Starters in, starters out. That's college football. Players' eligibility expires and they leave for the rest of their lives, whether that includes the NFL or not.
And they leave behind shoes of various sizes that need to be filled.
Our concern with this series? The biggest shoes -- in some cases Shaq-like size 23s.
Big shoes: QB Andrew Luck
Obvious? Yep. Are there other shoes to fill? You bet. When you are looking to replace, potentially, four first-round picks, there are going to be holes. But this series is the biggest shoes to fill. And when you have to replace a once-in-a-generation player like Luck, the shoes don't get any bigger and the stakes don't get any higher. No need to re-hash his credentials. The two-time Heisman runner-up is being touted as the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning -- and possibly further back -- to John Elway. He leaves Stanford as arguably its greatest player and he has the career numbers to back it up.
Head coach David Shaw declared a five-man race following the end of the season. Though earlier this week he said that Nottingham and Nunes have separated themselves from the pack and it appears those two will continue their competition through the summer. So much of the new guy's success depends on what happens with some of those other holes. Filling out the offensive line, working three-tight-end formations without Coby Fleener, etc. But the good thing for whoever wins the job is that Luck set the bar so high that a first-year starter will likely get a little more wiggle room for error. Shaw said he doesn't expect the next guy to be the next Luck, which is good, because there is a 99.9 percent chance he won't be.
You can check out the rest of the "Big Shoes" series here.