The first Amway Coaches Poll was released today and, as expected, there are five ranked opponents on the schedule for Rutgers this season. All five are ranked within the top 18 teams in the country in the preseason poll. In fact, Rutgers opens the season at #18 Washington, and starts Big Ten conference play with a trio of ranked opponents, hosting #15 Iowa, traveling to #5 Ohio State, and then taking on #8 Michigan at home on national television for the first ever “Stripe Out” in Piscataway. That is a brutal first half of the schedule and a challenging start for first year head coach Chris Ash.
The only other Big Ten team ranked in the preseason coaches poll is Michigan State, who comes in at #11. Rutgers travels to play the Spartans in mid-November. Other conference teams receiving votes outside of the Top 25 were Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northwestern, all of which Rutgers avoids playing this season. Lastly, East division rival Indiana received 1 vote. Penn State, Maryland, and Rutgers were the only East division teams not to receive any votes. In the West, Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue were left out as well.
Here is the full poll, including teams that received votes outside of the Top 25.
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||FIRST PLACE VOTES||PREVIOUS RANK|
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||0-0||1585||55||NR|
|4||Florida State Seminoles||0-0||1351||1||NR|
|5||Ohio State Buckeyes||0-0||1321||0||NR|
|9||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||0-0||1034||0||NR|
|11||Michigan State Spartans||0-0||901||0||NR|
|12||Ole Miss Rebels||0-0||792||0||NR|
|14||TCU Horned Frogs||0-0||649||0||NR|
|19||Oklahoma State Cowboys||0-0||426||0||NR|
|20||North Carolina Tar Heels||0-0||422||0||NR|
|Others Receiving Votes: Miami (Fla.) 120; Wisconsin 82; Utah 73; Boise State 73; Washington State 47; Texas A&M 37; Texas 34; Arkansas 34; Northwestern 31; Navy 30; Mississippi State 19; San Diego State 18; Nebraska 17; Auburn 17; Western Kentucky 11; Pittsburgh 8; Brigham Young 6; Appalachian State 4; Duke 3; Arizona 2; Marshall 2; Toledo 2; South Florida 2; Memphis 1; Indiana 1; Northern Illinois 1.|
There are 64 head coaches that will vote in the poll this season, and Ash is one of them. Other Big Ten coaches voting include Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst, Maryland’s D.J. Durkin, Penn State’s James Franklin, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Nebraska’s Mike Riley, and Indiana’s Kevin Wilson.
This poll confirmed what we already knew. Rutgers has a schedule loaded with many teams expected to be good or better. As I wrote last week, we have every right to be excited for the upcoming season. However, the progress that Ash and his staff have made within the program may not completely show up on the field this season. Remember to be patient and focus on the positive changes that have been made. The future is bright, with recruiting continuing to trend in the right direction. Kickoff for the opener at Washington is just 30 days away!