Post-Spring Way-Too-Early Top 25

9. Baylor Bears

The Bears are in the unfamiliar territory of defending a Big 12 championship for the first time in school history. With quarterback Bryce Petty coming back for his second season as a starter, coach Art Briles believes his fast-paced spread offense will be even more efficient, which is a scary thought for opposing defensive coordinators. The Bears are still trying to shore up their offensive line, where they have to replace All-American guard Cyril Richardson. Sophomores Shock Linwood and Devin Chafin will probably share carries as they replace departed tailback Lache Seastrunk, who ran for 1,177 yards with 11 touchdowns last season. Briles believes Baylor's defense will be much improved after allowing 23.5 points per game in 2013. Briles said his team's defensive line is the best he has had at Baylor, and sophomore cornerback Xavien Howard and Georgia transfer Chris Sanders have helped shore up the secondary.

10. South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks will undoubtedly miss quarterback Connor Shaw's production and toughness, but Dylan Thompson looked more than ready to take over the offense during the spring. He will play behind what many believe will be Steve Spurrier's best offensive line at USC, and tailback Mike Davis is back after running for 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns last season. South Carolina's biggest concerns are on defense, where it has to replace star end Jadeveon Clowney, the potential No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, and linemen Kelcy Quarles and Chaz Sutton. The secondary also has two big holes with cornerbacks Vic Hampton and Jimmy Legree departing. Safety Brison Williams is solid, but the Gamecocks might have to look at a handful of incoming freshmen to fill holes in the secondary during preseason camp.

11. Stanford Cardinal

After losing defensive stalwarts like Trent Murphy, Shayne Skov, Ben Gardner and Ed Reynolds, as well as coordinator Derek Mason, who left to become Vanderbilt's head coach, Cardinal coach David Shaw has to like the way his defense performed this spring. End Henry Anderson emerged as Stanford's next great pass-rusher, and Blake Martinez and Joe Hemschoot are battling to replace Skov. Converted wide receiver Kodi Whitfield will have a chance to start next to Jordan Richards at safety. On offense, quarterback Kevin Hogan had a good spring and might be ready to take the next step as a passer, especially with so many receivers returning. Kelsey Young and Barry Sanders, son of the NFL legend, are battling to replace Tyler Gaffney, who ran for 1,709 yards with 21 touchdowns last season. Stanford must replace four starting offensive linemen -- left tackle Andrus Peat is the only returning full-time starter -- but perhaps no school has done a better job of recruiting linemen over the past four years.

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