Awards season has arrived in college football. This week is all about league awards, while next week broadens the scope to the national level, culminating with the Heisman Trophy presentation Dec. 10 in New York.
By now, the conferences have announced their individual honors and all-league teams, which are usually selected by a combination of head coach and media voting. But there are many other coaches who have scouted players and/or faced them, and whose opinions resonate on the best they saw.
I reached out to more than 45 head coaches and coordinators in the Power 5 conferences and posed a simple question: Who are the best players in your league this season? The responses ranged from the expected to the surprising. Outside of the Big 12, non-round robin schedules prevented coaches from evaluating certain players, but the pool of responders had enough overall representation.
In typical coach fashion, many listed jersey numbers, not names, in their responses. Some also listed small groups of players who stood out most to them.
Here are the biggest takeaways, broken down by league.
Zay Flowers jumps out
Boston College slumped to 3-9, enduring a surge of key injuries from the preseason all the way through the fall. But wide receiver Zay Flowers was a major bright spot, recording career highs in receptions (78), receiving yards (1,077) and receiving touchdowns (12).
He had 51 more catches and 689 more yards than any other Eagles player.
"Best skill player in the league, it's not even close," a defensive coordinator said.