One other impact of the population trends is the value, long term, of the marketability and profitability of the SEC in television contracts. Some analysts estimate the value to the SEC, over and above the existing fair market value, of its two most recent additions to its next ten year contract for television rights is over 115 million dollars A YEAR. Hmmmm. So much for Southerners not being able to do math........
In Part One of today’s post-NFL draft Stat Analysis piece, we looked at the number of draft picks (and first-rounders specifically) to come from the SEC and the other BCS conferences in recent years. In this portion, we’ll take a look towards the future. And the future looks good for the Southeastern Conference.
As we noted earlier today, the SEC has led all other conferences in NFL draft picks for six years in a row and for 13 of the last 15 years. That’s not just a product of superior budgets, facilities and coaches. A lot of it has to do with simple census data. Just as pro scouts and executives come to the SEC to do their shopping, SEC coaches can stock up on local talent to build their college programs.
The talent is in Dixie. That’s a pretty big plus for the two leagues most associated with the region — the SEC and the ACC. And it just so happens that both are expanding, too. The SEC is spreading west and south this summer while the ACC will be moving further north by 2014.
Meanwhile, the two BCS leagues in America’s Heartland appear to have a fight on their hands when it comes to re-establishing themselves as dominant players — top to bottom — in the world of college football.
First, some stats. Below you’ll find the make-up of each of the five biggest BCS leagues as we believe they will look in 2014. The Big East — as we showed in Part One — hasn’t been a serious producer of talent compared to their BCS brethren and has had to spread all over the continental US just to survive recent defections. For those reasons, we’re not even going to examine that league’s future roster of schools.
You’ll see each conference, it’s total number of schools (according to who’s scheduled to join by 2014), the total number of states it can claim, and the NFL talent produced from those states’ high schools over a 20-year span. For our purposes, we’ll consider all the NFL draft picks from 1992 through 2011 for each state in each of the big five conferences.
And we’ll look at them in order with regards to total picks from each league’s footprint:
|SEC States||Schools In State||Draft Picks By HS State ’92-’11|
|Texas||Texas A&M (2012)||493|
|S. Carolina||S. Carolina||127|
|Mississippi||Miss. St., Ole Miss||112|
|11 States||14 Schools||1,972 NFL Draft Picks|
As you can see, the rich is about to get richer. By expanding into Missouri and Texas, the SEC is growing its borders and putting down a talent pipeline into the second most productive state in the Union (Texas) all at the same time. While other conferences are spread out further geographically — from Canada to Mexico in the Pac-12, from Pennsylvania to Nebraska in the Big Ten, from Miami to Boston in the ACC — none tap into 11 states. SEC recruiting will improve in the future, not regress. And that’s bad news for every other conference long-term.
|ACC States||Schools In State||Draft Picks By HS State ’92-’11|
|Florida||Florida St., Miami||460|
|Virginia||Virginia, Virginia Tech||162|
|N. Carolina||Duke, UNC, NC St., W. Forest||139|
|New York||Syracuse (2014)||86|
|9 States||14 Schools||1,452 NFL Draft Picks|
Yes. Over the 20 years from 1992 through 2011 the 11 states of the new SEC have produced a whopping 520 more draft picks than the 9 states of what will be the new ACC. And John Swofford’s league is second to Mike Slive’s overall. So if you think there’s a drop-off in overall talent pool from the SEC to the ACC, wait until you see what we’re going to show you next.
|Pac-12 States||Schools In State||Draft Picks By HS State ’92-’11|
|California||Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC||579|
|Washington||Washington, Wash. St.||78|
|Arizona||Arizona, Arizona St.||68|
|Oregon||Oregon, Oregon St.||38|
|6 States||12 Schools||850 NFL Draft Picks|
You might as well just call Larry Scott’s league the Cal-or-Bust League. College prospectors have to head to the Golden State to strike it rich. The recent additions of Colorado and Utah help a bit, but not much. The Pac-12 region — while larger from end-to-end than the SEC — has produced a more than a thousand fewer NFL draft picks from ’92 through 2011. That’s bad.
