell Buckley spent 14 years in the NFL, and linebacker Marvin Jones played 12 seasons with the New York Jets. Peter Boulware went to four Pro Bowls in eight seasons with the Ravens and became the team's all-time sack leader. Florida State has had at least one player taken in the NFL draft every year since 1984, and seven defensive linemen have been drafted in five of the past six years, including three in the first round.
-- Heather Dinich
Top 5 Trojans Top 5 Seminoles No. 1 Bruce Matthews
No. 2 Anthony Munoz
No. 3 Junior Seau
No. 4 Ronnie Lott
No. 5 Marcus Allen
No. 1 Derrick Brooks
No. 2 Deion Sanders
No. 3 Walter Jones
No. 4 Rohn Stark
No. 5 LeRoy Butler
AND THE WINNER IS
Once again, the Trojans face little competition as they roll over their competition.
While the Seminoles' top three players are very impressive, they still are not up to speed with the likes of Bruce Matthews, Anthony Munoz and Junior Seau. These three Trojans don't play the most glamorous or noticeable positions on the field, but their greatness cannot be denied.
When guys like Ronnie Lott and Marcus Allen are the fourth- and fifth-best guys on the list, that is all you really need to know about how strong USC is in terms of putting players into the league.
-- Matt Williamson
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