Pete Volk also contributed to this story.
This is a Western Super Bowl, with even the teams' coaching staffs and front offices bending Pacific.
The Seahawks have 20 players from West Coast conferences, more than they have from any other region. The Broncos have 14. Broncos VP John Elway played at Stanford. Ten of Broncos head coach John Fox's career stops have been west of the Mississippi, with his college days and intro to coaching coming at San Diego State. And Pete Carroll is as Pacific as it gets.
But the Broncos' roster leans Southern, from Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas to Champ Bailey. And that comes through even more when we look at starters. If we were to count Texas as Southern, then 17 of Denver's 24 starters played college football at schools in the South, compared to 11 for Seattle.
So for every college football fan who wishes we'd get to see more bowl games between Pac-12 and SEC teams: here you go.
Note: We're counting only active/reserved/injured rosters, not practice squad/future rosters, and we're going by current conference affiliations.
Schools with multiple players on either team
The Seahawks also have a player each from Alabama State, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, Clemson, Cornell, FIU, Florida, Fort Valley State, Georgia, Holy Cross, Memphis, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Northwestern State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Portland State, Purdue, Regina, Rice, San Diego State, Southern Illinois, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Washington, Weber State, and West Virginia.
The Broncos also have a player each from Boise State, Boston College, California, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Delaware, Florida State, Fordham, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Minnesota, NC State, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Portland State, Purdue, Richmond, San Jose State, Southern Miss, Stanford, Temple, Tennessee State, Texas A&M, UCF, UCLA, USC, USF, Utah, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Basically, you're rooting for the Seahawks if you're a fan of the Pac-12, the Big Ten, Alabama, California, Idaho, Louisville, LSU, NC State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas A&M (!), USC (but you already knew that), Utah State, Wisconsin, or Canada.
But you're a Broncos fan for the next two weeks if you cheer for the SEC, the ACC, the Big 12, the Mountain West, Arizona State, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, San Diego State, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, or Alaska.
And yep, NC State and Wisconsin fans, you're each getting full credit for Russell Wilson.
Schools with multiple starters on either team
|NC State||3 (Steven Hauschka, J.R. Sweezy, Russell Wilson)||Tennessee||3 (Britton Colquitt, Malik Jackson, Peyton Manning)|
|California||2 (Brandon Mebane, Marshawn Lynch)||Texas Tech||3 (Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, Wes Welker)|
|Stanford||2 (Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman)||Georgia||2 (Champ Bailey, Knowshon Moreno)|
|Kentucky||2 (Danny Trevathan, Wesley Woodyard)|
Did you know Peyton Manning played at Tennessee? Tennessee is proud to remind you of this:
And rightfully so! Actually, it's starting to seem like pretty much every school with a player in the game is going to do this all the way through the game, but Tennessee goes as hard as anybody.
Players on each team per conference
|Big Ten||7||Big 12||8|
|Big 12||5||Mountain West||8|
|Conference USA||2||Conference USA||1|
|Missouri Valley||1||Ohio Valley||1|
Check out the mighty FCS Big Sky, which sends North Dakota's Chris Kuper, Portland State's DeShawn Shead and Julius Thomas, and Weber State's Paul McQuistan to the Super Bowl, more players than the FBS MAC and Sun Belt combined.
Conferences with multiple starters
|Big Ten||2||Big Ten||2|
See? The Pac-12 vs. the SEC.
Total Super Bowl players by school and conference
Counting only schools with multiple players, and the Vols indeed come out on top.
|Texas A&M||4||Big 12||13|
|Arizona State||3||Mountain West||12|
|NC State||3||Conference USA||3|
|San Diego State||3||Patriot||2|
|Boise State||2||Ohio Valley||1|
|Michigan State||2||Sun Belt||1|
Who are you rooting for, college football fan?
Let us know below.