Players on the Hot Seat in Week 9
At college football's highest level, teams with the most depth and talent have the most breathing room when it comes to swapping out players who aren't performing.
And while the outcome of every game becomes more and more crucial as the season enters its closing stretch, that margin for error will only shrink.
That could happen with several quarterbacks in the Big 12, including at Iowa State and even in the pass-happy Oklahoma State offense.
Meanwhile, injury may have put two other quarterbacks on the hot seat, one in the Big 12 and the other in the Big Ten.
Finally, two All-American caliber running backs could see their snaps reduced thanks to injury.
Quarterbacks in Ames
Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson was yanked during last week's 71-7 loss to Baylor in favor of backup Grant Rohach.
According to Associated Press writer Luke Meredith (via Washington Post), ISU will be sticking with the sophomore signal-caller. However, there's little doubt that he will have a short leash.
Richardson won't be the only quarterback under the gun when the Cyclones host Oklahoma State.
OSU has quarterback issues of its own and, as Meredith reported, the Cowboys won't be making a decision on who will start between J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf until game time.
Once the game begins, OSU will likely choose whoever has the hot hand, as they have in the past.
Trevone Boykin: QB, TCU
However, it was not specified if Pachall would start over Trevone Boykin. Pachall broke his left (non-throwing) arm early in the season and his return wasn't expected for at least another week.
Now, he may have a chance to play this week.
If Boykin starts, he may be just one mistake away from being pulled, especially considering TCU is in dire need of wins, sitting at 3-4 overall.
Trevor Siemian: QB, Northwestern
Northwestern boasted one of the most productive offenses in the nation in the early season but has hit a horrid midseason lull.
The Wildcats haven't broken 20 points in either of their last two games and are losers of three straight.
Much of that is due to the struggles of quarterback Trevor Siemian, who has completed just 47.5 percent of his passes in the last two games, throwing two interceptions and just one touchdown in that time.
Another source of NU's struggles is the absence of dual-threat quarterback Kain Colter, who has missed the better part of the last two contests. He told Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune that he will play this week against Iowa.
If Colter does play and Siemian struggles, Colter will start taking the majority of the snaps. The Wildcats have little room for error at 4-3 overall and on a three-game losing streak.
Duke Johnson: RB, Miami (Fla.)
Duke Johnson left in the first quarter of Miami's 27-24 win over North Carolina last week after taking a hit to the head that sparked a migraine headache.
Johnson explained on a media teleconference that he has had a history of migraines, though he feels good and has been cleared to play this week, per Heather Dinich, ESPN:
I was trying to throw a block, the guy moved at the last moment, took a knee to the head. Came back the next drive and kind of felt a headache coming on because I suffer from headaches, so I went to the training staff after that.
It's something I've been dealing with for a while now...I'm just trying to get them under control with the training staff, get them under control so I can play without having to worry about it.
After he went down, Johnson was replaced by fellow sophomore Dallas Crawford, who ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Crawford leads the Hurricanes with nine rushing scores this year.
While Johnson isn't likely to lose his starting job permanently, if he isn't at full go, Crawford has shown that he is a more than capable replacement.
De'Anthony Thomas: RB, Oregon
Much like Duke Johnson, De'Anthony Thomas is only on the "hot seat" because of his health.
Thomas has been dressed in recent weeks for the Ducks, though he hasn't seen the field since going down on the opening kickoff against California four weeks ago.
Like Miami, Oregon has shown that it has several viable replacements if Thomas is not 100 percent. Sophomore Byron Marshall and freshman Thomas Tyner have combined for more than 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season, more than many entire teams.
UO needs Thomas for the long haul, so if playing him now will put him at risk for further injury, it just isn't worth taking the chance.