The kickoff for Rutgers football is four months away. Does that mean it’s too early to predict the schedule?
Yes and no.
It is never too early to talk about college football returning. At the same time, there are many questions that need to be answered regarding the Scarlet Knights from now until September — beginning with the quarterback position.
Beginning today, we will release a schedule prediction every month to remind ourselves about the road that Rutgers has in 2023. Below, check out the first edition of the way-too-early schedule prediction for the Scarlet Knights.
Sept. 2: vs. Northwestern
Rutgers has not lost a season-opener since 2017 and has a chance to win another. In fact, some would consider this a very-early must-win game for the Scarlet Knights. Greg Schiano began his second tenure in Piscataway with a Big Ten victory over Michigan State in 2020. Now, he will face another conference foe and one that was 1-11 last season. Northwestern has been at the bottom of the Big Ten and Rutgers has to avoid a Week 1 upset.
Result: W, (1-0, 1-0)
*Scores will be added in future editions*
Sept. 9: vs. Temple
Temple has become a staple on the schedule for Rutgers. This will be the third-consecutive year that the two face-off — and the first two were very different.
Rutgers ran over Temple 61-14 in 2021 in Piscataway. Last season, the Owls almost pulled off a huge upset at Lincoln Financial Field. What are we in store for this season? Let’s find a happy medium. Rutgers might not put up 60 in this game but it has to be a comfortable win for the Scarlet Knights.
Result: W, (2-0, 1-0)
Sept. 16: vs. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech comes to SHI Stadium on Sept. 16. What a day that will be for fans, a chance to get a signature victory over an ACC opponent. Last season, Rutgers upset Boston College in Week 1 and it turned out that the Eagles struggled all season. In 2022, the Hokies went 3-8. What is this year going to be like?
This game can go either way. For Virginia Tech, this will likely be viewed as a can’t-lose game early on. For Rutgers, it is. a chance to move to 3-0 and pick up a Power Five victory. The mental battle is, are we ready to believe that Rutgers can put together 60 minutes against Virginia Tech? As we sit here in May, let’s remain skeptical and give this game more thought over the next four months.
Result: L, (2-1, 1-0)
Sept. 23: at Michigan
The second Big Ten contest of the year, and first of four gauntlet games on the road, will occur in The Big House. Remember when Rutgers led Michigan 17-14 at halftime last season? Or in 2021 when the Scarlet Knights had the ball late in Ann Arbor looking to steal a victory? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Jim Harbaugh has taken Michigan to the top of the country. J.J. McCarthy is back and the defense will be strong once again. The gap is too big.
Result: L, (2-2, 1-1)
Sept. 30: vs. Wagner
After a potential beatdown at the hands of Michigan, the Scarlet Knights will return home with a chance to get right. Wagner came to Rutgers last season and lost 66-7. There is no reason that it is not a similar result in 2023.
Result: W, (3-2, 1-1)
Oct. 7: at Wisconsin
Rutgers was not done any favors this season with some of their road games. Madison is hopeful that Luke Fickell can take the Badgers back near the top of the Big Ten. For that to happen, they cannot lose to Rutgers. Braelon Allen brings toughness to a team that will look to win in the trenches and dominate physically.
Result: L, (3-3, 1-2)
Oct. 14: vs. Michigan State
The Michigan State matchup has brought plenty of hope to Rutgers in previous years. Schiano beat the Spartans in his first game back. Last season, the Scarlet Knights were within one score on the road. Of course, the game sandwiched between was dominated by Kenneth Walker III and Jalen Nailor. Payton Thorne has transferred to Auburn. Mel Tucker and co. struggled last season. This remains a winnable game for the Scarlet Knights. Over the next two games, there has to be a split at minimum.
Result: W, (4-3, 2-2)
Oct. 21: at Indiana
Indiana is currently rebuilding. The Hoosiers have taken huge steps back in recent year but how long will the process actually take? There are some strong recruiting classes coming in but that will not be a factor this season. Last time Rutgers played in Bloomington, it was a 38-3 runaway. While the score might not be as lopsided this season, Rutgers has a chance to win two in a row.
Result: W, (5-3, 3-2)
Nov. 4: vs. Ohio State
As usual, there is a four-game stretch in Rutgers’ schedule that seems impossible (more or less) to get a win. And as usual, Ohio State is in there. C.J. Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba might be gone but the Buckeyes reload. We have seen this year after year. Kyle McCord will likely step into the quarterback position while Marvin Harrison Jr. has a chance to be the best receiver in the country. Buckeyes big.
Result: L, (5-4, 3-3)
Nov. 11: at Iowa
Jack Campbell and Riley Moss are gone but Iowa plays defense no matter what. Last season, the offense was historically bad and they address it this offseason by bringing in Cade McNamara. The Hawkeyes are hoping that the Michigan transfer can provide a spark and experience on the offensive side of the ball. It is hard to see Rutgers scoring many points in this game.
Result: L, (5-5, 3-4)
Nov. 18: at Penn State
There are some teams that do not match up well. Obviously, Rutgers has lost to the Ohio State’s and Michigan’s but Penn State has been a true roadblock — and the Nittany Lions seem to enjoy dominating Rutgers. Last season, Rutgers got to double-digit points against Penn State for the first time in a long time. The problem? Penn State scored 55. The gap in talent and physical ability is too big here once again.
Result: L, (5-6, 3-5)
Nov. 25: vs. Maryland
Speaking of staples within the schedule, Maryland and Rutgers should play in the final game of the season every year. That seems to be the way it is going. Over the last two years, the Terps have been on a different level than Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights won an overtime game in 2020 but the last two years have not been close. Once again, Rutgers is entering the final week of the season looking for a bowl berth.
This is when the Virginia Tech game will cree back into memory. After being 5-3, the Scarlet Knights will struggle over the final month.
Result: L, (5-7, 3-6)