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Some answers but not many

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The great Tony Pike watch continues. And we still don't have any satisfactory answers regarding his ability - or likelihood - to play this week.

 

UC fans are likely less concerned, though, about Pike's health heading into the Syracuse game Saturday. Which makes sense considering Zach Collaros, in his first-ever start, carved up Louisville with little problem, completing 15 of 17 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns (and if you didn't catch my CBSSports.com story on why the Bearcats can take (seemingly) any backup quarterback and turn him into a winning starter, shame on you. Also, click here.)

 

But when Pike is healthy, he will return to his starting quarterback position. So, naturally, it was a topic of conversation today at Brian Kelly's weekly presser.

 

"I have to see where we are with the modifications with the cast," Kelly said. "That's out of my hands. Tony is going to navigate through this. I don't think we'll know anything for a couple days."

 

The modification Kelly talked about was basically taking off the cast that ran over Pike's elbow and putting on one that stops below that elbow. It's still a hard cast, and though Pike could play with that type of covering (the training staff would have to modify it again and place enough padding on it to satisfy whatever specification the NCAA requires), he'd most likely play with a soft cast on his non-throwing arm. If he, in fact, plays.

 

Basically, it will come down to what makes Pike feel comfortable.

 

"It's a situation that you bring Tony in, and he has to be the guy that ultimately signs off on it," Kelly said. "He has to feel confident to go out there and do what he needs to. Once the medical hurdles have been handled, the individual plays a huge role in this. It's not an issue where he has a concussion and he has to pass a battery of tests. It's what he can and can't do. We know he couldn't do it last week because of the type of cast he had on."

 

If Pike can't play Saturday vs. Syracuse, Collaros will step back into the starting role. He won't have to compete against third-stringer Chazz Anderson during practice this week to win the job again. It's his if Pike can't go.

 

Wide receiver D.J. Woods doesn't need to be convinced that playing Collaros is the right move. Woods had three catches for 54 yards against Louisville, and according to him, the offense never worried about how Collaros would perform vs. the Cardinals.

 

"Not at all," he said. "We practice how we play. Every week we're very productive in what we do. Zach had a very productive week of practice, getting the right keys and the right reads. The whole offense had no doubt at all."

 

--The talk of BCS standings continued into today. I think some were hoping that, given another opportunity, Kelly would rail against the system and raise hell that the Bearcats never should have dropped from No. 5 to No. 8. Kelly didn't take the bait.

 

"I have a pretty good understanding of the BCS, even though it seems like we've lost ground," Kelly said. "It's such a group pack right now, and you're separated by hundredths and thousandths of points. To me, it's not that big. Moving from fifth to eighth, we're in a good position. We're at the top of the pack, and the race is early.

 

"It's great we're getting that kind of recognition, and I hope our admissions are up because of it. But we don't spend any time on it, because we have so much other stuff to worry about."

 

That's because UC still has to face West Virginia and play at Pittsburgh. Many miles to go before he can sleep and all that.

 

But I also thought maybe I could get a reaction if I asked him what he thought about UC dropping in the coaches' poll. Nothing.

 

"No, I don't think any of that surprises me," he said. "We're still not even to November. There are many big games left. It starts to thin itself out in November."

 

And then Ken Broo dropped the whole, "Some people nationally don't think you should even have a chance to play for a national title; what do you think about that?" on him.

 

"There are traditions that we all hold," Kelly said. "We all look toward traditions as to how we buy products. It's just ingrained in us in society that that the new person on the block has to prove itself over a period of time. Virginia Tech had to prove themselves. You know how they did that? They kept winning. We'll do the same thing. We keep winning and we'll change the perception. You can't be a one-shot deal."

 

A Brian Kelly, it must be said, who's behaving himself is not nearly as much fun as a Brian Kelly who's fired up.

 

--And if you happen to live in the Syracuse area, I'll be on ESPN 1410 at 4:30 p.m. today. So, you know, this probably only applies to my Aunt Ronni, but whatever.

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