What you’ll in the Rust Belt is worse.
|Big Ten States||Schools In State||Draft Picks By HS State ’92-’11|
|Michigan||Michigan, Michigan St.||126|
|9 States||12 Schools||792 NFL Draft Picks|
Uh-oh. The Big Ten has a helluva lot of tradition. With major media centers spread throughout the league, it also gets an enormous amount of publicity. And while the league might seem a bit pretentious to those outside the region — the “Leaders” and “Legends” divisions, for example — it’s rich history of great football and great academics justifies its still strong reputation. But that doesn’t mean the future is bright for Jim Delany’s conference. When it comes to NFL-caliber athletes, there just aren’t that many of them that come from the Big Ten’s nine-state footprint.
But things could be worse…
|Big 12 States||Schools In State||Draft Picks By HS State ’92-’11|
|Texas||Baylor, TCU (2012), Texas, Texas Tech||493|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma, Oklahoma St.||63|
|Kansas||Kansas, Kansas St.||27|
|W. Virginia||W. Virginia (2012)||10|
|5 States||10 Schools||631 NFL Draft Picks|
In-fighting, uneven revenue splits, and one school’s dominance over the political landscape of the Big 12 have driven away Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M in recent years. That has left the Big 12 on life support. ESPN and Fox television money will keep the conference alive for — it’s believed — at least six more seasons, but at some point the Big 12 will need to expand or disband. It is a Texas-centric league at the moment that covers but a five-state area. It’s current footprint has produced 1,300 fewer NFL draft picks between 1992 and 2011 than the SEC. And now the Southeastern Conference’s addition of A&M gives Slive’s conference a foothold in the Big 12′s last remaining stronghold. In World War II terms, College Station is Normandy and the Lone Star State is the rest of Europe.
Above, we mentioned census data. Now let’s take some of those numbers into account. Indeed, Delany himself mentioned recent surveys when discussion possible Big Ten expansion over the past two summers. More people are moving to the South and to the West. More people are leaving the Midwest.
Looking at the most recent growth rates from the US Census Bureau (2010-2011), it’s easy to see which states are growing fastest:
Texas — growing at 2.1% (Big 12, SEC)
Utah — growing at 1.9% (Pac-12)
Colorado — growing at 1.7% (Pac-12)
Washington — growing at 1.5% (Pac-12)
Arizona — growing at 1.4% (Pac-12)
Florida — growing at 1.3% (ACC, SEC)
Georgia — growing at 1.3% (ACC, SEC)
N. Carolina — growing at 1.2% (ACC)
Virginia — growing at 1.1% (ACC)
California — growing at 1.1% (Pac-12)
S. Carolina — growing at 1.1% (ACC, SEC)
And now here’s a look at the states growing slowest (or actually declining in population):
Michigan — declining at -.08% (Big Ten)
Ohio — growing at .07% (Big Ten)
W. Virginia — growing at .13% (Big 12)
Illinois — growing at .3% (Big Ten)
Pennsylvania — growing at .3% (ACC, Big Ten)
Missouri — growing at .3% (SEC)
Mississippi — growing at .3% (SEC)
Wisconsin — growing at .4% (Big Ten)
New York — growing at .4% (ACC)
Alabama — growing at .4% (SEC)
Indiana — growing at .5% (Big Ten)
Iowa — growing at .5% (Big Ten, Big 12)
The Big Ten and Big 12 states are growing at tiny rates (or declining) and there’s been no expansion moves made to offset those trends. The Pac-12 region is growing. The South is a mixed bag, but both the ACC and SEC have expanded in order to counteract any potential negative shifts.
NFL draft history plus the current migration patterns of modern Americans suggest that the SEC will continue to dominate in terms of football talent produced for years to come. As noted above, there will be blips on the radar from time to time, but the numbers and trends should make it rather clear to any objective observer that the Southeastern Conference — followed by the ACC and the Pac-12 — appear to be in good shape moving forward. The Big Ten, on the other hand, appears to have to some work to do if it wants to dominate football as it did for much of the 20th century. The Big 12? Well, the word “doomed” comes to mind… unless there’s some serious outward expansion either to the West or South. Unfortunately for that league, several of its schools have been headed in the other directions the past few years. And what schools in the Pac-12, SEC or ACC would want to go from growth zones into a dead zone?
In Part Three of our Stat Analysis series we’ll examine the recent talent production of all 14 SEC members.
(Kudos to USAToday.com for this wonderful little draft-tracking tool.)