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. 8 Florida -- 16-0
Gil Brandt: Cal. Cal has way too much firepower in Lynch and Jackson -- and way too good a quarterback in Rodgers -- for the Gators.
Colleen Wolfe: Cal. Over the past two seasons, the Cal triarchy combined for 74 more games and 105 more touchdowns (!) than the Florida boys. Cinderella isn't dancing past pregame.
Charley Casserly: Cal. Not much thought had to go into this pick. All three Cal players are better than the Florida trio.
Conor Orr: Cal. Wow. Sometimes it's difficult to imagine how much NFL talent has come out of Cal over the years, not to mention NFL Media's Mike Silver. What is in the water there? I'm taking Cal in a landslide. Rodgers is the best player on Earth right now.
No. 4 Utah defeats No. 5 Clemson -- 13-3
Dave Dameshek: Utah. A four-seed for the Smith brothers (one of whom will be wearing a gold jacket one day)! This might give Steve a chip on his shoulder.
Dan Hanzus: Clemson. Clipboard Jesus saves! Clemson scores the minor upset here. Spiller and Watkins are bad men.
No. 3 Texas A&M defeats No. 6 West Virginia -- 15-1
Gil Brandt: Texas A&M. Evans -- who redshirted during Tannehill's last year with the Aggies -- makes good on his chance to work with the ascendant QB.
Bucky Brooks: Texas A&M. The Tannehill-to-Evans connection could emerge as the most dangerous pairing in the tournament. Evans is too big and fast for most defenders, which is critical in games where big plays are often the deciding factor.
Dave Dameshek: Texas A&M. This one comes down to the QB, and just as it'll be in 2015 AFC East, Tannehill wins.
Charley Casserly: Texas A&M. You have to give this one to A&M based on Tannehill's career versus Smith's; though to be fair, the latter outdueled the former in their most recent head-to-head.
No. 2 Stanford defeats No. 7 Oregon -- 16-0
Michael Silver: Stanford. Clearly, I'm buttering up the Cardinal for its inevitable dismantling by its superior archrival.
Bucky Brooks: Stanford. The explosive balance of the Cardinal will challenge opponents in this bracket. Luck has the luxury of targeting Baldwin on vertical throws or pounding opponents with Gerhart between the tackles.
Dave Dameshek: Stanford. The Cardinal has the edge at QB and WR ... at least until Mariota and Huff do something in the NFL.
Dan Hanzus: Stanford. I was curious what Stewart was going to do after "The Daily Show." I guess the answer is lose in the first round of a fake tournament.
Elliot Harrison: Stanford. Luck would turn around, not hand it to Gerhart, and throw it to Baldwin. Stanford wins. Baldwin complains he's underrated.
Chase Goodbread: Stanford. With the best young quarterback in the NFL, Stanford's the easy pick here.
No. 1 Tennessee defeats No. 8 Arkansas -- 16-0
Bucky Brooks: Tennessee. I love the veteran trio the Vols trot out in this tournament. It's hard to beat the combination of a pinpoint passer, a dynamic runner and a big-bodied playmaker over the middle.
Elliot Harrison: Tennessee. Geez, that Tennessee triumvirate is pretty doggone good. The only guy who gets hurt more than Foster is McFadden, so there's that.
No. 5 Florida State defeats No. 4 Vanderbilt -- 10-6
Michael Silver: Florida State. Two QBs with tons of unfulfilled NFL potential -- only one of them has yet to play an NFL game ... I'll take HIM.
Bucky Brooks: Florida State. The Seminoles' young crew lacks a lot of experience, but talent reigns supreme in big games. The Winston-Benjamin connection produced a BCS title; it leads to a sustained run in this tournament.
Marc Sessler: Florida State. I'll go with the quarterback who hasn't started an NFL game over Cutler.
Charley Casserly: Vanderbilt. Close call here, but I'm going with the vet Cutler over the rookie Winston. Both are inconsistent, though.
Conor Orr: Vanderbilt. Interesting -- but underwhelming -- matchup. Having never seen Winston in a pro uniform, I'll put my blind faith in Cutler.
No. 3 LSU defeats No. 6 Louisville -- 12-4
Bucky Brooks: LSU. LSU's skill players are downright scary to defend on the perimeter. Hill punishes the Cards between the tackles, setting OBJ up for a few big plays on play-action passes.
Dave Dameshek: LSU. Would love to take Teddy here ... but Beckham and Hill salvage the Bayou's honor.
No. 2 USC defeats No. 7 Oklahoma State -- 15-1
Gil Brandt: USC. Bryant can't make up for the edge provided by Palmer, Bush and Agholor -- the latter of whom I like a lot.
Bucky Brooks: USC. The Trojans' trio has the look of a championship squad, but Palmer needs to shake off the rust to take advantage of Bush and Agholor on the perimeter.
Adam Schein: USC. Dez gave me consideration for the upset, but Palmer is healthy and Agholor can win Rookie of the Year.
Charley Casserly: USC. Palmer is the clear choice at QB here and thus why I'm going with the Trojans.
