In this way, college football never changes. Season after season, teams lose exceptionally talented players to graduation, injuries and the NFL. And season after season, untested players must step in and step up to fill the void.
Sometimes, the transition is smooth. Last season, Arkansas faced the seemingly impossible task of replacing two NFL running backs,
Sometimes, though, the quest for a replacement proves futile.
Here are the 10 teams with the biggest shoes to fill this season.
Alabama won't miss the drama Smith caused during bowl and combine seasons, but it will sorely miss his presence on the line. Last week, coach
It's hard to overstate how much Boston College lost when Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, sidelined Herzlich. The Eagles didn't just lose an All-America linebacker and ACC Defensive Player of the Year; they lost a bit of themselves. Stepping in for the bearded, eye-black-wearing strongside force will be a daunting task for LeGrande. The sophomore saw limited time in the secondary as a freshman, and though he's undersized, a lack of depth at the position (captain
Whenever a team loses its starting quarterback
While Laurinaitis was busy leading the Buckeyes in tackles three straight seasons, earning All-America honors and winning the Butkus and Lombardi awards, Spitler was waiting his turn. If such a dependable force hadn't resided in front of him, the senior would have started sooner. But this year Spitler will get the chance to step up as a playmaker and leader on a team that lost Laurinaitis,
Yes, Oregon ranked last in pass defense in 2008, but Chung will still be missed. The rover was a leader and the heart and soul of the Ducks' D. With Chung, corner
The Nittany Lions should thank their lucky stars QB
The Longhorns lost three of four starters from their defensive line, including Orakpo who had 11.5 sacks. Longhorns DE
Sorting out the QB race is the top priority for the Utes, who will seek to defend their Mountain West title without three-year starter and Sugar Bowl MVP Johnson. When spring ball began, junior Louks and juco transfer Cain were battling for the job. Then Wynn showed up. The early enrollee quickly inserted himself into the equation, and as summer workouts began coach
White may have been the best player in West Virginia history. He was almost certainly the most popular. White won four bowl games, earned All-Big East honors three times and thrilled crowds countless times with his agility and electric speed. He also got hurt a fair share, and when that happened Brown stepped in. Good thing. If Brown, a senior, hadn't had that time, stepping in for White could seem more daunting. Brown can't move like White, but he displayed fair mobility and poise. He showed in a triple-overtime win over Rutgers he can perform under pressure. And of course, this year Brown will have one thing he never had before -- the knowledge that, after four long years of waiting, this is finally his team.