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Rutgers Wrestling in 2 of Flowrestling's 12 “don't miss” matches

And how many involve the Big Ten? Come on, it’s the best wrestling conference in the country!

Roy DeBoer with permission ||

Flowrestling is a pretty good source for wrestling news and views. They recently issued their 12 dual matches you shouldn't miss during the 2017-18 season. And the very first one on the list is Rutgers-Maryland at Yankee Stadium.

This will be the second consecutive year that the Knights will take to the mat outdoors, the match last season at High Point Solutions Stadium against Princeton in the Battle at the Birthplace. RU won that match, 19-16.

This year's contest is a bit more controversial; not for the wrestling but for the football game that follows it. The Terps visit the Bronx for a not fully appreciated/accepted "home" contest on the gridiron following the wrestling match.

Since Rutgers and Maryland entered the Big Ten in 2014, the Knights are 3-0 against their fellow conference newbie.

Rutgers has another entry on the list later in the season. The Penn State match at the RAC makes the list, again not so much for the wrestling as much as for the controversy surrounding the meeting. The biggest off-season story has been the anticipated transfer of 125-pounder Nick Suriano back to Rutgers. At this juncture, he's definitely leaving Penn State, but will he end up at Rutgers, and will he sit out a year, and how many years if eligibility will he have? Stay tuned.

The Rest of the Dynamic Dozen

There are a lot of different reasons why FloWrestling highlights these matches. In some cases, they are simply great pairings between two powerhouse teams. Sometimes, there are more subtle reasons, appreciated more by wrestling buffs. Like the first one on the list.

Nov. 17: Illinois at Fresno State

This marks he return of wrestling to Fresno State. Wrestling has been on the chopping block at a lot of D1 schools over the last 20 years. The Bulldogs dropped their program but are restoring it. FloWrestling also notes that this is the first match for the Illini’s All American Isaiah Martinez since he was pinned in Cleveland last March at the NCAA finals.

Nov. 17: Minnesota at South Dakota State

If you don’t follow wrestling regularly or thoroughly, you’re probably saying, “South Dakota State?” Yeah, SDSU is pretty good. As was pointed out in the Oklahoma State commentary by Flo, last year when the Jackrabbits went to Stillwater, they won three of the five ranked matchups.

Dec. 1: Oklahoma State at South Dakota State

See above.

Feb. 16: Oklahoma at Lehigh

The Sooners have a new head coach, Lou Roselli. Last year, Lehigh went to Norman and dismantled OU, 30-7. A major test for a new coach just before conference tournaments. Might be worth taking a drive up to Bethlehem for that one.

The Iowa Connection

When you think of college wrestling, two places come to mind. No, Nittany fans, Happy Valley is not one of them. You think Iowa and Oklahoma. They are places that love their wrestling, and it’s no wonder they have several big, big, big matches in the state.

Jan. 12: Oklahoma State at Iowa

The Cowboys won in Stillwater last year. Flowrestling points out that Iowa has a great freshman class along with some strong transfers. How will they impact a team that is consistently strong?

Feb. 10: Iowa State at Northern Iowa

There’s a new sheriff in town in Ames, as Kevin Dresser takes over the Cyclone program. UNI is a really good program, winning this dual last year.

Feb. 18: Iowa at Iowa State

Dresser was at Virginia Tech, but he’s an Iowa alum. Great way to close your first season in corn country.

The Big’s just that good

If you were keeping score, four matches above, plus the two RU matches, involved a Big Ten team. In addition to those mentioned above, there are also three head-to-head Big Ten matches (below), meaning nine of the twelve “must see”matches involve the Big Ten. ‘Nuff said.

Note: When multiple dates are indicated, the specific time slot is yet to be determined.

Jan. 19-21: Iowa at Ohio State

Ohio State won the regular season title in the Big Ten last year, and was among the best in the country. And they’re hosting Iowa. Iowa! Iowa won last year at home, 21-13 in front of over 10,000 fans. At the time, it was the Buckeyes first loss of the season.

Jan. 28: Penn State at Rutgers

Hope this gets settled soon.

Feb. 2: Nebraska at Michigan

Michigan is expected to be a top ten, maybe even top five, squad. The Huskers lift cows to exercise. Good match up.

Feb. 9-11: Iowa at Penn State

This late in the season, teams are dinged up and trying to keep their wrestlers healthy. Last year it was No. 2 PSU winning the match at Carver-Hawkeye, 26-11. Over 14,000 in attendance. For the record, Suriano lost that night, one of only three defeats in ‘16-’17 for the freshman.