Regression is a painful reality of college football, just as wretched and inevitable as season-ending injuries, bad officiating and controversy with the BCS.
That holds especially true for underclassmen.
Look no further than Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who earned first team All-American honors as a freshman in 2011 but took long, bounding strides backward as a sophomore.
The natural progression of players is forward, and most of last year's top freshmen are likely to move in that direction. But for none of them to take a step backward would be unprecedented.