Backup quarterbacks could start for Cincinnati, Louisville

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

It looks all but certain that Zach Collaros will make his second straight start at quarterback for No. 8 Cincinnati, which will try to stay unbeaten Saturday at Syracuse.

Brian Kelly said on his radio show Thursday night that Tony Pike would probably only play in an emergency, but that Pike was getting closer to being ready. Pike underwent an operation to repair the plate in his left forearm last week.

The Bearcats should still be in good hands with Collaros, who brings an added dimension as a running threat.

Even more intriguing is a report in The Courier-Journal that Will Stein may start at quarterback for Louisville. Word has it that Stein has been getting most of the first-team reps this week after both Adam Froman and Justin Burke were injured at Cincinnati.

Stein is a walk-on who threw for 98 yards in relief at Cincinnati, albeit mostly against the Bearcats' backups. He is known as perhaps the most accurate passer on the team, but what has kept him from advancing up the depth chart (or receiving any major scholarship offers) is his height. He's listed at 5-foot-10, which is at least two inches too generous.

If Stein is the guy, that perhaps makes Saturday's game against Arkansas State all the more dangerous for the Cardinals (2-5).