We may only be entering the third week of the college football season, but many injuries have already taken place. Several of these injuries have affected top-ranked teams, which will not only have an impact on the rankings, but may also hurt certain teams' chances of qualifying for a BCS bowl.
There is nothing worse than a team suffering an injury to a key player, and with many marquee matchups taking place today, everybody is keeping track of the latest news involving these hobbled athletes.
With kickoff just hours away, here are some of the latest updates on the key injuries for Week 3.
The North Carolina Tar Heels will once again be without their star running back, Giovani Bernard. He will miss the game against the Louisville Cardinals with a knee injury, and he did not play in the loss to Wake Forest last week either.
Bernard rushed for over 1,200 yards last season and scored 14 total touchdowns.
Junior running back A.J. Blue will continue to get the bulk of the carries until Bernard is healthy enough to return. Blue rushed for over 100 yards last week, averaging over five yards a carry and scoring a touchdown.
Texas had fixed its special-teams issues when kicker Anthony Fera decided to transfer from Penn State. While he was an effective player for the Nittany Lions, he has yet to play for the Longhorns and will miss this week's road game against Ole Miss.
Freshman Nick Jordan will continue to handle the kicking duties for the Longhorns. He has made seven of eight extra points and is 2-of-5 on field-goal attempts.
Missouri has a big home game today against the Arizona State Sun Devils, but may have to take the field without their starting quarterback. James Franklin suffered a shoulder injury, which may force him to be sidelined for the matchup.
If Franklin cannot go, redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser will take over the Tigers offense. He saw a majority of the reps during spring ball when Franklin was recovering from shoulder surgery. He has thrown the ball five times this season, completing all five passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw missed last week’s matchup with a shoulder injury, and may miss today's game for the same reason. He suffered a shoulder injury to his throwing arm in the Week 1 victory over Vanderbilt and has been limited ever since.
If Shaw can't go in today's game against UAB, backup quarterback Dylan Thompson will step in once again. Thompson completed 56 percent of his passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory over East Carolina.
As if things couldn't get any worse for the Arkansas Razorbacks, quarterback Tyler Wilson has been ruled out of the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Arkansas has already gotten off to a bad start, losing to Louisiana-Monroe and falling out of the Top 25 in the AP Poll.
Freshman Brandon Allen will likely take over the starting role, as he finished the game last week when Wilson left with a head injury. Allen only completed 37 percent of his passes for 118 yards and a touchdown to go with an interception.
But while it looks like Wilson will not play, it seems like Arkansas is still holding onto some type of hope (via Desmond M. Wallace of ESPN):
Arkansas coach John L. Smith was non-committal today on whether QB Tyler Wilson will play Sat. I spoke to Coach today myself. Doubt he does.— Desmond M. Wallace (@MisterWallaceGA) September 15, 2012
In a game that is so crucial to the success of both teams, losing your starting quarterback certainly isn't going to help the Razorbacks' chances.
Nebraska had to play last week’s matchup without running back Rex Burkhead and will likely have to do the same today against Arkansas State. Burkhead continues to be hobbled by a sprained MCL that he suffered in the season opener against Southern Miss.
The Cornhuskers have many running backs who will split carries, but Ameer Abdullah seems to be the go-to guy in Burkhead's absence. He has 31 carries this season for 200 yards and three total touchdowns.
USC center Khaled Holmes was carted off the field in last week’s victory over Syracuse. Head coach Lane Kiffin has a strict policy of not discussing injuries when it comes to players, so it is being labeled as a left leg injury, which has Khaled questionable for this week’s game against Stanford.
We do know that he boarded the plane for the trip, but we aren't quite sure if he will play or not.
If Holmes is not healthy enough to play, redshirt freshman Cyrus Hobbi will likely be his replacement at the center position.
Virginia Tech linebacker Tariq Edwards will have to wait at least another week to make his debut, as he has been ruled out for the game against Pittsburgh.
The junior continues to recover from surgery he had during the offseason on his shin (via HookieHaven.com):
Tariq Edwards ruled out Saturday for #Hokies— HokieHaven.com (@Hokie_Haven) September 14, 2012
Edwards finished last season with 71 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.
For all those Florida Gators fans who have been wondering if running back Mike Gillislee will play in today's big matchup against Tennessee, worry no more. He is listed as probable and will be in the Gators backfield today.
Gillislee suffered a groin injury in last week's victory over Texas A&M. He has rushed for 231 yards and four touchdowns in the first two games for Florida.
Illinois will play its second straight game without its third-year starting quarterback. Nathan Scheelhaase continues to recover from an ankle injury he suffered in the first game of the season.
Sophomore Reilly O'Toole will continue to replace Scheelhaase, as he threw for 54 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the Week 2 loss to Arizona State.
Michigan fullback Stephen Hopkins and linebacker Desmond Morgan remain questionable for today's matchup against Massachusetts.
Via Mark Snyder of the Detroit Press, head coach Brady Hoke commented, "Hop’s struggling a little bit with a hamstring, and Desmond’s got a little bit of a head problem, but we’ll see."
Michigan has already lost starting cornerback Blake Countess for the remainder of the season, while linebacker Brennen Beyer and tight end Brandon Moore have been ruled out for this game as well.
Jordan Hall was supposed to be the starting running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes but suffered a cut on his foot that forced him to miss a couple games. Now, Carlos Hyde, who filled in for Hall, will miss today's action against California with an injury. Via Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch:
Meyer says he's hoping to get Carlos Hyde back for the Michigan State game. #OSU— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) September 13, 2012
The good news for Buckeyes fans is that Hall is expected to make his season debut today. Via Ohio State beat writer Kyle Rowland:
Jordan Hall and Nathan Williams will play Saturday.— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) September 12, 2012
Hall rushed for 405 yards last season, scoring five touchdowns as well.