Just like in the NFL, season-ending injuries before the season even begins can be crippling to college teams, too.
Just ask Ohio State.
The Buckeyes went from Big Ten favorites and potential playoff participant to projected second-place finisher in the Big Ten's East Division when star quarterback Braxton Miller was lost for the season last week with an injured shoulder.
While Miller is the biggest name to be lost for the season, he's certainly not the only important player nationally who will miss the season. Here is a look at other players who already have been ruled out for the season. This list does not include players that will miss a few weeks or have been ruled out for an indeterminate time.
RBs Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox, Kansas: In a 24-hour period early last week, Kansas lost its top two tailbacks -- Bourbon to a torn ACL and Cox to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
LB Kelby Brown, Duke: A torn ACL has sidelined Brown, a returning first-team All-ACC performer. He would've been Duke's top defender.
TE Braxton Deaver, Duke: As with Blue Devils teammate Brown, Deaver -- the leading returning receiver among tight ends in the ACC -- will miss the season with a torn ACL. He and Brown also missed the 2012 season with torn ACLs.
WR Chris Gallon, Bowling Green: He was in line for an enormous season in Bowling Green's new fast-paced attack; alas, he has reinjured the same knee that cost him most of last season and will miss this season.
CB Charles Jackson, Nebraska: Jackson was in line to be the Huskers' main nickel back, and he would've played a lot because Nebraska uses a lot of nickel and dime packages. But he suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season.
OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon: Johnstone was the Ducks' best lineman and might have been the second-best tackle in the Pac-12 this fall. He suffered a torn ACL.
WR Christian Jones, Northwestern: Jones' season-ending ACL injury was overshadowed because news of it came to light the same day that Wildcats TB Venric Mark announced he was transferring. But Jones was Northwestern's best receiver and -- along with Mark -- one of the Wildcats' top two playmakers.
G Alex Kozan, Auburn: He started all 14 games for the Tigers as a redshirt freshman last season and would've been one of the nation's top sophomore guards this fall. A balky back that needed surgery will sideline him for the season.
OT Damien Robinson, Mississippi State: Robinson was expected to be the Bulldogs' starting right tackle this season, but a torn ACL will keep him off the field.
ILB Michael Rose, Nebraska: Rose had 66 tackles -- a school record for a freshman -- last season and was expected to be a steadying force in the middle this season until he suffered a torn ACL. Rose is a true inside linebacker, and there aren't a lot of those on the Huskers' roster.
OLB Jabari Ruffin, USC: Ruffin was a national top-60 prospect in the 2012 recruiting class and likely would've been one of the better sophomore defenders in the Pac-12 this fall. But he suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season, taxing the Trojans' depth at a depth-shy position.
Here are some other starters/key reserves who will miss the season: Colorado FS Jered Bell (knee); USC DT Kenny Bigelow (knee); California LB Nathan Broussard (knee); Clemson RB Zac Brooks (foot); UTEP OT Kyle Brown (blood clot in leg); Rice G Drew Carroll (kidney disease); Wake Forest DT Johnny Garcia (knee); Arkansas State C Bryce Giddens (concussions); Army OT Justin Gilbert (leg); Georgia FB Merritt Hall (concussions); Miami S Rayshawn Jenkins (back); Syracuse K Ross Krautman (chronic hip injury); and San Jose State LB Moses Saucedo (knee).
There also have been some notable suspensions and dismissals, with the biggest being TCU's decision to boot DE Devonte Fields, who had been selected as the Big 12's preseason defensive player of the year in voting at Big 12 media days.
Other starters or key reserves who have been suspended for the season or dismissed are Nebraska S LeRoy Alexander, Texas RB Joe Bergeron, Idaho WR Dezmon Epps, Marshall RB Kevin Grooms, Pitt CB Titus Howard, Oklahoma LB Frank Shannon, North Carolina DT Shawn Underwood, North Carolina DT Greg Webb and Massachusetts SS D'Metrius Williams. In addition, three Notre Dame starters have been banned indefinitely as the school investigates possible academic transgressions: WR Devaris Daniels, CB KeiVarae Russell and DE Ishaq Williams.