Cardinal coach David Shaw and his predecessor, current San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, have built a powerhouse on the Farm, guiding their teams to a 46-8 record during the past four seasons. But Stanford will have to replace all but one starter on the offensive line this coming season, after junior left guard David Yankey and right tackle Cameron Fleming decided to enter the NFL draft. Left tackle Andrus Peat, a projected NFL first-round pick in 2015, is the only starter coming back on the offensive line. The Cardinal also loses tailbacks Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson, who combined to run for more than 2,000 yards with 23 touchdowns in 2013. Stanford will also have to overcome heavy losses on defense, including linebackers Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov and safety Ed Reynolds, another junior leaving for the NFL draft.
The Bears, who went 11-2 and won the Big 12 championship this past season, should be right back in the mix this coming season. Baylor was able to sign coach Art Briles to a longtime contract extension, after Texas officials attempted to lure him to Austin. Briles and his staff will have to replace a lot of pieces from their high-flying offense, including junior tailback Lache Seastrunk, who is turning pro. Quarterback Bryce Petty is coming back, but the Bears will also have to replace All-America guard Cyril Richardson and receiver Tevin Reese. Only four starters are coming back on defense, and the Bears will have to replace three starters in their secondary. Briles continues to upgrade Baylor's talent, and incoming freshman receivers K.D. Cannon, Davion Hall, Ishmael Zamora and Chris Platt might be able to help right away.
South Carolina is about to make Steve Spurrier one of the country's highest-paid coaches at $4 million per season, and the Ol' Ball Coach has certainly earned it. The Gamecocks are one of only four FBS teams that have won at least 11 games in each of the past two seasons, and Spurrier has transformed the once-woebegone Gamecocks into an annual SEC championship contender. USC lost a boatload of underclassmen to the NFL draft -- end Jadeveon Clowney, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, receiver Bruce Ellington and cornerback Victor Hampton are each turning pro as juniors. But the Gamecocks might bring back eight starters on offense and six on defense, and they'll play SEC East rivals Georgia and Missouri at home. Rising senior Dylan Thompson steps in for underappreciated quarterback Connor Shaw, and tailback Mike Davis is coming back after running for 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns this past season.