Arkansas loses arguably the best all-around defensive lineman in the SEC in Jamaal Anderson and its best corner, Chris Houston. That's in addition to losing offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, quarterback Mitch Mustain and receiver Damian Williams.
Ohio State did not do much offensively in the BCS Game, but through the year their top playmakers were Ted Ginn Junior, Anthony Gonzales and Antonio Pittman. All could have returned for another run at the title, but none of the three will.
So the teams that played for the SEC and BCS National Championships will be extremely hard-pressed to return to that level in 2007. I'm not saying none of them can, or will. But it's not going to be easy with all the additional departures.
Let's take a look at some other early departures and non-departures of note.
South Carolina ----- I got in an argument with the columnist from Columbia the week of the Florida/Carolina game because he insisted Sidney Rice would return. I win! It was clear a year ago that Rice wouldn't be around long and after a slow start he finished strongly, ending the year with 72 catches for 1,090 yards and ten touchdowns. The surprise is probably the departure of defensive lineman Stanley Doughty who wasn't starting. Still, the head ball coach is going to have a better team next year.
Kentucky ----- They could have lost receiver Keenan Burton (77, 1036, 12). They could have lost quarterback Andre Woodson (63 %, 3,515, 31/7). Instead both will return to make Kentucky, like South Carolina a very dangerous team next fall.
Tennessee ----- The boys from Rocky Top already knew they were losing their senior receivers Jayson Swain and Bret Smith, so the loss of Robert Meachem is that much more devastating. Meachem (71, 1,298, 11) had a superb season, and his departure means the Vols will be without 22 of their 24 touchdown receptions from '06. At least David Cutcliffe didn't get hired to be a head coach elsewhere… Eric Ainge will really need him.
Georgia ----- Running back Danny Ware's decision to leave is probably a good thing in an overcrowded backfield, but they will surely miss studly defensive end Charles Johnson and his 9.5 quarterback sacks.
LSU ----- The NFL was very disappointed that top notch defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey stayed in school. The NFL always wants more tackles, and Dorsey is special. However, LSU did lose quarterback JaMarcus Russell and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher.
Florida State ----- The Seminoles had an unusual situation with just one player good enough and old enough to even consider leaving early. Lawrence Timmons did so and will likely be a late first/early second round pick. Timmons and Siler strengthen a poor linebacker draft board.