Rutgers Scarlet Knights College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
If a new head coach is taking over a program, there’s a reason.
Either the old guy left for something better – and the new guy needs a bit to make the program his – or the old guy was bad and got sacked. In the second case, the new guy needs a long time to build things up.
And sometimes the new guy was the old guy who left for something better after making the program his, and then was bad, got sacked, and ended up returning to try to built things up.
That’s Greg Schiano, who did the seemingly-impossible and made Rutgers really, really good at college football for a stretch.
It took a while to get there in the old days of the Big East, but Rutgers won eight or more games five times in six seasons from 2006 to 2011 and won all five bowl appearances during the run.
He left, the program he built was still good enough to go bowling for a few years, but then everything fell off the map with little to no fun for five seasons.
Schiano came back to Rutgers before the 2020 season and instantly changed things back around. You might be what your record says you are, but that 3-6 campaign was a whole lot better than it looks like on paper.
Set The Rutgers Scarlet Knights Regular Season Win Total At … 5.5
All you can reasonably ask for out of a new head coach is to 1) show signs of improvement and 2) provide a vision for what might be coming – in a positive way. Under Schiano, Rutgers improved right away and the team was competitive enough to show that it’s probably going to be a thorn in everyone’s side over the next several seasons.
However, for all of the positives, Rutgers was was still a few plays away to being closer to 1-8 than it was to being 7-2 – although that’s sort of debatable.
And it’s still the Big Ten East. Ohio State didn’t all of a sudden quit playing college football, and 2020 might be a case of if-you’re-Rutgers-and-you-didn’t-beat-Michigan-and-Penn-State-last-year …
But there’s talent and experience on this 2021 team.
Rutgers isn’t going to win the Big Ten Championship, and it’ll be lucky to not be among the bottom two in the East, but there’s a built-in few wins to count on, there will be a few upsets, and there are just enough 50/50 games that this team can flirt with something fun.
This might not be a bowl season, but it’ll be close.
That the previous line doesn’t seem far-fetched shows you how well the new guy did in the first year with his old program.