Okay, bye week is over. The season is two-thirds over. What’s left for Rutgers in the last four weeks?
Redemption? Credibility? Success?
Let’s take a look at the last four weeks and what Rutgers faces.
Who they are
Rutgers faces an odd mix of teams, from one with early success turning to crap, with a team scoring a stunning victory over a team it shouldn’t be on the same field with, to an utter collapse of an otherwise good program. And, of course, then there’s Indiana. Over the next four weeks we start at home and then alternate road and home. Always interesting.
Indiana: 4-4, 2-3 B1G
Michigan State: 2-6, 0-5 B1G
Penn State: 6-2, 4-1 B1G
Maryland: 5-3, 2-3 B1G
The four opponents have a very welcoming combined record of 17-15, with most of those wins courtesy of our last two games. And in the standings, the Big Ten schedule makers apparently grouped our opponents based on quality of the teams and their talent levels.
Common Opponent Scores
Let’s look at who Rutgers has played in common among the next four opponents.
Indiana: Ohio State 38, Indiana 17 That’s a lot of points difference compared to RU’s 58 point loss. But we played OSU the week before they did, so we kinda softened them up for the Hoosiers.
Michigan State: Michigan 32, Michigan State 23 This is the one that startles and scares me. MSU has had an horrific season, yet they held tough with UM. Granted, it was at home and against the hated in-state rival, but only nine points? That’s close, and the stats are an indication that Mark Dantonio had his team ready to play.
Penn State: Three common opponents and kind of a mixed review. Harbaugh wants to beat everyone, and James Franklin just isn’t in the same league as the nutjob in Ann Arbor. The Minnesota game gives me some hope; the game was in Happy Valley and the Gophers gave them a game. We played on the road at Minny and gave them a game. Does that mean we can play with the Nitts here? Yeah, but then there’s the Ohio State game, where Jimmy Franklin saved his job. Not a good omen for us.
Michigan 49, Penn State 10
Penn State 29, Minnesota 26
Penn State 24, Ohio State 21
Maryland: The Terps opened the season the way RU did: thumping an overmatched Howard squad — and by a comparable score. Good sign. Then came PSU; hard to decide who to root for here, but since the Lions won, we look only at that. They harnessed Maryland....in State College. Home cookin’. But just three weeks ago, the Gophers shut down Maryland (sorry, D.J., you can’t play Howard and Florida International every week) The Terps have returned to earth and despite the winning record are not that good.
Maryland 52, Howard 13
Penn State 38, Maryland 14
Minnesota 31, Maryland 10
All of which means....
The other day, our Aaron Breitman posted that Indiana is a two touchdown favorite this weekend. That kinda says we should probably lose them all down the stretch. Yeah, probably even Michigan State because.....well, they’re Michigan State and we’re not.
But look at the trends of wins and losses:
Indiana: Streak W1...which followed a three-game losing streak
MSU: Streak L6 This is the same team that beat Notre Dame the second week of the season. And by the time they play us, after they play Illinois, it could be seven losses or a one-game win streak. Who knows!?
PSU: Streak W4 They face Iowa and Indiana before they hit Piscataway. That streak could easily be six. But we can hope!
Maryland: Streak L1 But it’s also three losses in four weeks. Including to Indiana. The boys in the uniforms that a paint mixer vomited face Michigan, Ohio State, and Nebraska the next three weeks. They are fighting for their bowl lives. That streak? I think it’s four L’s when we trek down the Turnpike to CP.
And your thoughts?
So, what do you think? Do we win one, two, all of them, or none? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.