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Time for Rutgers Football Previews: First up, Street & Smith’s

After ten years operating under The Sporting News’ umbrella, the venerable source authority on college football is back!

New Mexico v Rutgers Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Hey, remember the good old days when dribbling was done with the hand over the basketball, milk was $1.50 and Street & Smith’s was the yearbook everyone turned to when they wanted to get the complete lowdown on the upcoming football season?

Well, with the exception of the dribbling thing and milk, those days are back - inside these pages!

Thus opened this year’s Street & Smith’s college football yearbook. No longer under The Sporting News’ label, the authority (and I recall buying them for that) on college football is back. So what do they say about our Scarlet Knights and our conference.

When you go 2-10 and winless in your own conference, the likelihood of getting a big write up in a preview magazine is pretty slim. Fortunately, Rutgers plays in a P5 conference so it will get at least a full page for itself.

Not that there’s a whole lot of good to write about. Street & Smith’s puts the Knights at seventh in the Big Ten East.

The Good: There’s more below, but the magazine felt that Ash did a pretty good job of putting together a top-50 recruiting class. That ain’t easy to do when your team is “a punchline on the field”.

The Bad: All you need to read is “...September isn’t easy.” The opener against Washington along with games against Nebraska and Ohio State,

Key players: In talking about Jerry Kill’s offense, S & S highlights Robert Martin wo they say “has a chance to shine” if Kill continues to emphasize a physical rushing attack.

Recruiting: S & S highlighted Ash’s success in landing both Micah Clark and Bo Melton, “The first full recruiting class for coach Chris Ash and his staff saw the Scarlet Knights take major steps forward in-state....they landed the No. 2 player in New Jersey with offensive lineman Micah Clark and the Garden State’s No. 5 player in receiver Bo Melton.” The also had high praise for signing QB Jonathan Lewis and Olakunie Fatukasi.

Coaching: Not so much on Ash, but they were intrigued by the hires at Purdue, Indiana and Minnesota, saying the IU hire of Tom Allen and the Gophers’ P.J. Fleck were “newsmakers”. They also think Fleck is the best interview.

Around the Big Ten: Street & Smith sees Ohio State and Wisconsin winning the East and West respectively. They have the B1G East as 1) OSU 2) Penn State 3) Michigan 4) Michigan State 5) Maryland 6) Indiana 7) Rutgers with all but Indiana and RU going to bowls.

For teams on the rise and wane, S & S sees Penn State as a team that was not a “fluke” in winning the Big Ten title. “James Franklin turned the hot seat into the natioin’s hottest program....” On the flip side, they aren’t big on Michigan State and Iowa. Two years ago they played for the B1G title; last year they were a combined 11-14. Our sister site, Off Tackle Empire, was a bit harsher on the Spartan chief.

The Heisman Watch: No, no Knights. But from the B1G are noted Penn State’s Trace McSorley (QB) and Saquon Barkley (RB). See All Big Ten for more.

Opportunity Knocks: They had a feature titled just that, and talked about players filling in at schools that had unexpected needs. Rutgers is included, although I don’t think a lot of our needs were exactly unexpected. They mention RBs Gus Edwards from Miami and Arkansas’ Damon Mitchell. Graduate transfers have been, at least this year, something that Ash has done well with, as highlighted by our own Aaron Breitman.

All Big Ten: S & S only lists a first team, and no Rutgers player makes the list on offense or defense. Three Buckeyes are on the O, including J.T. Barrett, who they also look at as a Heisman hopeful. The Bucks also have three on defense. No other team has as many players on the list as does OSU.

National Rankings and the Big Ten: Okay, let’s get this out of the way. #$%$# Nick Saban and the crimson elephant he rode in on. S & S has the Tide as Number 1. They are followed at No. 2 by Ohio State. In their Top 25 are Penn State (7), Michigan (9), and - finally a team from the West - Wisconsin (12).

Interesting notes: No Big Ten coach is on their “Hot-Seat Watch” in 2017. As far as underrated teams go, Street & Smith’s likes Northwestern., feeling they can build on their Pinstripe Bowl win over Pitt.

Coming up next: Athlon Sports