No. 1 Georgia defeats No. 8 South Carolina -- 16-0
Bucky Brooks: Georgia. The Bulldogs' crew is dangerously explosive on the perimeter. Green is a dominant force as a WR and Gurley could be a special player -- if healthy.
Conor Orr: Georgia. Stafford, Gurley and Green have what it takes to go all the way in this tournament. Who is slowing that train down?
No. 4 Pittsburgh defeats No. 5 Ole Miss -- 10-6
Michael Silver: Pittsburgh. Two elite offensive players and an untested quarterback? I'll take my chances.
Colleen Wolfe: Pittsburgh. You might be thinking, "How can you not believe in a Charlie Whitehurst-led team and then back an offense lead by Tom Savage?" This sounds like a Rex Ryan team. I like Rex. I want his team to win. Pitt's weapons are better -- whatever Larry Fitzgerald has lost, LeSean McCoy makes up for it.
Charles Davis: Pittsburgh. Pitt wins in a bit of an upset. McCoy's versatility and Fitzgerald's professionalism carry the day.
Dave Dameshek: Ole Miss. As much as I'd like to take my hometown school, the dropoff from Eli to Savage is larger than Shady to McCluster.
Conor Orr: Ole Miss.Pittsburgh has a slightly better lineup, but Manning gives Ole Miss the edge where it counts: at QB.
No. 6 Arizona defeats No. 3 Auburn -- 9-7
Adam Schein: Arizona. Gronk is the best tight end in football. Foles is going to shine in St. Louis. 'Zona in an upset.
Elliot Harrison: Arizona. This is a close matchup. ... Going with Foles to Gronk for the win. Gronk then proceeds to do a keg stand with Foles looking on expressionless.
Chase Goodbread: Auburn. As good as Gronk is, Auburn takes this matchup with high expectations for Coates.
Conor Orr: Auburn. Love this Auburn combination and could only imagine the terror on everyone's faces if the trio showed up at a flag football 3-on-3.
No. 2 Oklahoma defeats No. 7 Texas -- 16-0
Michael Silver: Oklahoma. Kindly hand the ball to AD, get out of the way and let the Red River flow north to south.
Bucky Brooks: Oklahoma. The Sooners would lean on Peterson to sneak past the Longhorns in a rivalry game. Bradford's accuracy and football IQ make the difference in this hard-hitting affair.
Dave Dameshek: Oklahoma. A two-seed for Bradford, Stills and a guy who's barely played since '13? Sure, the Sooners win here, but ...
Dan Hanzus: Oklahoma. I'm operating under the impression that Bradford's knees work and will not explode at any point. If so, AP can do the rest. Another favorite.
Elliot Harrison: Oklahoma. Fun matchup, but I'm taking the Sooner trio. Peterson and Charles are much closer in quality than people will tell you, though.
Chase Goodbread: Oklahoma. On the field, this matchup is known as the Red River Rivalry; here, it belongs to OU.
No. 1 Wisconsin defeats No. 8 Notre Dame -- 14-2
Gil Brandt: Wisconsin. Wilson and Watt -- who missed each other by one year at Madison -- win this one with ease.
Bucky Brooks: Wisconsin. The Badgers will need to deviate from the regimented approach to maximize the talents of Wilson, Gordon and Watt. It would take some trickery and deception to escape with the win, but Wilson and Watt's leadership makes the difference in the end.
Dave Dameshek: Wisconsin. Watt seems gimmicky at first blush, but after last year, do you really doubt his ability to make it as a tight end?
Chase Goodbread: Wisconsin. With two of the NFL's truly elite players, Wisconsin makes this one easy.
Conor Orr: Notre Dame. Clausen is on the rise! Wilson, sensing a contract impasse, slips a bit! Notre Dame in a wild upset.
No. 5 Central Florida defeats No. 4 Fresno State -- 9-7
Gil Brandt: Fresno State. This is a great matchup, but I have to give the narrow edge to Carr and Co.
Dan Hanzus: Central Florida. Lot of potential for both these teams. This is the game that ends 38-35 in overtime. Give me UCF.
Chase Goodbread: Central Florida. Marshall is the most proven of the six, and Bortles flashed at times as a rookie.
Conor Orr: Central Florida. Bortles was money in college and would be fun to pair with Marshall. All hail the Knights!
No. 3 Michigan defeats No. 6 Michigan State -- 15-1
Gil Brandt: Michigan. Bell is a stud, but the presence of Brady squelches any potential for an upset.
Charley Casserly: Michigan. Brady doesn't have a top supporting cast, but he always finds a way to win in the playoffs.
No. 2 Alabama defeats No. 7 UNC -- 16-0
Gil Brandt: Alabama. One set of former teammates (Lacy and Jones) trumps another (Bernard and Ebron).
Charles Davis: Alabama. Yeah, Alabama ... and BIG. Lacy pounds, Jones flies and they distance themselves from Gio Bernard's heroics.
Elliot Harrison: Alabama. Guys with initials always make for good theatre ... AJ vs. T.J. vs. J.R.R. Tolkien vs. J.K. Rowling vs. J.R. Ewing vs. who shot him. I'm rambling. Tide rolls.