According to fbsschedules.com, Rutgers has completed its non-conference football schedule for the 2018 season. In this report, it cites a contract between Rutgers and the Texas State Bobcats. Here is more detail:
Texas State will travel to face Rutgers at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey on Sept. 1, 2018. The Bobcats will receive a $1.2 million guarantee for their first-ever matchup against Rutgers, according to a copy of the contract obtained via a public records request to Texas State University.
The same report also states that Texas State signed a contract with Texas A&M for the 2019 season. There is no mention of a home and home series with Rutgers, as this appears to be a one game only contract. Also note, this game has not been confirmed by Rutgers, according to their future schedules listed here.
Texas State is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and had a 3-9 record last season and a 7-5 record in 2014. In recent years, the Bobcats have played at Florida State, at Illinois, and at Texas Tech. They are set to play at Arkansas and host Houston next season.
As for Rutgers, adding Texas State to the non-conference slate would complete their 2018 football schedule. Last month, we took a look at all of the non-conference schedules for the next decade for every Big Ten East school. Rutgers now has their Big Ten and non-conference schedules for football complete through 2018. Here are schedule grids for the next three seasons and some thoughts on each.
|September 3rd||AT Washington||2:00 PM||PAC-12 Network|
|September 10th||Howard||12:00 PM||BTN|
|September 17th||New Mexico||12:00 PM||ESPNews|
|October 1st||AT Ohio State||12:00 PM|
|October 8th||Michigan||7:00/8:00 PM||ABC/ESPN/ESPN2|
|October 15th||Illinois||12:00 PM|
|October 22nd||AT Minnesota||12:00 PM|
|November 12th||AT Michigan State|
|November 19th||Penn State||8:00 PM||BTN|
|November 26th||AT Maryland|
Rutgers plays nine teams that went to bowls in 2015 and five teams that are expected to be ranked next season on the upcoming schedule. Their first half is especially brutal, with only FCS school Howard on the schedule that did not have a winning record and play in a bowl game last season. It will be a difficult start to the schedule for Chris Ash's debut season. I love the idea of ending the season against Penn State and Maryland, but that doesn't happen in the following two seasons.
|September 16th||Eastern Michigan|
|September 23rd||AT Nebraska
|September 30th||Ohio State|
|October 14th||AT Illinois|
|October 28th||AT Michigan
|November 11th||AT Penn State|
|November 18th||AT Indiana|
|November 25th||Michigan State|
In terms of the 2017 schedule, it will be the last season that Rutgers can play an FCS school, per a new Big Ten rule that has been implemented. Washington at home will be a tough matchup to start the season, but Rutgers has two winnable home games to follow. The Big Ten crossover games for Rutgers against the West division is pretty reasonable, with a home game against Purdue and road games at Nebraska and Illinois. There will be nothing easy about the program's second trip to play the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska, but the other two matchups are against traditional West division bottom feeders. The last three games of the season will be a difficult end to the 2017 season, having two road games against division rivals, followed by Michigan State on senior day.
|September 8th||AT Ohio State
|September 15th||AT Kansas|
|October 13th||AT Maryland
|November 17th||Penn State|
|November 24th||AT Michigan State
With Texas State now added to the 2018 schedule, Rutgers has a very manageable non-conference slate. Let's be honest, it's about as winnable as a three game set can be against FBS opponents, with this season being the first that Big Ten schools can no longer play FCS schools. Rutgers countered that by scheduling three opponents who had a combined record of 8-28 in 2015. Although Rutgers will get panned for having such easy non-conference matchups, the first two months of the 2018 schedule give Chris Ash and his staff a real chance to start the season with as many wins as possible. After a difficult road trip to Ohio State, playing Indiana, Illinois, and Maryland early in the conference schedule is also about as good as it gets. Of course, the 2018 schedule ends with a heavyweight fight every week in November and a tough way to end the season. This will be year three of the Ash era and that closing four game stretch will be a true indicator of how much progress the program has made up to that point.