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10 CFB headlines you might have missed during draft season

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Tony Ding/Associated Press
Jim Harbaugh is looking to get Michigan back on track after the team finished 5-7 last season.

Trying to get caught up on college football news that happened while you were immersed in the NFL draft? Here are 10 news items that caught our eye in the three months between the national championship and the draft itself that you might have missed.

College Football 24/7 Hot Topics:

1. Alabama wins recruiting race -- again

For the fifth year in a row, Alabama was the national recruiting champion. The Tide signed the nation's top class, as computed by 247sports.com's composite rankings, which essentially is a consensus list of the nation's top recruits. USC had the nation's No. 2 class, followed by Florida State, Tennessee and LSU. The SEC had five of the nation's top 10 classes; the ACC and Pac-12 had two each, and the Big Ten had one. Conspicuous by its absence? The Big 12. And when it came to the top players, there were 35 five-star recruits; 18 signed with SEC schools, while eight went to Pac-12 schools, seven to ACC schools and one each to Big Ten and Big 12 schools.

2. Michigan gets a quarterback

QB Jake Rudock, who started for the past two seasons at Iowa, transferred to Michigan. He almost certainly will beat out Shane Morris and be coach Jim Harbaugh's starter this fall. Rudock earned a degree in interdepartmental studies/multidisciplinary sciences at Iowa and is eligible immediately as a graduate transfer student. Another quarterback also transferred to Michigan -- Houston's John O'Korn -- who, like Rudock, is a former star at powerhouse Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas. O'Korn must sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules but is considered the favorite to start for the Wolverines in 2016; he has two seasons of eligibility remaining.


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3. Meyer becomes $6.5 million man

Urban Meyer coached Ohio State to the national championship in January, and he was amply rewarded in April with the news that he received a contract extension through 2020 with an average annual salary of $6.5 million. It will make him No. 2 on the coaches' salary list, behind only Alabama's Nick Saban ($7.15 million). Meyer wasn't the only coach to cash in this offseason. FSU's Jimbo Fisher joined the $5 million-a-year club this season, and Arkansas' Bret Bielema, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Georgia's Mark Richt saw their salaries increase to $4 million annually. That means that 10 of the 14 coaches in the SEC now make at least $4 million a year -- including all seven in the SEC West. (Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are the SEC schools that do not pay their coaches $4 million a season.)

Check out the top 10 all-time NFL players from South Carolina.

4. Spurrier to call plays again

Last season, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier delegated play-calling duties to offensive assistants. This season, he says he'll be calling the plays. Spurrier also said he would solicit suggestions, which he has done in the past. "I listen to them -- but don't always go with the suggestions," he told reporters. South Carolina finished 7-6 last season, the Gamecocks' worst record since 2009. It also was as many losses as South Carolina had in the three previous seasons combined.

5. Freshman ineligibility back on table

In late February, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and some league athletic directors talked about a "year of readiness" for student-athletes -- in other words, a return to freshmen ineligibility. And while a lot of folks rolled their eyes -- the NCAA made freshmen eligible for competition in 1972 -- the Big Ten continues to talk up the subject. In Mid-April, Delany sent a 12-page letter entitled "Education First, Athletics Second: The Time for a National Discussion is Upon Us" to media members. Delany doesn't seem to have that much support from other commissioners, but if nothing else, there at least is talk about freshman ineligibility again.


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6. 'Satellite camps' causing consternation

Under NCAA rules, schools are allowed to host camps within a 50-mile radius of their school. But that doesn't affect coaches, who are allowed to work camps outside that radius. That means that coaches can work at camps hosted by other schools. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 allow their coaches to do so; the ACC and SEC do not. Well, that has become a big deal to some, especially since new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh announced in April that he would be working at nine camps, in seven different states, in June. And Pac-12 football coaches said they were exploring the idea of hosting regional camps during the summer. Last year, Penn State coach James Franklin miffed a bunch of coaches by attending two camps in the Southeast (one in Georgia hosted by Georgia State and one in Florida hosted by Stetson, a small-college program). Harbaugh, and the Pac-12 coaches collectively, raised the blood pressure of some again this year, to the point that a football oversight committee will look into the situation relatively soon. Detractors say that, basically, the rule allows coaches from a "big" program to take over the camp of a smaller program. The oversight committee will need to decide if the detractors have a point, or if given the truly big issues facing the sport, this is a relatively insignificant matter.

Check out the top 10 players from Oklahoma to play in the NFL.

7. Oklahoma players 'boycott'

Oklahoma players decided to skip a day of spring practice, but Sooners coach Bob Stoops fully supported them. OU players chose not to practice as a form of protest over a video that featured members of the university's Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter participating in a racist chant while on a bus on the way to a fraternity event. A school spokesman told the media that Stoops and some team leaders agreed to a protest instead of practicing.

8. Weekly playoff rankings to continue

The College Football Playoff announced it would continue to release a weekly top 25, though there will be just six sets of rankings this season, one fewer than last season. "The committee felt like they wanted to continue (the rankings) because they thought it enabled them to get to know the teams best," executive director Bill Hancock told reporters. This season, the first rankings will be unveiled Nov. 3 and the final rankings will come Dec. 6.


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9. Big 12 says 'no' to title game

The Big 12 was the only one of the "Power Five" leagues left out of the four-team playoff last season, and it caused a lot of angst, especially because league member TCU was No. 3 in the penultimate rankings, then fell to sixth in the final rankings despite winning its regular-season finale by 52 points. Of course, the Big 12 also is the only one of the "Power Five" that doesn't have a league title game, and Baylor and TCU finished tied for the league title. But after saying the league might need to add a title game, commissioner Bob Bowlsby reversed course and said the league decided that only one season of evidence wasn't enough to justify such a big change. Thus, for the foreseeable future (heck, in today's college athletics, that could mean three or four weeks), the league is going to forge on with no plans to add a title game.

10. There will be 3 new bowls for 2015

When it comes to bowls, the NCAA obviously believes the more, the merrier. There will be 42 this season, up from 39 last season, and that means 82 of the 128 FBS teams -- that's 64 percent of them -- will be in a postseason game this fall. The new bowls: the Arizona Bowl in Tucson; the Cure Bowl in Orlando; and a bowl-to-be-named in Austin, Texas. The game in Arizona will match teams from Conference USA and the Mountain West, while the other two will match teams from the AAC and the Sun Belt. The three new games mean there have been eight bowls added in the past two years. Last season, six bowl-eligible teams didn't play in a postseason game.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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