On Thursday morning, James Kratch of NJ Advance Media reported that Rutgers has agreed to play FCS school Delaware in the 2021 season.
Schedule scoop: Rutgers will play Delaware in 2021, NJ Advance Media has learned. First meeting between schools since 1973. https://t.co/RyRUJBJefp— James Kratch (@JamesKratch) September 20, 2018
Rutgers has since confirmed that this game has been scheduled.
This will be the second FCS school added to future schedules of late, as Rutgers also recently added Monmouth to the 2020 schedule. I like the focus on regional games and while I don’t love the idea of playing an FCS team every season, at least head coach Chris Ash is adding local one’s to the schedule. Delaware is a respectable FCS program. The Blue Hen fan base is a proud one and should travel well for this game. For my recent take on the non-conference scheduling philosophy of Ash, click here.
While the present day state of Rutgers football is not a positive one after the epic loss to Kansas last weekend, it’s ironic that the news of the 2021 schedule broke now. After the loss to Kansas, Ash said in his postgame press conference that the rebuild could take up to six years. Well, year six for Ash would be 2021, so let’s look at the completed schedule for that season.
September 4th: Temple
September 11th: at Syracuse
September 18th: Delaware
September 25th: at Michigan
October 9th: Maryland
October 16th: Indiana
October 23th: Ohio State
October 30th: at Illinois
November 6th: Wisconsin
November 13th: at Northwestern
November 20th: Michigan State
November 27th: at Penn State
The reality of being in the Big Ten East is that every season Rutgers will be fighting an uphill battle in the near future to win six games and gain bowl eligibility. I recently reviewed the Big Ten schedules for Rutgers through 2025 here.
While the non-conference slate of Temple, Syracuse, and Delaware is not a murderer’s row, it’s fair to wonder how Rutgers will measure up to those programs when the games are played. Both Temple and Syracuse are on the schedule the season before in 2020 as well. Rutgers must take advantage of non-conference play moving forward to ever have a chance at six wins and going to a bowl. Losing to Kansas was a reality check that Rutgers is not going bowling this season, but also brought into question whether Rutgers will be in better shape in the near future to be more successful in non-conference play, let along Big Ten action.
They’ll have a chance to improve fan morale and make progress this weekend in their last non-conference game of the season, as they host an undefeated Buffalo team with MAC championship aspirations. For more of our coverage leading up the Saturday’s contest, click here and here.