I mean, IF Brian Kelly decides to take snaps for Cincinnati we can totally report that to the NCAA as a violation of some kind. But that's a big IF. Chances are he'll more likely go with a scholarship student-athlete. Pretty likely.
Dave Rahme has high praise for the "machine" that Brian Kelly has built at Cincinnati in three season. It's rather impressive when you really think about the QB roulette that he's been playing most of the time:
Kelly, in this third full season at the helm, is 29-6 overall and 9-1 in his last 10 Big East games. A year ago, five different quarterbacks took snaps for the Bearcats and they still finished No. 8 in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.9 points per game, and won their first Big East championship. This season, senior starter Tony Pike, the conference’s leading passer, reinjured his left forearm two games ago and was replaced by sophomore Zach Collaros, and UC hasn’t missed a beat.
The Bearcats, with Pike or Collaros or goodness knows who else behind center, will roll into the Carrier Dome at noon Saturday ranked No. 7 in the nation in total offense, averaging 458.6 yards per game. They are No. 2 in scoring, averaging 40.7 points per game. They are No. 1 in ball security, with only four turnovers. Overall, they are ranked No. 5 in the nation and will be the highest-ranked team to visit the Dome since No. 1 Miami came to town in 2002 (and won 49-7).
So yeah, that sounds...daunting.
The key, as Fresno State almost discovered a few weeks back, is to keep the Cincinnati offense off the field. Easier said than done but if the new-found Delone Carter Express can keep chugging, it will go a long way towards keeping the Orange in this one.
Cincy is not Akron, however, and the SU defense will be called upon to step up and play their best game yet. Arthur Jones and the D are looking at it as a great opportunity:
"It's not every day you get a chance to play the No. 5 team in the country."
How rare is it for the Orange?
...the last time a team ranked in the top five visited the Carrier Dome, Paul Pasqualoni was the head coach for the Orangemen, Troy Nunes was the name of a starting quarterback (not a popular Syracuse sports blog), and the Bearcats were tied for the league championship - of Conference USA.
Looks like I'll be getting Jared Diamond an Edible Arrangement this year...
Greg Paulus will be guiding the Syracuse offense on Saturday but you can expect to see more of Ryan Nassib as well. But please, don't call it a rotation. It's a package. Got that? It's all about the packages.
"It is not a rotation," Marrone said. "It’s packages. It’s different because when you say packages it’s the same thing when we go out there with three receivers and two backs or in another package three receivers, one tight end and one back . . . whatever it is. I look at it like we’re getting our best players on the field and we’re playing to their strengths. And if it’s working, let’s keep feeding it."
Feed the package!
The game also features two of the best wide receivers in the nation, Cincy's Marty Gilyard and SU's Mike Williams. Gilyard is excited for the opportunity to see Williams in action. Almost as much as he's excited to see himself in action.
"I know he’s on the sideline watching me and I want to see what he’s going to do," Gilyard said. "Mike’s fun to watch, just like I’m fun to watch."
Marty Gilyard's favorite pick-up line is "You are very attractive...just like I'M very attractive. Let's do it."