Pressure falls on these players to perform in '06

Todd McShay takes a look at 16 players who need to perform in 2006 for their teams to meet or exceed expectations.

Updated: September 1, 2006, 5:27 PM ET
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.
Parity at the top of the polls is among the biggest story lines heading into the 2006 college football season. One reason for the unknown is the excessive turnover of elite players at key positions. As such, many unproven players are being placed under severe pressure to perform.

Following is a look at the X factor on every team in ESPN.com's preseason Power 16. The individuals who rise to the challenge should put their respective teams in position to contend for a conference championship and possibly even a national title.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

X factor: PKs Aaron Pettrey and Ryan Pretorius
Head coach Jim Tressel's conservative style leads to many close games, which in turn puts added pressure on the place-kicker position. Tressel has not had much to worry about recently with Mike Nugent and Josh Huston as his last two field-goal kickers. But the 2006 season could be a different story. According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pettrey has won the starting job. However, a tag-team effort is not out of the question. Pettrey has the stronger leg and could be used on long-distance attempts, while Pretorius is more accurate from shorter distances and might be used on kicks inside the 40-yard line.