The SEC is the Face of the NFL; The Big 10 Not So Much

By M. Shannon Smallwood
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports — Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s officially time for the Big 10 to rethink its relevance in College Football.

Yes, you heard that correctly. It’s time for the Big 10 to stop all the talk of how great they are and take a long, hard look in the mirror. Every one of the drones of James Delany and those who thought the Ohio State Buckeyes should even be mentioned with the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide or any team in the SEC, needs to stop. Take a deep breath and think about these numbers from the 2013 NFL Draft this past weekend.

The Big 10 was only able to get one player drafted in the first round while the SEC delivered 12. To keep it going, 33 of the first 99 picks were from the SEC, and when the dust had cleared on Sunday a total of 63 SEC athletes were selected. If you’re keeping score, 1/4 of the players selected in the draft were from the SEC. And in the distance was the glorious Big 10 coming in with a total of 20 players selected overall.

Let’s take a closer look into the numbers.

2013 NFL Draft by College Football Conferences

SEC – 63
ACC – 30
Pac 12 – 28
Big 12 – 22
Big East – 21
Big 10 – 20
Conference USA – 8
Independents – 7
Mountain West – 7
MAC – 6
WAC – 6
Sun Belt – 3

Facts don’t lie Big 10 fans. The NFL believes your conference is somewhere in the range of the Big East and Conference USA. No Big 10 team had more than three players selected in the draft.

Meanwhile, the following teams all had three or more players selected:

Alabama Crimson Tide
Georgia Bulldogs
LSU Tigers
Florida Gators
Texas A&M Aggies
Arkansas Razorbacks
Tennessee Volunteers
Mississippi State Bulldogs
South Carolina Gamecocks
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Florida State Seminoles
Clemson Tigers
North Carolina Tar Heels
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Oregon Ducks
Cal Bears
Stanford Cardinal
UCLA Bruins
USC Trojans
Kansas State Wildcats
Oklahoma Sooners
Texas Longhorns
West Virginia Mountaineers
Connecticut Huskies
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
South Florida Bulls
Syracuse Orange
San Diego State Aztecs

Yep. Let that sink in for a minute. The Big 10 had four of its 12 teams getting three players selected. In other words, the NFL believes the talent is simply not there. When it comes to GMs looking at who they are willing to invest their money in and which players are ready to play at the next level, it is clear they believe in the SEC and even the ACC while they do not have any faith in the Big 10.

Spin it however you want Big 10 fans, but your conference is nice and dandy for the style of football you like to watch and hold onto as tradition. But when it comes to winning a National Championship, you are never going to compete until you can recruit and develop your players into winners, like what the SEC has perfected.

There is a reason why the biggest law firms take a look at the kid graduating from Harvard versus the one that finished up at the University of Phoenix. The NFL has established the SEC as the future faces of the league, with the Big 10 being a run of the mill conference whose players will look great in a uniform on the bench.


M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.

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