Pac-12 spawns most Pro Bowlers; Utes in top 10 of individual schools

Published: Saturday, Jan. 28 2012 10:18 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Pac-12 produced the most players elected for the 2012 Pro Bowl and the University of Utah is ranked in the top 10 in representation.

Players have been enjoying the Hawaiian sunlight, sporting leis and in the case of Denver Broncos' rookie Von Miller, catching 250-pound blue marlins in deep sea fishing escapades.

Leisure activities aside, 69 schools manufactured at least one former athlete participating in the Pro Bowl that gets underway at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Miami (Fla.) was the lone program that surpassed five or more players tabbed Pro Bowlers with seven. Frank Gore (San Francisco), Willis McGahee (Denver), Ray Lewis (Baltimore), Ed Reed (Baltimore), Jimmy Graham (New Orleans), Chris Myers (Houston) and Vince Wilfork (New England) all used to run through the smoke for the Hurricanes.

Auburn, California, Georgia and Pittsburgh each shelled out four players, while Michigan, Ole Miss, USC and Utah rounded out the only teams to have at least three voted to Honolulu.

Utah's Eric Weddle (San Diego) and Steve Smith (Carolina) were both named starters and Paul Soliai (Miami) was voted to the AFC team.

The Pro Bowl selection process is determined by one-third votes from players, coaches and fans.

In total, every Division I FBS conference had at least two players elected with 76 percent of the chosen athletes formally playing in one of the six automatic qualifying conferences.

The Pac-12 secured the most affiliation with 19 departed players in both the AFC and NFC. Colorado, Stanford and Washington State were the only members in the conference without representation.

Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA each contributed to the Pac-12 total with two players apiece.

The SEC ranked second with 18 and the ACC finished third with 17, respectively. The MAC led all non-AQ conferences with seven.

Central Michigan, Kent State and Western Michigan all had two players which is more than BCS participants Alabama (0), Stanford (0), Virginia Tech (1), Oklahoma State (1), West Virginia (0), Wisconsin (1), Clemson (1) and Oregon (1) combined.

Michigan (3) and LSU (2) were the only teams to play in a BCS game this season that produced as many or more.

Eight non-DI schools (New Hampshire, Shippensburg, Towson, Bloomsburg, Idaho State, John Carroll, Maine and Northern Colorado) each have a finger in the Pro Bowl pot this year.

Jared Allen (Minnesota), who played his college ball in Pocatello, finished with a league-leading 22 sacks. He proves the transition from a small stadium previously known as the MiniDome to the Metrodome is possible. London Fletcher (Washington), in his 14th season after his playing days with the John Carroll Blue Streaks, led the NFL with 166 tackles.

Pro Bowl by conference

Pac-12 19

SEC 18

ACC 17

Big 10 13

Big East 9

Big 12 9

Non-DI 8

MAC 7

Conference USA 4

MWC 3

Sun Belt 3

WAC 2

Pro Bowl by school

Miami (Fla.) 7

Auburn 4

California 4

Georgia 4

Pittsburgh 4

Michigan 3

Ole Miss 3

USC 3

Utah 3

Arizona 2

Arizona State 2

Central Michigan 2

Fresno State 2

Iowa 2

Kent State 2

Louisville 2

LSU 2

N.C. State 2

Oklahoma 2

Penn State 2

Texas 2

Texas A&M 2

Tennessee 2

UCLA 2

Western Michigan 2

Alabama-Birmingham 1

Arkansas 1

Bloomsburg 1

Boise State 1

Boston College 1

Central Florida 1

Clemson 1

East Carolina 1

Florida 1

Florida State 1

Georgia Tech 1

Idaho State 1

Illinois 1

John Carroll 1

Louisiana-Lafayette 1

Maine 1

Maryland 1

Miami (Ohio) 1

Missouri 1

Nebraska 1

New Hampshire 1

New Mexico 1

North Carolina 1

Northern Colorado 1

North Texas 1

Ohio State 1

Oklahoma State 1

Oregon 1

Oregon State 1

Purdue 1

Rutgers 1

Shippensburg 1

South Carolina 1

South Florida 1

Syracuse 1

TCU 1

Texas Tech 1

Towson 1

Troy 1

Tulane 1

Virginia 1

Virginia Tech 1

Washington 1

Wisconsin 1

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

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