Can you believe it's already Week 7 of the college football season? We're down to 10 undefeated teams and just three weeks away from the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season. We're here to deliver you the need-to-know notes to help you crack the college football odds this week, including the return of a big piece to Big Blue's defense.
GARY BACK FOR WOLVERINES?
The Michigan Wolverines could have their best defender back in the lineup for this weekend's pivotal encounter with visiting Wisconsin. Rashan Gary didn't dress last week due to a shoulder injury, but Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh says there is "hope" that the standout defensive end will return against the Badgers. Gary, who suffered the injury in the second half of a 20-17 win over Northwestern on Sept. 29, is considered one of the top defensive linemen in Division I and will almost certainly be tasked with slowing down superstar running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor if he plays Saturday.
The Wolverines enter Tuesday as 7.5-point favorites with an O/U of 48, putting Wisconsin's team total at roughly 20 points. The return of Gary would put a serious dent in the Badgers' chances of getting there, despite having averaged nearly 34 points through their first five games of the season.
BAD NEWS FOR BOISE STATE
The Boise State defense is facing major voids following the loss of two starters to season-ending injuries. Safety DeAndre Pierce suffered a spleen injury in the Broncos' Sept. 29 triumph over Wyoming and will miss the remainder of the year. He'll be joined on the sidelines by senior defensive lineman David Moa, who has been dealing with a calf injury that has plagued him since fall camp. Pierce had a team-high 23 tackles through four games but missed last week's game against San Diego State. Moa has appeared in just one game this season, a 44-21 loss to Oklahoma State on Sept. 15.
Boise State has allowed 20 or fewer points in four of five games this season, and is a 17.5-point favorite for Saturday's encounter with visiting Nevada. But the loss of Pierce is a big one, and greatly enhances the Wolf Pack's chances of not only covering, but surpassing its team total, which sits at around 21.5 points.
DILLON STILL DAY-TO-DAY
The Boston College Eagles might have to prepare for the possibility that their sensational starting running back will miss another week. A.J. Dillon remains day-to-day with an ankle injury that sidelined him for last Saturday's 28-23 setback against N.C. State. The team says he's making progress in his recovery, but the true test could be how much he practices ahead of this weekend's encounter with visiting Louisville. Ben Giles had 90 yards and a touchdown while substituting for Dillon, who enters the week with 652 rushing yards and seven scores on the season.
Dillon's return is critical for the Eagles against a Cardinals rush defense allowing an unfathomable 231 yards per game – one of the worst rates in the country. If he's good to go, bettors should strongly consider taking BC to cover at -13.5 while giving the over-61 play a long look, as well.
ZEB ZAPPED FOR PURDY
Zeb Noland is out and Brock Purdy is in at quarterback for Iowa State. Purdy took over for Noland early in last week's 48-42 loss to Oklahoma State and was simply sensational, throwing for 318 yards and four touchdowns while adding 84 yards and a score on the ground. The Cyclones turn to Purdy as they continue to wait for Kyle Kempt to return from a knee injury that has limited him to just one game this season, but he won't be ready to return this weekend. Purdy's four scoring passes equaled the output Noland and Kempt had compiled over Iowa State's previous four games.
The Cyclones are six-point home underdogs against Will Grier and the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday. But if Purdy is anywhere near as effective as he was last week, this game should soar past the total of 57.5.