No more Howard, no more Tulane. We've taken care of business against Wazzu and Navy. The Scarlet Knights got a taste against ttfp, but now the real season starts. After a tough matchup against Team Bye, RU faces a daunting schedule of Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. Before all that, however, Rutgers welcomes the Michigan Wolverines for a Blackout at #TheBirthplace. On to the predictions!
Kevin Recio: In planned blackout games, Rutgers is 3-0 against the likes of Pitt, UConn, and Arkansas. The common theme between those teams is that they all stunk at the time. This season, the blackout is against another struggling team. If you think about Michigan not in the middle of the Hoke-Morris concussion controversy, they are still a mediocre football team. Funchess is the only weapon on offense, and the defense can't do enough to carry the entire team in spite of the offensive struggles. It's hard to predict how the players will respond to the national coverage of the Hoke situation, but I think Rutgers is the better team and will win decisively on Saturday night. Rutgers 20, Michigan 9.
Bob Cancro: Saturday night at The Little House. The Maize and Blue are on the road for only the second time this season, the first a rousing thrashing at the hands of the Irish. Pre-season, I thought this had the makings of a pretty good game, thinking the Wolverines would be at least 4-1, maybe 5-0. I had RU coming in to this game at 3-2. Yeah, I really know my football. Who knows what will happen? Rutgers a fave over Michigan. Wait, let me re-read that and let it sink in....... Rutgers 24, Michigan 21
Ray Ransom: I fear this game. I know, I'm usually the voice of the homer, but something about this game gives me the willies. We have the offense, we have the pass rush, we have the #Blackout night game atmosphere (holy cow this should be amazing), but something about this game has me worried. Michigan has an awful lot of talent and their backs are against the wall. I get the sense that internally, they're rallying hard around Hoke, a guy they care about greatly. That could manifest itself in a team that comes out to play on Saturday, determined to control their destiny and defend their beloved head coach. I want this game to be a blowout by the Knights, with another hat trick for Carrooooooooo and a dozen or so sacks, but I think this one is going to be a hard-fought, emotional, knock-down-drag-out affair.
Rutgers 21, Michigan 23. Oh who am I kidding!?! It's going to be a classic 3OT barn burner, 33-30 Rutgers on a walkoff field goal by Federico! GO KNIGHTS!
Dave White: A blackout at HPSS. A night against one of the traditional schools--possibly the greatest college football team in history. But now they're reeling, while Rutgers lusts for Big Ten revenge after a heartbreaker against Penn State. This game goes down one of two paths, Rutgers continues its hot streak while Michigan remains in disarray -or- traditions hold true, Rutgers loses in Rutgers fashion and Michigan starts to get well. It's going to be an electric night on the banks... let's do it right. Rutgers 27 Michigan 20.
Andy Egan: I see this game going one of two ways: either it's 1) a blowout win for Rutgers, who is able to kick a reeling opponent when it's down; or 2) a tight, nerve-wracking game, with neither team able to get it going on offense. I can't take another devastating ttfp- or L'Ville '12- type loss, so I'm going with Door Number 1, a blowout Rutgers win. I think the game is close going into the half, something like 10-3 Rutgers, and early in the third quarter, the Knights ride a momentum-changing special teams play to a score, and from there, it's all Rutgers. Rutgers 31-Michigan 10. If you want some of that good stuff I'm drankin' to dream up such a result, find me in the Blue Lot before the game.
Garrett Stepien: Do not fool yourselves, Rutgers faithful: this game will be close.. And yet, with the storied program of Michigan limping into this game with all the turmoil and negative publicity that has Brady Hoke's volcano of a hot seat ready to erupt, I still can't convince myself that Rutgers can pull off the ideal win. Michigan still has a solid defense, and if Rutgers can't run the ball effectively, I can't see this team riding the arm of Gary Nova because somewhere down the line that normally leads to around three interceptions. This ain't Tulane.
However, with that being said, I do believe Rutgers can get it done. This isn't a 5-0 Big Ten powerhouse coming to the Point, but it's still a team of talented football players on both sides of the ball. With the rain coming in, it's going to be a sloppy game, but I expect the B1G crowd to be electric on top of the entire blackout atmosphere. Rutgers hasn't lost the annual blackout game since it began doing it in 2011, spotting a perfect 3-0. I'll say RU continues that trend Saturday night, but it won't be pretty. Rutgers 20, Michigan 17.