The 9-0 start in 2006. Reeling off seven straight victories after starting 1-5 in 2008. Mohamed Sanu going over the 100-1,000 mark in 2011. Every season has twists and turns that surprise even the most ardent of supporters. What will surprise you in 2013? Today, I attempt to predict some of those surprises here:
1. Gary Nova throws for 3500 yards, 30 TDs, and less than 10 INTs en route to an All-American (Athletic Conference) selection
You can sense the momentum that Nova has heading into the season. After a very productive offseason where the quarterback shed 10 pounds and improved his endurance to handle a full year's work, the junior is ready for his career season. With a weaker overall strength of schedule and better production from his wide receivers, Gary Nova maintains a completion percentage over 65% for the year. As a finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, the rising senior tops the watch list at the start of the first year in the Big Ten.
2. Savon Huggins fails to live up to the hype
The pressure of being the number one recruit back in 2011 haunts Huggins and he is overtaken by walk-on Paul James as the starting running back. The running game is more of a "by-committee" product in 2013 with Justin Goodwin becoming a force and Ron Prince successfully establishing a power run game. With his career never reaching expectations at Rutgers, Huggins decides to declare for the NFL Draft after rushing for only 800 yards, opening the door for Jonathan Hilliman.
3. Kyle Flood receives a contract extension
After winning ten games after a bowl win, AD Julie Hermann decides to roll the proverbial dice on Coach Flood as she sticks with the former assistant as her Big Ten guy. With a strong recruiting class ready to sign in February, Flood possesses the prowess to compete with the B1G's best on the football field as well as on the recruiting trail.
4. Brandon Coleman is a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft
Nova will have to throw the ball to someone, and Coleman uses the 2013 AAC season as his coming out party. At 6'6" with a 4.4 40-yard dash, scouts awe at the athleticism possessed by the All-AAC first team selection. Even with the lure of playing B1G competition, the NFL is too great of an opportunity to pass up and Coleman declares after the bowl game. As a top-10 pick, Rutgers' all-time touchdown leader becomes the highest drafted player in RU history.
5. Rutgers takes down Louisville on Thursday Night
...followed by losing to Temple two weeks later. After riding high by ruining Teddy Bridgewater's Heisman campaign, the Scarlet Knights overlook a Temple team picked to finish last and find a way to blow the game at High Point Solutions Stadium. In what could have been an outright conference title, the Temple loss leaves Rutgers number two in the American, leaving the Scarlet Knights once again on the outside of the BCS, looking in.
Now it's your turn. What are your predictions for the 2013 season? Nothing is off base, so leave a comment below with your thoughts on what's in store for the Scarlet Knights.