Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
A recent story in the Houma (La.) Today newspaper indicated that the Big 12 ranks fourth among conferences in terms of projected NFL starters for the 2008 season with 72. That number is behind the Southeastern Conference (137), ACC (121) and Big Ten (105).
And it also got me to thinking about the potential star players who were developed in the conference and how that might rank with other conferences across the country. I perused a copy of Pro Football Weekly/CBSSports.com's yearly preview issue, mainly because it had a list compiled of the 50 best players in the NFL. That list was developed, the magazine said, after extensive discussion with coaches, scouts and NFL personnel people.
The results were eye-opening -- and not so good for the Big 12.
Only four of Pro Football Weekly/CBSSports.com's top 50 NFL players were produced by Big 12 schools -- former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson (Minnesota, 16th on the list), former Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie Harris (Chicago, 47th), former Kansas State defensive back Terence Newman (Dallas, 36th) and former Oklahoma State defensive tackle Kevin Williams (Minnesota, 25th).
That total ranked fifth among the BCS conferences. The ACC led the list with 10 players selected, followed by the SEC and Pac-10 with seven players each and the Big Ten with six. The Big 12's collective total wasn't even as many as those players produced by Miami (Fla.), as five former Hurricanes made the list.
Oklahoma was one of 10 schools with more than one player listed. Others were Miami, Arkansas, California, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon State, Tennessee, Troy State and USC.