PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers football is heading to a bowl game, but Greg Schiano doesn’t really care where his team ends up.
What matters, he says, is that his young Rutgers team continues to practice.
It is usually thought that going to a bowl game is equivalent to 15 extra practices. For young players in particular, this is valuable time beyond the twelfth game of the season.
Rutgers is bowl-bound by virtue of their sixth win, which they secured in mid-October. That means that the only downside of their current three-game losing streak is that affects their bowl placement.
And in what is his fourth season back with Rutgers, Schiano will be afforded the chance to fully plan out a practice agenda for his team. Rutgers enters the final season of the regular season at 6-5 (3-5 Big Ten).
Conventional wisdom and most projections have Rutgers heading to the Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, New York) for a Dec. 28 game against an ACC opponent. With one game left in the regular season, Schiano said he isn’t looking at the projections.
Instead, one thing excites him about a bowl game, and it is the most Schiano answer ever.
“I don’t really look at that very much. The thing, as you guys know, I get excited about bowl games because we get more practice,” Schiano said on Monday.
“You know, one of the things that allows winning teams to continue to be winning teams is additional practice opportunity, so that’s what excites me the most. I want the kid to always have a great time in the bowl and we’ll talk more about that next week. But yeah, that’s about the extent that I think about it. There’s other people that work for us that handle that stuff and they do a good job.”
As for this weekend, getting a seventh win in the regular is something that Rutgers hasn’t achieved since 2014. That was their first season in the Big Ten.
Maryland, the opposition for Rutgers this Saturday at SHI Stadium (3:30 PM ET, Big Ten Network), is a strong team. Offensively, they are top four in the Big Ten.
On defense, they are a solid middle-of-the-pack unit that boasts speed.
“So we know what we’re in for and it’s going to be a battle. We both find ourselves in a similar position at 6-5,” Schiano said.
“And a lot of respect for what they do – and looking forward to playing the game.”