!(http://static.nfl.com/static/content/public/photo/2015/07/10/0ap3000000500993.jpg)CLICK ON BRACKET TO EXPAND.
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. 2 Stanford -- 13-0
Gil Brandt: Cal. A very close matchup goes to the quarterback who is, right now, the better signal-caller.
Bucky Brooks: Cal. The Bears' combination of speed, explosiveness and versatility makes them nearly impossible to defend. Lynch is a dynamic runner/receiver with a rugged style; Jackson is a big-play threat with the potential to score from anywhere on the field. With Rodgers at the controls, the Bears have too much firepower for the NFL's best young quarterback.
Dave Dameshek: Cal. Cal's trio trucks Stanford like Kevin Moen driving over a Cardinal-colored trombone player.
No. 1 Tennessee defeats No. 2 USC -- 13-0
Gil Brandt: Tennessee. Manning is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and it's hard to beat the best.
Bucky Brooks: Tennessee. It's hard to find a better set of skill players than the Vols' veteran crew. Foster and Witten are unheralded playmakers capable of moving the ball. Manning is the ideal orchestrator thanks to his high football IQ and pinpoint accuracy. Although the Trojans can rival the Vols' explosiveness with Bush and Palmer, the edge goes to Tennessee in this matchup.
Colleen Wolfe: Tennessee. Huzzah! The dastardly streak is broken. (USC has played Tennessee four times in college football history, with the Trojans winning all four games by a combined score of 102-24.)Carson Palmer easily connects with the speedy Nelson Agholor, but USC gets reckless with the run. The Tennessee trio prevails, and order is restored.
Charles Davis: Tennessee. The streak dies for USC, as the Vols run it with Foster and "ring the bell" with Witten. Close, but it's Tennessee's band plus 10 "Rocky Tops" over USC's "Fight Ons."
Dave Dameshek: Tennessee. The two QBs look more like professors than students (and so does the Vols' tight end). Age before beauty: Tennessee wins.
Dan Hanzus: Tennessee. The bourgeoning Peyton-Jason bromance goes next level after a decisive win over the L.A. kids.
Charley Casserly: Tennessee.Peyton, with Foster and Witten, has too much talent, depth and experience to be beaten by this USC group.
Mike Huguenin: Tennessee.Manning trumps Palmer, Foster trumps Bush and Witten trumps Agholor. It isn't close.
No. 1 Georgia defeats No. 2 Oklahoma -- 7-6
Bucky Brooks: Georgia. The Bulldogs enjoy a decided advantage in this matchup. Stafford and Green are Pro Bowl-caliber playmakers with home-run potential. Gurley isn't fully healthy, but he's shown he's a special runner with the ball in his hands. The Sooners can lean on Adrian Peterson to keep it close, but the questions surrounding Bradford's durability make it hard to go with OU in this battle.
Dave Dameshek: Georgia. A tale of two knees: It was the best of times ... for Gurley (thanks to his high-end teammates Stafford and Green).
Dan Hanzus: Georgia. This is the closest matchup of the four. During halftime, Bob Costas moderates a discussion on ACL surgery scars with Gurley, Bradford and Peterson.
Charley Casserly: Oklahoma. Bradford and Peterson are enough to overcome Georgia's edge at wide receiver.
Conor Orr: Oklahoma. Something tells me Bradford would be unstoppable in a three-on-three tournament.
Mike Huguenin: Oklahoma. It's close, but Peterson is the tipping factor. Stafford and Green are a potent duo, but Gurley -- while talented -- hasn't done anything yet in the NFL. Bradford has had his moments, and Stills is steady.
No. 1 Wisconsin defeats No. 3 Michigan -- 10-3
Bucky Brooks: Wisconsin. For all of Brady's greatness, I believe he is overmatched in this one. He simply lacks the supporting cast to keep up with a Badgers' squad that features the best player in football (Watt) and the ultimate game manager (Wilson) at quarterback. With Gordon also adding some explosiveness at RB, the Badgers should move on to the next round.
Dave Dameshek: Wisconsin. As long as Wilson doesn't listen to others and just hands the ball off at the goal line, the Badgers win.
Conor Orr: Michigan. Brady downs Wilson yet again and explains to him the finer points of making it look like you're taking less money on your contract than you really are.
Mike Huguenin: Wisconsin. Watt is the difference. Brady trumps Wilson, but Watt's presence vastly overshadows Robinson and Funchess.