Rutgers football is still a building program. The return of head coach Greg Schiano has sparked hope in fans of the program who witnessed him bring the Scarlet Knights to new heights during his first tenure with the school.
Despite have a win-loss record of 5-8 last season, Rutgers was named as a late replacement and accepted a bid to the 2021 Gator Bowl. They lost that game 38-10, but the team has continued to take a step forward each season. Coach Schiano has brought a winning culture to the program and continues to bring strong recruiting classes since his return as well.
Despite their recruiting rankings and going to another bowl game, ESPN’s Football Power Index is not looking too fondly on the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers was ranked in the bottom half of FBS, settling in at No. 83 in the country and dead last in the Big Ten. They are one spot behind their co-Big Ten brethren at Northwestern University.
FPI is predicting Rutgers to finish with a 4-8 record. With their first three games coming out of the conference and against lesser competition, the question is can they take out more than one Big Ten opponent to beat this prediction. The only other Big Ten teams predicted to have less than six wins are Illinois, Indiana, and Northwestern.
The Scarlet Knights are also looking at just an 11.7 percent chance of reaching the six wins typically needed to qualify for a bowl game. They are also one of two teams given a zero percent chance of winning their division (Indiana), and one of four teams given a zero percent chance of winning the conference (Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern).
Rutgers’ roster has a lot of young and incoming talent. With back-to-back top 50 recruiting classes, there is hope for the program and if some of the young players reach their potential sooner than expected, they could surpass these predictions easily. Schiano still has a ways to go, but a few surprise wins are not out of the question.