By Christopher Wuensch
2. WEST VIRGINIA
Schools: Marshall, West Virginia
While Virginia might be for lovers, its westward namesake might not exactly be for football.
The state of West Virginia is steep in football tradition, but how much of the Mountain State’s recent success is due to actual West Virginians?
The answer? Not all that many.
Where Wyoming gets a pass due to its small population, West Virginia — with 1.3 million more citizens — does not.
West Virginia’s two programs are 10 percent in-state talent, while the state exports a paltry five players to FBS schools, penultimate to Wyoming among the 41 states with FBS schools.
Idaho and Hawaii have similar populations of about 1.9 million. But Idaho (18.5 percent) and Hawaii (52 percent) build more with homegrown talent. Plus Hawaii, with roughly 500,000 less people, exports 60 players to the mainland, compared to West Virginia’s aforementioned five.
The Mountaineers may have a .600 all-time winning percentage in 100 seasons and have won six Big East titles in the last decade (even though about three teams usually tie for first in the now defunct Big East), but they’ve done so with a roster full of players with out-of-state driver’s licenses.
There are only 22 West Virginians in the entire FBS, compared to 49 players from Florida alone playing at WVU and Marshall.
Schools: Oregon, Oregon State
For all the bluster that comes out of Oregon, the Beaver State is, arguably, a manufactured football environment.
Between Eugene and Corvallis, Oregon high schools only provide 20 percent of the FBS players. That’s only 36 Oregonians of the Beavers’ and Ducks’ combined 178 players.
Sure, the Ducks have won three of the last four Pac-12/10 titles, but they did so with more Californians (34) than Oregonians (19) and a roster comprised with athletes from 17 other states.
In fact, there are more Californians (76) playing in Oregon than there are Oregon-raised athletes (71) in the entire FBS.
Things could improve, however, and fast. New Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich was able to keep three highly-touted recruits in-state with this year’s signing class — including two big offensive linemen to create space for Thomas Tyner, a Beaver State native one of the nation’s top running back recruits.