We look at the total number of wins and players on active NFL rosters over the last decade for each Pac-12 program.

Share story

Arizona

Win total: 68
Active players: 9
Wins per active player: 7.55

Couple thoughts: Arizona typically plays one of the weakest nonconference schedules. Subtract one win every two years in a scenario that has the Wildcats playing an A-level game annually, and the WPAP would drop to 7. At the same time, given recruiting challenges with location, facilities and in-state talent, eight wins constitutes an undeniably successful season — and the Wildcats have done that five times in the 10 years.

Washington State

Win total: 43
Active players: 7
Wins per active player: 6.14

Similar to Arizona in nonconference scheduling and, to an even greater extent, recruiting challenges. For half the applicable timeframe, the Cougars were a conference bottom feeder. But the recent uptick under Mike Leach — essentially, the past four seasons — has produced 26 wins with limited NFL talent.

Arizona State

Win total: 70
Active players: 12
Wins per active player: 5.83

The timeframe includes three 10-win seasons with a limited annual churn of NFL talent, two of those season coming under Todd Graham with Dennis Erickson’s recruits. My question: Shouldn’t ASU, if both recruiting and teaching are done properly, be producing more NFL players?

Oregon

Win total: 102
Active players: 22
Wins per active player: 4.63

For the most part, the Ducks have scheduled well, recruited well and coached well. They have the money and the facilities, of course. But they also have to fly in the majority of their recruits: Approximately 75 percent of the 2017 roster is from beyond the Pacific Northwest. Success is closely tied to establishing an identity that meshes with the recruiting pool and sticking with that ID. The Ducks did that very well for a long time.

Washington

Win total: 66
Active players: 19
Wins per active player: 3.47

Half of the timeframe covered featured seven- or eight-win seasons, although it might not seem that way to UW fans. I’d argue the Huskies should produce more NFL players going forward than any program not based in Los Angeles given the facilities, tradition, established pipelines to other metro areas … and the frequency with which that talent is maximized by Chris Petersen and his staff.

Colorado

Win total: 43
Active players: 13
Wins per active player: 3.30

No need to caveat the Big 12 years — the conferences are comparable enough. And CU didn’t crater until it joined the Pac-12 and the poor Hawkins/Embree recruiting spanned the roster. Also note: Almost one quarter of the wins, and one-third of the NFL actives (five), are from 2016-17.

Stanford

Win total: 93
Active players: 28
Wins per active player: 3.32

That’s 9.3 wins per season for a decade, which is elite success by any standard. The NFL numbers support the notion that Stanford has recruited and coached well — as with Oregon (for most of the decade), the Cardinal has an established identity that forms the foundation for recruiting and player development. Interesting comp: The Ducks have more wins and fewer NFL actives, with the personnel disparity partly due to tight ends: Stanford has five on rosters; the Ducks have two.

Utah

Win total: 88
Active players: 28
Wins per active player: 3.14

The first four years of the timeframe were the Mountain West era, and Utah averaged 10.5 wins in that span. In the Pac-12, the Utes are averaging 7.66 victories, with the trend improving. Key point: Competition is not as stiff in the Mountain West, obviously, but it’s also more difficult to recruit NFL talent.

Oregon State

Win total: 61
Active players: 20
Wins per active player: 3.05

Recruiting to OSU, as with WSU, allows so little margin for error. Had the timeframe been 2005-14 instead of 2007-16, the Beavers’ per-year win total would have shifted from six to seven without a significant change in the actives — thereby elevating the OSU bottom line (WPAP) to the conference’s top tier.

UCLA

Win total: 68
Active players: 30
Wins per active player: 2.26

No program has underachieved relative to its recruiting base like the Bruins. Not suggesting they should be USC, but only three seasons in the applied timeframe have produced nine-plus wins — the same total as Arizona State and Oregon State. Meanwhile, the Bruins have generated more than twice as many NFL actives as the Sun Devils and 50 percent more than the Beavers.

USC

Win total: 94
Active players: 42
Wins per active player: 2.23

Tricky situation to evaluate because of the coaching turnover and NCAA sanctions. Bottom line: The Trojans have unmatched recruiting advantages, and they grossly underachieved several times; but win totals and NFL talent production don’t move at the same speed once you get to elite levels. Maxing out the former is more difficult than the latter, even with the scholarship limitations.

Cal

Win total: 58
Active players: 28
Wins per active player: 2.07

The NFL actives skew sharply to Jeff Tedford’s recruits but support the notion that the Bears have underachieved since 2008, the last time they won 9+ games. They have three times more actives than Arizona and 10 fewer wins.

Notes:

  • NFL actives refer to players on opening day rosters, as provided by the Pac-12.
  • I did not adjust for prior conference affiliation for Colorado or Utah.
  • I did not take into account nonconference schedules, which vary significantly in some cases.
  • The timeframe used to calculate win totals does not match the average NFL career (approximately three years).