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Four Thoughts On Rutgers Football’s Big Ten Schedule Through 2025

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Iowa becomes an annual affair and rivalry games become a priority

NCAA Football: Iowa at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Big Ten conference announced future schedules for the 2022-2025 seasons. With the next eight years now set for Rutgers football in Big Ten play, here are some takeaways on what the future holds.

Crossover Opponents Review

(2018-2021 were previously released, but bears inclusion for full analysis)

2018

Illinois, Northwestern, At Wisconsin

2019

At Iowa, Minnesota, At Illinois

2020

Illinois, At Purdue, Nebraska

2021

At Illinois, Wisconsin, At Northwestern

2022

Nebraska, At Minnesota, Iowa

2023

Northwestern, At Wisconsin, At Iowa

2024

Iowa, At Illinois, Purdue

2025

Minnesota, At Nebraska, At Iowa

Totals

(record since joining Big Ten in 2014 plus future games scheduled)

Wisconsin: 0-2; this season and two more times

Iowa: 0-1; five more times, including 2022-2025

Northwestern: 0-0; three times

Nebraska: 0-3; three more times

Purdue: 1-0; two more times

Illinois: 1-1; five more times, including every season until 2021

Minnesota: 0-1; three more times

Trends:

  • Illinois has been kindly scheduled to play Rutgers for six years straight, which began in 2016. It’s a game the Scarlet Knights need to win every season and have split the first two meetings. They’ll play them another time in 2024 and are the most scheduled opponent for Rutgers from the West division since they joined the conference through 2025.
  • Iowa is on the schedule another five times after having played them just once so far. Every season from 2022-2025 includes the Hawkeyes. Rutgers has some familiarity with Iowa, as head coach Chris Ash is from the state, associate head coach and offensive line coach A.J. Blazek was a captain there and wide receiver coach Lester Erb was an assistant there for 13 seasons.
  • Northwestern & Purdue will play Rutgers just three times through 2025 going back to the inaugural 2014 campaign for the Scarlet Knights.
  • Rutgers has already played Nebraska three times in their first four seasons in the conference and will see them three more times through 2025.

2023 Is A Nightmare Schedule

Rutgers is set to play Temple, Virginia Tech and Ohio in non-conference play, which is a solid schedule. However, the Big Ten made it much more difficult with crossover games against Northwestern at home and road games at Wisconsin and Iowa. As of today, those are the three best programs in the West division. All six of those game will be played by early October. Of course, November will be another gauntlet, as Rutgers plays Ohio State at home, followed by road games at Michigan and Penn State, with the regular season finale in Piscataway against Michigan State. Wow, what an absolutely brutal schedule. There could be ten bowl teams played that season.

Penn State & Maryland Scheduled For Rivalry Week Often

From 2018 until 2025, Rutgers will end the regular season against Penn State and Maryland six times in that eight year period. I like this a lot and have said before that Rutgers should only end the season against one of these two opponents and preferably, play them both in the last two games each year. Unfortunately, the earliest that would happen would be 2026, because no future schedules are set up that way.

Penn State is the last regular season game from 2019-2022 and on the flip side, is the conference opening contest for Rutgers in 2024 & 2025.

Michigan State is the only other school Rutgers will finish the regular season against in the future schedules and will play them in November every year, which is something that has been true since Rutgers joined the Big Ten, except for the 2015 season, for whatever reason.

Penn State Gets Best Crossover Opponent Draw

As mentioned above, Rutgers will play Iowa four seasons in a row between 2022-2025, which isn’t an easy matchup playing against one of the most consistently good programs in the Big Ten so often. Each team was scheduled a crossover opponent to play during this period and the Nittany Lions got the best draw. They’ll play Illinois each time, although it’s hard for Rutgers to complain, as they are the most commonly scheduled crossover opponent they’ve had since joining the Big Ten in 2014. However, it’s not great to see Penn State get such a favorable draw. An intriguing matchup is Ohio State vs, Wisconsin each of those four seasons. Maryland drew Northwestern while Indiana has their rivalry against Purdue preserved, which is a good decision by the conference.

For a complete look at the Big Ten schedules for every program between 2022-2025, click here.

For my thoughts on the non-conference scheduling philosophy of Rutgers football for future seasons, click here.