College Football's New Look

On Devin Chafin, redshirt sophomore running back: "If you give him a dollar, you're not going to get any change. He's going to give you everything he's got."

On cornerback Xavien Howard, another spring standout: "If he doesn't make it in football, he might become a police officer. He can lock your ass up."

Briles refers to Bryce Petty, his star quarterback, as "Pettybone,"and although neither is quite sure of its origin, it might have something to do with the fact that Petty was, well, bad to the bone last season.

Petty completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,200 yards with 32 touchdowns in his first season as starting quarterback, leading the Bears to their first Big 12 championship. Even more impressive, he threw only three interceptions in 403 pass attempts and had the fifth-highest total QBR (85.5) among FBS quarterbacks.

"We expect him to be better this season," Briles said. "He should be better -- it's his second year."

The question is: Can Baylor be better in 2014?

Along with replacing Lache Seastrunk, who ran for 1,177 yards with 11 touchdowns in 2013, the Bears lose receiver Tevin Reese and All-American guard Cyril Richardson. But Briles and his staff have stockpiled speedy skill players like cordwood, including perhaps the country's best incoming class of freshman receivers.

"I have weapons -- that's not the problem," Petty said.

He's right; the Bears return four players who finished with at least 30 receptions in 2013.

"I don't think a national championship is out of the question," Petty said. "Why not? It's why I came back."

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Dabo Swinney said it a year ago, and nobody really believed him. So Swinney said it again this spring. And this time, it's hard to disagree with him.

"They all looked at me like I was crazy last year because we had Tajh [Boyd] coming back and Sammy [Watkins] coming back, but I stood there at my press conference and my exact words were that I would be disappointed when the season was over if the strength of our team wasn't our front seven," Swinney said.

The Tigers return one of the deepest, most experienced defensive lines in college football and given the departure on offense of such proven playmakers as Boyd and Watkins, they'll need that unit to be their heart and soul in 2014.

"Nobody knew Vic Beasley then," Swinney said. "Nobody knew Grady Jarrett, and nobody knew Corey Crawford. Nobody even knew their names. I had somebody come in here and do a radio show and asked him if he could give me one name of our defensive linemen. He couldn't name one name, not one of them, and, boy, I used that with those guys. Now, everybody knows those guys."

Clemson returns six seniors up front defensively, including Beasley, one of the top pass-rushers in the country, who had a monster season a year ago with 23 tackles for loss, including 13 sacks.

"We have all the intangibles to be a championship defense and have been working like that all offseason," Beasley said.

The Tigers led the country in tackles for loss last season with a school-record 122 and were second in the nation in three-and-outs per game with an average of 6.1.

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