Late-night Big East tidbits

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Wrapping up some news and notes from the Big East today:

  • Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike should be fine to start Saturday's huge game against Pittsburgh, Bearcats coach Brian Kelly said. Pike got knocked out of last week's game at Louisville with a bruised sternum in the fourth quarter. Kelly said Pike could have come back to play if the game had gone longer.

  • Speaking of that Cincinnati-Louisville game, Cardinals coach Steve Kragthorpe said he talked with Big East director of officials Terry McAulay, who told him that the replay which overturned Brock Bolen's apparent first down run in the fourth quarter was wrong. The Cardinals then went for it on fourth down and failed.

  • Deposed Syracuse coach Greg Robinson tried to deflect attention from his situation during the Big East coaches' teleconference today, saying he wanted to focus on the Orange's remaining two games.

    "I told the team, it's not about me, it's about our team," he said. "At the end of the year, we'll spend a lot more time talking about shoulda, coulda, woulda kinds of things."

    Other coaches spoke highly of Robinson, none more so than West Virginia's Bill Stewart.

    "Greg Robinson is a friend of mine," Stewart said. "Greg Robinson is a class act. Greg Robinson is a heck of a football coach. I absolutely hate it with all my heart to see such a class man leave the Big East."

  • Rutgers' long snapper Jeremy Branch needs knee surgery, which would end his year, but he's a senior and he may decide to play through pain. Greg Schiano was also asked about President-elect Barack Obama's call for an eight-team playoff.

    "I think there's a place (for bowls)," he said. "I don't think you get into a full blown playoff. I know eight teams has been a popular number. I think four is plenty, and using the current bowl system. That's really my opinion. You rotate within the BCS, whatever it is that group of bowl games are, with the top four teams -- 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3. And then you play a week later. Obviously, five, six and seven will be angry but I don't think there's any perfect system. Actually, this one is not bad because people are talking about it now. People are talking about it in diners and bars and classrooms and all over the place about college football, so it makes for a great debate."