Earlier this summer, we updated our NFL Triplets list, and everyone who read it agreed with the fact-based conclusions 100 percent.
As you might know, many colleges also field football teams -- the best players from which go on to the aforementioned NFL. So, with the season's kickoff drawing ever closer, it's high time we tackle the best trios of student-athletes, school by school, who are currently employed as pro football players.
Yes, like an expanded version of the CFB's fancy new bracket tournament, we've pooled all the NFL rosters to come up with the 32 best trios by university. The standards remain the same: One quarterback, one running back and one pass catcher, with more weight/credit placed on the QB than the other two spots. All players must be on active rosters -- and, for the sake of their destinies here, all are preferably good at football.
My esteemed NFL Media colleagues and I will be casting our votes to determine which teams advance. Have an opinion on who should go on and who should go home? Let us know.
-- Dave Dameshek
No. 1 Cal defeats No. 1 Tennessee -- 8-3
Michael Silver: Cal. First of all, since I missed the last round while on vacation, let me take a moment to savor Cal's dominant victory over Stanford in the quarterfinals. It's always a wonderful feeling to be reminded of Cal's superiority over its rival -- in all ways -- and to celebrate yet another great day to be a Golden Bear. (Hint: They all are.) Now then, it's time to dispense of the Vols, one of the few trios that can compete with Cal ... but which falls just short at each of the three positions. We're loaded, and we make no apologies. If Jackson tweaks an ankle, we can turn to Keenan Allen, or even Marvin Jones (10 receiving touchdowns in 2013). And Rodgers and Lynch are the best in the world at their respective positions. Next victim?
Daniel Jeremiah: Cal. This is a close game, but Cal ultimately has too many explosive plays, and Tennessee can't keep up.
Bucky Brooks: Cal. The Golden Bears' trio features the top quarterback and running back in the NFL complementing the most explosive playmaker in the game. Although the Vols' savvy vets certainly pose a tremendous challenge, the overall explosiveness of the Rodgers-Lynch-Jackson combo makes Cal the pick.
Charles Davis: Tennessee. Fantastic matchup! Vols counter "Beast Mode" runs from Marshawn Lynch by playing "small ball" and controlling the clock with runs, swings and checkdowns to Arian Foster. Then, Peyton Manning and Jason Witten win it late with a perfect collaboration on a "stick nod" route -- GIVE THEM SIX! Vols Win!!
Chase Goodbread: Tennessee. The Volunteers get a slight nod in two out of three matchups here: Manning over Rodgers and Witten over Jackson. Sorry, Marshawn, the ball is out of your hands again.
Mike Huguenin: Cal. The two best "teams" meet in a semifinal. I would take Lynch over Foster and Witten over Jackson. That means it's up to the QBs -- and Rodgers is at his peak while Manning is on the downside of his career. Cal moves on.
No. 1 Georgia defeats No. 1 Wisconsin -- 7-4
Michael Silver: Georgia. Watt might be No. 1 on NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players of 2015," and he could probably be a great tight end if he devoted the bulk of his energies to the position, but asking him to "compete" with Green, one of the league's elite wideouts, is a bit much. Gurley and Gordon are both untested, so this is a push, and Stafford and Wilson are at least in the same ballpark. The difference is Green.
Gil Brandt: Georgia. Going with my neighbor, Stafford, who is 5,054 yards away from topping Bobby Layne's 26,768 career yards -- and thus becoming the most prolific NFL passer to come out of Highland Park High School in Dallas.
Bucky Brooks: Wisconsin. I love the moxie of the Badgers' trio. Wilson and Watt are dynamic leaders with outstanding intangibles, and their winning pedigree makes it hard for opponents to compete. With Gordon adding a spark as a home-run hitter, the Badgers move on the next round.
Charles Davis: Wisconsin.Russell Wilson and Melvin Gordon flip the script on their play -- and it leads to a victory. Wilson lives in the pocket and gets the ball out of his hands to his playmaking RB, Melvin Gordon. Yes, Gordon is the difference -- catching the ball in space and creating consistent yardage. Also, J.J. Watt chips in with some G.A.P. sequences ("game altering plays").
Dave Dameshek: Georgia. After the Vols' loss to a Pac-12 team in the other semi, the Dawgs save face for the SEC with their underrated QB and real WR.
Chase Goodbread: Georgia. Watt bullied his way into this bracket, and went a round too far as a pseudo receiver. Offensive pass interference on the tight end with the defensive end's jersey number.