Last year, The Sporting News knew, like the rest of us, that landing in the Big Ten was the answer to our long term prayers. It also felt that we had little chance to be successful, picking Rutgers for last place in the B1G East. And they also felt that Rutgers would not go bowling.
"The Rutgers athletic administration is delighted with its arrival in the Big Ten, but the football program is going to pay some serious dues."
A little bit yes, a little bit no. So, what does TSN think of Rutgers in the B1G 2.0?
How does the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 26 sound? That's what TSN says we'll play in after a sixth place division finish. Ahead of Indiana. Like most others, The Sporting News sees our recruiting class as #11 in the conference, and they also highlight 4* Marques Ford as the big pick up in the class.
Recruiting: "Flood and his staff have some versatile athletes with great frames and speed headed to Piscataway."
Offense: "Ben McDaniels takes over for Ralph Friedgen as offensive coordinator, and there are pieces still around to put together a prolific unit."
Offense, RB edition: "Leading rusher Desmon Peoples averaged just 3.9 ypc in 2014. Paul James, Robert Martin,, and Justin Goodwin will also push for carries. It looks like a committee approach, but Rutgers has just two returning starters on the offensive line." The comments about Peoples, James and Goodwin tells you a little about how much research these guys really do on the lower tier schools.
Difference maker: Leonte Carroo (Is anyone surprised? Anyone?) "After a 55-catch, 1,086-yard, 10-touchdown season, Carroo was this close to declaring for the. So close that he requested an evaluation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. It was recommended that the 6-1, 205-pound sure-handed receiver stay in school and work on gaining separation and getting out of cuts faster."
Bottom line: "The home Big Ten schedule is brutal. Michigan State (Oct. 10), Ohio State (Oct. 24) and Nebraska (Nov. 14) all come in, and Rutgers has back-to-back road games at Wisconsin (Oct. 31) and Michigan (Nov. 7). If Flood can get back to eight wins and keep the bowl streak alive, it would be an accomplishment." This is just a broken record, and someday we will have a schedule that isn't "brutal" or a killer. Someday.
All Big Ten Offense: Leonte Carroo
Sporting News around the Big Ten
The headline in the magazine says "All jokes are over. The Big Ten is back, right?"
Screenshot of BTN football commercial after CFP
Well, things do look pretty good, especially at the top of the conference. And TSN sees as many as 11 teams going to bowls.
Overrated Team: Northwestern
Underrated Team: Minnesota
Top NFL Prospect: Joey Bosa, DE, OSU (we face him)
Best Under Pressure: Connor Cook, QB, MSU (we face him)
Top Impact Frosh: Adam McLean, DL, MD (we face him)
Best Venue: Camp Randall Stadium (yeah, you know)
Among our opponents
ttfp: "There's optimism in Happy Valley, but keep in mind Penn State finished 2-6 in the Big Ten last season....Hackenburg will need more protection....also must avoid inexcusable slip-up this time around....a nine-win season isn't out of the question, and the trip to Columbus will tell you whether or not this program is ready to get back on the national stage."
Maryland: "....opens the season with three straight home games before a season-defining stretch that includes a trip to West Virginia (Sept. 26), conference opener against Michigan (Oct. 3) and visit to Ohio State (Oct. 10 before the bye week. The Terps play Penn State at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, a game that should be interesting considering the chippy theatrics in last year's game."
Top 10 B1G games: Well, let's just say that none of our contests are in this grouping. In fact, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, and Northwestern are not part of the top games.