How TCU will affect future Rutgers football scheduling

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looks on against the Connecticut Huskies at Rutgers Stadium on October 8, 2010 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It remains to be seen how exactly TCU joining the Big East in 2012 will affect future Rutgers football scheduling, but I wanted to look at some of the possible issues below beyond the obvious concept of beefing up the team's future strength of schedule. Barring another football program joining the Big East, let's assume for now that Rutgers and every other league member will play an eight-game conference schedule with four home and four road games.

That could mean that TCU would come to Piscataway on even-numbered years (with Rutgers heading to Ft. Worth on odd years to balance out the schedule), but nothing is necessarily set in stone. Remember, the Big East had Rutgers play at Syracuse two years in a row (with RU getting an extra home game from West Virginia) a few years ago because Syracuse needed another home game. Either way, everybody should be getting four home and four on the road.

This is important because it's far easier to fill four out of conference games than five, especially on short notice. Syracuse just had to sign a home and home series with Tulane to fill a hole on their schedule for the next two years, which illustrates a hard lesson that Rutgers learned with FIU. Any team that needs a home game on short notice and doesn't have a football factory budget will have to make sacrifices like playing a mid-major opponent and/or signing a lopsided deal (in the sense that BCS conference schools should rarely if ever play mid-majors home and home).

edit: whoops, the following paragraph originally had some bad wording that completely changed its meaning.

The Rutgers football team already had four out of conference games scheduled for 2012. Army and Kent State at home, along with Navy and Tulane on the road. At six home games that would leave them one short of the magic number of seven needed to pay off the stadium bond. Likewise Rutgers is scheduled to play Eastern Michigan and Navy at home in 2013, Fresno State on the road, and Miami at Yankee Stadium. Could Rutgers actually not play a FCS opponent in '12 and '13?

A couple factors could throw a wrench into these plans. The Yankees have listed a 2015 game between Army and Rutgers at Yankee Stadium on the front page of the Pinstripe Bowl site for a while now, which possibly means that there are more games yet to be announced in that series. Miami's athletic director confirmed the 2013 game along with two additional games (beyond the previously announced home and home series in '18/'19), with Rutgers yet to officially announce any of these games. For everyone wondering, the upcoming Navy games are listed in page three of their 2010 media guide.

Update: the bonus Miami games apparently fell through.

Heck, has it even been announced which FCS team is coming to Piscataway next year? Rutgers football fans are still seriously in the dark when it comes to future games, although things are starting to clear up with the Big East moving to nine teams and a renewed emphasis on long-term scheduling. It still would be nice to have everything formally laid out at some point, instead of having to find out about nearly every game from an opposing school issuing a press release. Time to set up a Google alert from every MEAC school I guess.

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