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Schedule and Odds
Rutgers had their sights set on a special season in 2012 starting 7-0, but a poor finish saw them finish with only nine wins and a share of the Big East title which wasn't enough for a BCS bowl. This year, while the new American Athletic Conference is weaker, Rutgers' schedule is not.
The Scarlet Knights bring in new offensive coordinator Ron Price who's coming over from the NFL and was formerly the head coach at Kansas State. The offense was mostly troublesome last year when faced with a difficult opponent. Rutgers managed six points at Pittsburgh and 10 points in their bowl game against Virginia Tech. Gary Nova is back under center, but he was a part of the problem throwing 13 interceptions in the last six games. They also lose top running back Jawan Jamison after just two years. However, RB Savon Huggins is a viable starter and they have a couple more guys returning from injury that can help. Their top receivers will be back and they will be deep, but the pressure will fall on Nova to get them the ball.
Rutgers lived off their defense last year as they allowed only 14 points per game. With only five starters returning, they'll be losing a lot of star power, most notably at linebacker and in the secondary. Big East Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Khaseem Greene is gone along with three defensive backs. Filling in those spots will be vital to this group. The good news is that the line returns most of its strength and should be able to keep the defense from completely sinking.
2013 Rutgers College Football Schedule
Aug. 29 at Fresno State
Sept. 7 vs. Norfolk State
Sept. 14 vs. Eastern Michigan
Sept. 21 vs. Arkansas
Oct. 5 at SMU
Oct. 10 at Louisville
Oct. 26 vs. Houston
Nov. 2 vs. Temple
Nov. 16 vs. Cincinnati
Nov. 21 at UCF
Nov. 30 at Connecticut
Dec. 7 vs. South Florida
Their opener against Fresno State will not be an easy game. The Bulldogs have a nice returning squad and are projected in the Top 25 by a lot of people. A home game with Arkansas that can go either way completes their non-conference schedule.
The problem for the Scarlet Knights is that they have to play at Louisville and at newcomers UCF. The Cardinals are projected to do big things while UCF is the best team out of the slew of schools entering the new conference. Five days before that UCF game, Rutgers has to play Cincinnati who will also be fighting for the conference title.
It's going to be tough for Rutgers to take out Louisville at the top of the AAC, especially since they play them on the road. Still, it's kind of a toss-up for second place and the back-to-back with Cincy and UCF will be the deciding factor. If this offense can get back to scoring and Nova can take care of the ball, their defense should be able to help them out and lead them to eight or nine wins again. Of course, if Nova continues to have problems, six wins is also on the radar.
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