Schedule and Odds
Rutgers can’t be too disappointed with how its first season went in the Big Ten, finishing with eight total wins including a bowl win and while the SCarlet Knights went 3-5 in Conference play, all of those losses were the result of a tough Schedule. It’ll be hard to improve on last year’s eight wins considering they have some major holes to fill on offense, like the departure of QB Gary Nova.
5 dimes sportsbook currently lists Rutgers at odds of 600 to 1 to win the National Title and 50 to 1 to win the Big 10. Those odds are current as of late May so be sure to check in with 5 dimes for the latest changes.
The quarterback competition is between Chris LAviano (11-of-28 last year) and LSU transfer Hayden Rettig, who sat out all of last year. LAviano had the edge in the spring only because of experience with the team, but Rettig is the higher-rated recruit and the one fans want to see. Whoever is at QB will lead the offense with a new playbook implemented by Ben McDaniels, the team’s sixth offensive coordinator in six years. McDaniels was the wide receivers coach last season, so a ton of change isn’t expected.
The biggest issue for the Knights will be their offensive line that loses three multiple-year starters. The group was one of their strong points last year, but it’ll be a process to find five guys out of the gates that can be the starters all season. Wide receiver Leonte Carroo (1,086 yards, 10 TDs) returns and that’s the best news the offense received in the offseason. He’ll need to lead the group again. The backfield is more of a mix that doesn’t have a standout rusher. That was the case in 2014 as well as five backs finished with between 300 and 500 yards.
As the offense was considered somewhat of a success last year, the defense was routinely gashed by superior opponents. OUtside of the Penn State loss, their other Four losses were all by at least 18 points, with three of them by at least 37.
The SCarlet Knights return a decent amount of players from that group, and that could be a good thing. Darius Hamilton and Kemoko Turay are back on the line, but it’s an undersized group that was pushed around often by bigger teams. The secondary will be a young group, but that have a lot of options. The group should improve some based on experience, but with another difficult Schedule, that may not mean much.
Rutgers has a favorable non-Conference Schedule again and that could get them to Four wins, but their Big Ten slate could mean another three-win Conference campaign. They get Wisconsin (road) and Nebraska (home) out of the West, which is probably the toughest slate for any East team. Throw in road Games against Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as home Games with Michigan State and Ohio State and it looks like a tall task for this team.
Surpassing last season’s win total is out of the cards, especially with a new quarterback leading the way. And if the new QB struggles at all, they might have trouble reaching a bowl Game.
2015 Rutgers Football Schedule
Sept. 5 vs. Norfolk State
Sept 12 vs. Washington State
Sept. 19 at Penn State
Sept. 26 vs. Kansas
Oct. 10 vs. Michigan State
Oct. 17 at Indiana
Oct. 24 vs. Ohio State
Oct. 31 at Wisconsin
Nov. 7 at Michigan
Nov. 14 vs. Nebraska
Nov. 21 at Army
Nov. 27 vs. Maryland