For contending teams, critical injuries can oftentimes be the difference between BCS glory and playing a meaningless bowl game at the end of December.
Nonetheless, as the college football season wears on, injuries are an inevitability. That's certainly the case this week, as some Top 25 squads will be hoping to mask the absences of top stars through scheme changes or, well, simply hoping for the best.
With that in mind, let's check in on the most vital injuries for teams heading into Week 7's slate of games.
Status: Doubtful vs. Indiana
Still hobbled by a knee injury, Hall "isn't at full speed" and is doubtful for the Buckeyes' game against the Hoosiers, according to Kyle Rowland of ElevenWarriors.com.
This would be the second consecutive absence for the senior running back. With Hall out, look for Carlos Hyde to get a heavy workload once again for Ohio State in what should be a blowout victory.
Status: Out vs. Indiana
With a fantastic season so far, Sabino was soaring toward Butkus Award consideration in 2012. However, a fractured leg will keep the senior linebacker out at least a month (via ESPN's Austin Ward) and could cripple an already shaky Ohio State defense.
The Buckeyes still should come out on top against a weak Hoosiers squad on Saturday, but it's what this injury means down the line that is truly disconcerting.
Status: Active vs. Indiana
Out for the past three weeks with a high ankle sprain, the Buckeyes' hard-hitting safety will return to the lineup (via ESPN's Austin Ward) at the perfect time for his team.
Indiana is a high-powered passing offense that is predicated on short throws, and without Sabino, it's likely that Barnett will have to creep forward to help defend.
Status: Out vs. BYU
In an injury that seemingly shocked everyone (including head coach Mike Riley), Mannion had to undergo knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus and will be out 2-4 weeks (via Brandon Sprague of 1080 The Fan).
Without its senior quarterback, Oregon State will turn to junior Cody Vaz who has not thrown a regular-season pass since 2010. With a difficult road tilt against an upset-minded BYU team on tap, this loss could be a critical blow for the 10th-ranked Beavers.
Status: Out vs. Oklahoma
Listed as doubtful all week, head coach Mack Brown made it official Saturday morning that both Brown and Hicks would sit out of this year's Red River Rivalry game, according to ESPN's Jared Schiff.
Week 7 will be the second straight missed game for Brown, who will be replaced by Johnathan Gray, and the third consecutive for Hicks. His replacement, Kendall Thompson, recorded six tackles Oct. 6 against West Virginia.
Status: Probable vs. Baylor
With the Casey Pachall situation throwing a black cloud over the Horned Frogs' season, they will need all the help they can get Saturday against Baylor.
Well, after missing last week's game against Iowa State, it looks like TCU will get some help from the return its workhorse, Tucker. The Horned Frogs' leading rusher practiced all week (via Fox Sports' Alex Apple) and looks to be ready to go on Saturday.
Status: Out vs. Alabama
In a decision that widely has been expected since Franklin went down with a sprained MCL on Oct. 6, the quarterback will sit out against the first-ranked Crimson Tide.
The length of the injury originally was reported by Dave Matter of The Columbia Daily Tribune, and Saturday will be the second game the junior signal-caller has missed this season.
Replacing Franklin will be Corbin Berkstresser, who will certainly have his work cut out for him on Saturday.
Status: Expected to Play vs. Washington
With the Trojans looking to atone for last season's upset against the Huskies, head coach Lane Kiffin has gotten great news injury-wise all week.
Redd, who was hobbled last week due to a back injury, is almost certain to suit up, according to USC Football News' Twitter feed. And Woods, who reportedly failed a concussion test last week against Utah before returning to the game (via SB Nation's Scott Eneyart, h/t UtahInsider), is not even listed on USC's injury report for Week 7 (per USA Today).