With a full bore schedule of college football games just hours from kickoff it’s important to be clear on which critical athletes won’t be taking the field today, which are coming back, and then the guys whose play might be compromised.
The following slideshow pinpoints 19 players who fit into one of the three injury driven categories above.
These are the guys whose absence, presence or debilitation might quietly and subtly change the outcome of one of today’s generous offerings of college football action.
Status: Expected to start vs. Bowling Green.
Fuller, who was out last week, is purportedly “70 percent” ready for the Hokies' Week 4 game vs. Bowling Green. Fuller is a key component in a defense that has done very well against the pass until getting blasted by Pittsburgh in Week 3.
Status: Will start vs. South Carolina.
Missouri QB James Franklin didn’t take a snap in last week’s win over Arizona State, but he is reported to be at about “90 percent” and will be the starter in the Tigers game at South Carolina today.
Though the Gamecocks' pass defense has been somewhat questionable thus far this season (ranked No. 91 nationally), they’ll test Franklin’s athleticism with the No. 6 ranked rushing defense in the land.
Status: Won’t play today vs. Virginia.
Waymon James, who has racked up 168 yards and a single score on 17 carries thus far this season, is TCU’s leading rusher in 2012.
James is reportedly out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Status: Will start today vs. FCS Idaho State.
Burkhead has only three carries in 2012, all in the opener vs. Southern Miss and subsequently missed all of the Huskers’ Week 2 loss to UCLA and the Week 3 win over Arkansas State.
Though he’ll start today, his carries might be limited.
Status: Questionable vs. Cal today.
Senior center Holmes’ absence in the Trojans shocking loss to Stanford last week had a major impact on the outcome of that contest.
Holmes is still questionable for today’s game vs. Cal.
Status: Expected to play vs. Louisiana Tech
After missing two weeks due to an ankle injury, Illinois' starting QB is expected to be back in action today vs. Louisiana Tech.
Status: Unlikely to play vs. Colorado.
According to a report from The Seattle Times published yesterday, Connor Halliday is likely to start in place of injured starting QB Jeff Tuel in the Cougar’s Week 4 matchup with Colorado.
Tuel did not play in WSU’s Week 3 win over UNLV.
Status: Won’t play tonight vs. Auburn.
LSU’s No. 2 rusher thus far this season, Alfred Blue, is out not only for tonight’s showdown with Auburn but is also likely gone for four to six weeks.
Blue’s 270 yards and two TDs on 40 carries, are second only to Kenny Hilliard who has dazzled with 303 yards and six scores on 37 carries.
Status: Expected to start vs. Missouri.
According to an early morning report on GoUpstate.com, Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier has indicated that QB Connor Shaw will start for South Carolina this afternoon vs. Missouri.
Shaw, who is suffering from a shoulder injury, saw limited action in both the Week 1 win over Vandy (when he initially was injured), and the Week 2 win over East Carolina and didn’t participate at all in the Week 3 victory over UAB.
It will be interesting to see if Shaw can last through an entire game vs. Missouri’s No. 41 ranked pass defense.
Status: Expected to start vs. Rutgers.
After suffering a concussion during the Razorbacks' shocking Week 2 loss to ULM and then missing Arkansas’s beat down vs. Alabama completely, Tyler Wilson will be back in action in Week 4’s game vs. Rutgers.