It might not have been the path expected coming into the season but Rutgers is currently 5-5 and in the hunt for a bowl game. After a 38-3 win over Indiana on Saturday, outlets such as ESPN and CBS Sports began including the Scarlet Knights into bowl projections.
According to David Bonagura and Mark Schlabach of ESPN, Rutgers is projected to finish the season 6-6 and appear in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against Texas Tech. During Greg Schiano’s first tenure, he led the Scarlet Knights to the Insight Bowl in 2005. This was their first appearance in a bowl since 1978. Now, ESPN believes Schiano and Rutgers could return to Arizona this year.
When CBS made its predictions, Rutgers was included but instead of finishing the season .500, the Scarlet Knights would be selected to a bowl with a record of 5-7. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports projected Rutgers to be one of three teams chosen to participate in a bowl game with five wins — joining Illinois and Missouri.
The NCAA has allowed five-won teams with strong enough APR scores to appear in a bowl game when there are not enough teams to fill each slot. Palm believes this could happen with the Scarlet Knights as they would travel to Orlando to take on Kent State in the Cure Bowl.
Rutgers ends the season with a road matchup against Penn State before hosting Maryland. There is a chance that the Scarlet Knights split to end the season and will not have to worry about their APR score — which has not been released since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely that Rutgers faces a potential win-and-in game against Maryland after suffering a loss to Penn State.
The Scarlet Knights have not appeared in a bowl game since 2014. This was their first year in the Big Ten and finished 8-5 on the year. Rutgers went onto defeat North Carolina, 40-21 in the Quick Lane Bowl.
According to Palm, the Big Ten currently has 11 teams placed in bowl games. This is a large majority of the conference and it would be a huge accomplishment for the Scarlet Knights to be present.