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2hAdam Rittenberg

Lamar Jackson is back, but is he the best?

Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016, but does that automatically mean he's the best player returning in 2017? With a top-25 list loaded with Heisman-worthy talent, it's a tough call.

USA TODAY Sports
1dAdam Rittenberg

Best college football players in 2017? Start with QBs

First of all, making a list of top players is just asking for trouble, but we like to live on the edge. So here is the first half of our top 50 players. Now, let the second-guessing begin.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
14hAdam Rittenberg

Coaches whose stock went up (and down) in bowl season

A coach's stock is only as good as his last game. Win your bowl game, and food tastes better, the sun shines brighter and your team is on the rise. Lose, and it's a long wait for redemption.

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Swinney right about Watson deserving first-round grade? (2:23)
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Why did three Oregon players end up in the hospital? (3:22)
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Players' health during workout falls on strength coaches (4:36)
David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
4dESPN Analytics

Breaking down FPI's performance in 2016

The 2016 college football season featured quite a few surprises. See where FPI hit and missed last season, and where it can improve in 2017.

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Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Proposal 2016-136-3 is the first to fail in the autonomy session. It would have allowed an exception for student-athletes to participate in "limited recruiting activities" during time away from athletic activities in the academic year.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

First time-balance proposal up for vote at the autonomy session was No. 2016-135, which prohibits athletically related activities (not including games) from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. It passes with unanimous approval. "That's a big deal," says Minnesota president Eric Kaler, chair of the D-I board of directors.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

NCAA Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips confirmed the council will meet again on April 13-14 in Indianapolis, and it's during that session that the recruiting reform package that will create an early signing period in December and alter the official visit calendar for April-June trips is expected to pass.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Interesting comment during the autonomy discussion on Proposal No. 2016-139 (banning offseason practice off campus) from Nandi Mehta of Northwestern women's soccer: "Why are we here?" Mehta, among 15 student-athlete reps on the autonomy committee, opposes the proposal. She says the point of college athletics is to create opportunity for student-athletes. "I don't think it's right to strip a student-athlete of this opportunity."

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey continues robust discussion over proposal to ban spring-break trips. Sankey is in favor of the proposal. Sankey notes that this would not ban overseas trips for teams in the offseason. And if there's an exception that needs to be made for skiing, Sankey said, that's fine. The bigger issue is time management.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Michigan AD Warde Manuel speaks in opposition of autonomy proposal to ban off-campus during non-championship season: "I'm in opposition of this legislation. I know this comes as a shock to many of my colleagues." Not one Michigan football player complained of the experience at IMG Academy last year, Manuel said. "If we want to take this further, we should not allow any practice."

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

The autonomy group is now discussing off-campus practice during a vacation period outside the championship season. They're looking at Michigan here.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

The Power 5 schools at the NCAA convention are testing their voting buttons ahead of the autonomy session. Fairly simple question: Did you fly to Nashville? Well, Kansas State and Rutgers failed to vote. Fill in your own punchline.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

NCAA president Mark Emmert said tonight he was proud of the association for its choice to move championship events out of North Carolina for the state's legal stance on transgender restroom usage. Emmert and Georgia Tech president Bud Peterson, the NCAA Board of Governors chair, declined to speculate on how other states' legislative decisions may impact the NCAA.

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Kyle Bonagura ESPN Staff Writer 

Cal announced it has hired USC associate head strength and conditioning coach Torre Becton as its head strength and conditioning coach.

David Lombardi ESPN Staff Writer 

New Cal strength coach Torre Becton used to be on the staff at Washington. Upon reaching the CFP, many of this season's Husky seniors credited Becton for the mentality he helped instill in them back when they were freshmen.

Brett McMurphy College football reporter 

Florida DL coach Chris Rumph, who received overtures from Clemson, is remaining at UF, sources told ESPN. "He wants to remain at Florida on (Coach) Jim McElwain's staff," a source said. Rumph, one of the nation's top recruiters, has been at Florida the past two seasons. He also was a Clemson assistant from 2006-10. Rumph and McElwain coached together on Alabama's 2011 BCS championship team - Rumph was Bama's DL coach and McElwain was offensive coordinator.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

This is where NCAA president Mark Emmert takes the stage for his annual convention speech. Big crowd on hand.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

During the NCAA Division I issues forum, a clarification on official visits in June was made clear to the body. When NCAA Proposal 2016-16 passes in April, prospects will not be able to take official visits in June and also participate in a institutional camp or clinic on same trip.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

A poll of Division I membership in attendance at the NCAA convention issues forum in Nashville shows 82-percent support for the legislative package of changes to the football recruiting model.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Recruting reform is a major focus of the NCAA Division I issues forum Thursday at NCAA convention. The forum is formally introducing the adjustments made Tuesday and Wednesday by the Football Oversight Committee and the Division I Council l that included mid-December signing period and spring official visits.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Brady Bramlett, Ole Miss baseball player and co-chair of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said his group is working on a questionnaire for recruits in all sports to bring with them on visits to help them ask coaches the "appropriate and tough questions?."

Kyle Bonagura ESPN Staff Writer 

The new home of the Los Angeles Chargers, the StubHub Center in Carson, is the site of this week's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl -- the No. 3 showcase game for outgoing college seniors.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Expect more reform for college football in the next legislative cycle, says Oliver Luck, the NCAA's executive VP of regulatory affairs. Next up? A move to regulate the number of non-coaching, football-staff positions and a more enforceable way to govern contact rules of the spring evaluation period. Luck was deeply involved in the package of legislation approved Wednesday by the D-I Council that includes the addition of a 10th assistant coach, the elimination of satellite camps and creation of three-month spring period for official recruiting visits.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Brenda Tracy continues her work toward helping create NCAA legislation to ban student-athletes with a history of violence from college campuses. Tracy, who said she was raped by Oregon State football players in 1998, has delivered her message to athletes and staff at 16 schools since last summer. She participated in a panel on sexual violence Thursday at the NCAA convention and sits on a NCAA subcommittee that is studying the issue. "We're actually talking about real legislation that has some teeth to it," Tracy said, "real rules, so I'm happy about that."