2010 CFBZ Prediction: 5th Place in Big East
2010 Actual Finish: 8th Place in the Big East (4-8, 1-6)
2010 was not a kind year to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Greg Schiano.
Rutgers won only 1 Big East game all year long, which oddly enough was against the team (UConn) that went on to win the Conference and represent the Big East in the BCS. I guess that shows how little difference their really is between the first and last place teams in the Big East. It's a very competitive league that had a down year in terms of competing on a National scale. After going 9-4 last year and 8-5 the year before it had to be tough for Rutgers fans to sit through a 4-8 season in which they dropped their last 6 games (all of which were Big East Conference games). To find out more information on Rutgers 2010 season and get a brief look into 2011 we turned to the Rutgers experts at On The Banks.
When you did our Pre-Season Preview with us you said you thought the team could go 9-3. They finished 4-8 and 1-6 in the Big East, what went wrong?
The offense struggled all year long. The offensive line was the worst in the bowl subdivision in terms of sacks allowed. They would have won about 4 more games in 2010 with even average offensive play. The defense was really good in the first half of the season, then seemed to collapse overnight after Eric LeGrand's horrific injury. It didn't help that a lot of key contributors on offense battled through nagging injuries too.
What needs to happen for Rutgers to bounce back next year?
Greg Schiano needs to fire co-offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. His spread offense is a poor fit for the team's personnel. Putting more of an emphasis on the run would open up play action and take more pressure off the passing game. Too many deep passes and multi-WR sets further hampered the pass protection this year. Rutgers needs to go back to a pro style offense under a new offensive coordinator.
Which player was the biggest surprise of the season and who was the biggest disappointment of the season?
WR Mark Harrison breaking out wasn't a huge surprise, but he finally started to realize his immense talent as one of the few bright spots on offense. There were plenty of disappointments, but the biggest would be Art Forst at right tackle. Forst struggled with pass rushers all year before getting benched.
Which player are you most excited about for next season?
As of now it would be WR Mohamed Sanu, who couldn't really do much this year with a bad offense around him and battling through injuries. He could have a big junior year in him.
In 2012, TCU will be joining the Big East. How do you feel about this and who else would you like to see join the Conference from a football perspective?
Adding TCU was sorely needed in order to upgrade Big East football. While the conference wasn't always as bad as it was in 2010, TCU should help a lot in that regard. Hopefully adding another school for all sports will push the conference into splitting along football lines. UCF makes a lot of sense as a tenth member. Temple makes the most sense IF they can find a good replacement for Al Golden. Villanova would be a horrible addition that would signify that the Big East had no interest in fielding a competitive football product.