An Early Look at Rutgers

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I know there are some folks who don’t care about this matchup; they consider the game with Rutgers to be unappealing.  I disagree.  I think that when you are 6-6, you ought to consider yourself darn lucky to be in any bowl game at all.  Tech got the #3 bowl in the ACC thanks to UNC and Miami being on probation.  On the whole, I’d say we got pretty lucky with this matchup.

Virginia Tech’s postseason destination is someplace warm, and they will play a team they have a chance to beat.  At 6-6, I’ll take that.  In reality, the Hokies don’t deserve what they’ve getting this year.  I’m certainly not going to complain about the chance to play Rutgers, or anybody for that matter, when Tech is 6-6.

I know you all remember the old Big East matchups with Rutgers.  Tech lost to Rutgers 50-49 during that tough 1992 season.  The Scarlet Knights also gave the Hokies a game in 1993, falling 49-42, and in 1994, losing 41-34.  After that, Tech took control of the series.

1995: 45-17
1996: 30-14
1997: 59-19
1998: 47-7
1999: 58-20
2000: 49-0
2001: 50-0
2002: 35-14
2003: 48-22
Totals (12 games): 560-239
Average: 47-20

Back in the heyday of the Big East, Rutgers was arguably the worst football program in the country, though Temple might have something to say about that.  Sure, they had a few good players.  Ray Lucas and Marco Battaglia come to mind.  But overall, they were awful.

Rutgers is a lot different these days.  Yes, I know it’s the Big East, but the Scarlet Knights of 2012 and the Scarlet Knights of 1997 are like night and day.  They’ve been to a bowl game in six of their last seven seasons.  They’ve even managed to win the last five bowl games they’ve played in against Iowa State, UCF, NC State, Ball State and Kansas State.  Clearly that’s not the top level of college football, but the Scarlet Knights are used to winning in late December and early January.

A Quick Look at the Level of Competition

Rutgers went 9-3 this season.  Here’s a look at their schedule and scores, with the opposing team’s win-loss record in parentheses.

at Tulane, W 24-12 (2-10)
vs. Howard, W 26-0 (7-4, 1-AA)
at USF, W 23-13 (3-9)
at Arkansas, W 35-26 (4-8)
vs. UConn, W 19-3 (5-7)
vs. Syracuse, W 23-15 (7-5)
at Temple, W 35-10 (4-7)
vs. Kent State, L 35-23 (11-2)
vs. Army, W 28-7 (2-9)
at Cincinnati, W 10-3 (9-3)
at Pitt, L 27-6