The schedule has been out. There are now lines for Week 1 and win totals for teams. The buzz for college football is back and right on time as we prepare to enter July.
Once again, there is excitement on the banks. That is going to be the case as long as Greg Schiano is on the sideline. By now, fans have seen and studied the schedule ad nauseam. It’s time to do it together.
Let’s take a closer look at the schedule and see how the Scarlet Knights could compete in each matchup.
Sept. 3: at Boston College
This is one of the biggest openers Rutgers has played in quite some time. It should have Rutgers’ fans excited for the season. There is still two months until kickoff and this means fans have time to talk themselves into a victory but it will be difficult. Phil Jurkovec will return under center for Boston College after dealing with injuries for much of 2021. In 2020, he was rock solid with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Will it be Gavin Wimsatt or Noah Vedral? Either way, it’s not going to be easy for Rutgers. If it wants to get to six wins, this could be an important game right out of the shoot.
Result: Loss (0-1)
Sept. 10: vs. Wagner
Wagner will likely enter Piscataway on a 21-game losing streak – assuming that it loses to Fordham in Week 1. After what could be a difficult matchup against Boston College, the Scarlet Knights have a chance to get right here. Rutgers should roll in its home opener.
Result: Win (1-1)
Sept. 17: at Temple
Rutgers put up 61 points against the Owls last season. Will this happen again? It’s hard to predict 60 points but this should be another lopsided game between these two teams at SHI Stadium.
Result: Win (2-1)
Sept. 24: vs. Iowa
Remember the first Big Ten game on the schedule in 2021? Rutgers went into The Big House and stymied Michigan from the opening minutes. It was a tough 20-13 loss for the Scarlet Knights after a 3-0 start. This year, Rutgers will have an early-season test in Week 1 and host Iowa when conference play begins. Could this be an upset opportunity?
The Hawkeyes are going to play strong defense but the offense is not going to light anyone up. Once again, Rutgers might be able to keep it close and hope to pull it out in the end on its home field.
Result: Win (3-1)
Oct. 1: at Ohio State
CJ Stroud is back. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is back. Ohio State will once again look to win the Big Ten and contend for a National Championship. This line will be high in Columbus. Take the Buckeyes.
Result: Loss (3-2)
Oct. 7: vs. Nebraska
Nebraska finished 1-8 in Big Ten play last season but had an even post differential. The Cornhuskers could not win a close game in 2021 and there will be no Adrian Martinez this time around. Nebraska is one of those teams that gains hype every preseason because the country wants them to be competitive. Despite a relatively easy schedule, the Cornhuskers will struggle once again. Is a loss at Rutgers enough to get Scott Frost off the sideline?
Result: Win (4-2)
Oct. 22: vs. Indiana
It was a lost year for the Hoosiers in 2021. While they have no choice but to be better, it will not be by much. Indiana will come to SHI Stadium with Rutgers coming off a bye and this will be a must-win for the Scarlet Knights. If Rutgers can pickup this victory, it will give itself a chance entering the toughest part of the schedule.
Result: Win (5-2)
Oct. 29: at Minnesota
Greg Schiano and PJ Fleck will matchup for the first time here and it will not be easy for the Scarlet Knights. The offense for the Golden Gophers should be able to put up some points at home here and it will be difficult for Rutgers to keep up. A game like this is the reason why Rutgers will have to steal a game against Boston College or Iowa. If they have to rely on a victory at Minnesota, the season could get ugly.
Result: Loss (5-3)
Nov. 5 vs. Michigan
We mentioned the effort put forth by Rutgers last season when it traveled to Ann Arbor. The Scarlet Knights seemed to catch Michigan at the right time. That is not the case this season. A November matchup with the Wolverines, who will be looking to repeat as Big Ten champs, is not ideal for the Scarlet Knights.
Result: Loss (5-4)
Nov. 12: at Michigan State
The offense for Michigan State torched Rutgers last season – and it was more than just Kenneth Walker III. Payton Thorne threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns. It is unknown if the Spartans will be a top-10 team once again but they will certainly be in the rankings and one of the better teams in the conference. The defense will have to step up in this game but expect it to be a bit different from the Scarlet Knights’ trip to East Lansing in 2020.
Result: Loss (5-5)
Nov. 19: vs. Penn State
Rutgers just has not been able to close the gap with Penn State and this does not seem like the year it happens. The Nittany Lion defense feasts against Rutgers and Sean Clifford is back under center. Parker Washington steps in for Jahan Dotson and Penn State continues to roll.
Result: Loss (5-6)
Nov. 26: at Maryland
This one is going to hurt for Rutgers – just like 2021. For the second consecutive year, the Scarlet Knights could have a chance to enter the final game of the season at 5-6 needing a win for a shot at a bowl game. Last season, the Terps came to Piscataway and hung 40 on Rutgers. Going back to Maryland this season, there is a revenge factor for both sides. Rutgers will look to avenge last season while Maryland wants to rebound after an overtime loss in 2020.
After a 5-2 start, Rutgers needs to steal one game to qualify for a bowl but the road is difficult at the end. It could be a disappointing 5-7 for the Scarlet Knights.
Result: Loss (5-7)
Agree or disagree? Make your way to early predictions for the 2022 season in the comment section below.