Friday, January 18, 2013
Four NFL teams meet this Sunday, and two will find a spot in Super Bowl XLVII. The New England Patriots will face the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship and the Atlanta Falcons will face the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship.
No matter which two teams meet in New Orleans for a chance to win the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 3, Mississippi wins. Our state is one of two that features players from each of the four teams' rosters. Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi each have players on the four teams in the NFL playoffs. The only state with more schools represented is Florida, with the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of Miami all represented.
Currently, there are 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in college football (120 full members and 4 transitional members), with the Rebels and Bulldogs, Mississippi is better represented than Texas (12 FBS teams); Ohio (8 FBS teams); California (7 FBS teams); Michigan, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina (5 FBS teams); and Indiana and Tennessee (four FBS teams). Those states all have more schools than Mississippi but none have two or more schools with players on teams still alive in the NFL playoffs.
Peria Jerry (Atlanta), Brandon Bolden (New England), Michael Oher (Baltimore) and Patrick Willis (San Francisco) represent Ole Miss. Mississippi State fans will cheer for Charles Mitchell (Atlanta), Kyle Love (New England), Pernell McPhee (Baltimore) and Anthony Dixon (San Francisco).
There are 10 schools guaranteed to have a player earn a Super Bowl ring: Arizona State, Louisville, Texas, Oregon and Tennessee will join the three Florida schools and the two Mississippi schools.