Across The Field: Q&A with Rutgers Beat Writer James Kratch As Scarlet Knights Prepare to Host Ohio State

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stlbuckeye15's picture

I really enjoy these “across the field” articles. This game won’t be close but hopefully we are able to give our backups some experience and come away without any major injuries. Go Bucks!

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Vabuck213's picture

I almost want them to just bench fields and start chug. Don’t even risk it

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stlbuckeye15's picture

I can see where you’re coming from. As long as Fields doesn’t play long and doesn’t run much I think he’ll be fine. I’m sure neither Day nor Fields is overlooking the importance of the remaining games so caution will be exercised.

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ronaprhys's picture

I'd say he needs to play about a half of football.  Enough to get him in the rhythm and let him practice at almost game speeds.  His over the shoulder deep ball wasn't there last week, so this should let him get comfortable with that again.

And, to some extent, practice some of the plays we've got in place for PUS.  I don't think we'll show much in this game, but I'm betting there are a few schemes or the like that need to be worked out at true game speed to see if they'll work.  

'97 - Molecular Genetics

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chicagobuck38's picture

"practice at almost games speeds".  That's pretty funny

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Vabuck213's picture

Yea I definitely get it. You want to get reps at full speed. Work on timing, throwing the ball away, progressing through reads etc. We forget sometimes this is still only his 10th start at the college level. He definitely has things in the passing game they can work on which is why I know its not realistic to sit him. But still...

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

This was depressing.  When you are on the verge of having one of the worst conference losing streaks in history, staying healthy and hoping to catch the next team sleeping is not a great situation to be in.

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Buck95's picture

As bad as Rutgers is, I’d have to say Northwestern from 1976 to 1981 likely had to be the worst streak of ineptitude ever.  During that span, the Mildcats went 3-62-1. Furthermore, NW between 1974 and 1993 - a 20 season stretch - they went better than 3-8 once (4-7 in 1974), overall going 37-180-3 (.175).

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analyticalguy's picture

... and that is why Pat Fitzgerald has a job for life.

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Trebor40's picture

That is honestly depressing and is a terrific example of what quality coaching can overcome when you compare that to their most recent 20 year stretch!

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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CowCat's picture

I remember those dark years for Northwestern. Their games were free back then and no-one showed up anyway.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

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Starburst Buckeye's picture

Great article and look forward to them every week. This is the biggest mismatch in a conference game ever in the Big 10. OSU is at the top of the college football world, Rutgers is at the bottom. Realistically this type of game shouldn't ever happen in a conference game as Rutgers is not capable of being competitive in the Big 10. Schiano did good things for them but the old Big East was a 100 times easier conference to win then the Big 10.

Rutgers just can't compete with the physicality of the Big 10 and its shown.

It always seems impossible until it's done.
~Nelson Mandela~

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lew-e's picture

Can’t compete with the physicality. YET. I think the northwestern goal is very doable for them. Sneak up on scUM and sparty every few years. Win 8 games consistently. That’s doable for them in time and I think Schiano is probably their best bet

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Buck95's picture

I think the Northwestern model is attainable. People want to say that, being  in the East division, they automatically start in a 0-4 hole. I don’t always buy that. Maybe 0-3, but I think Sparty has the ability to be a very up and down program. I think MSU, MD, Indiana and Rutgers (long term) could end up taking turns being the #4 team in the east. PSU (even as an Ind), TTUN (as much as we like to bash them) and OSU have (for the most part) always been power programs.

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analyticalguy's picture

And every few years PSU or Michigan can have a down year (never our Buckeyes!) allowing that #4 team to be #3 (or even #2). Rutgers has a better chance of making some noise (top 4 in the conference) in basketball, but that will still take a major upgrade in coaching and players.

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wantagoback's picture

Agreed ,the education may be a bonus. Those players who excepted offers from Rutgers likely did so because it was the best of those offers to chose from . This football program would do better playing at a different level. In other sports this is not the case but for football the writing is on the field. 

RLMay

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Sargent's picture

I'm sure they were happy to "except" an education

Founder of the BBTFA (Bring Back the Fullback Association)

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WC Buckeye's picture

As far as rule changes in CFB are concerned, I have two words for this game: running clock.

Life is full of choices. Make good ones.

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WC Buckeye's picture

...

Life is full of choices. Make good ones.

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AZBUCKFAN's picture

I am looking forward to this game. Of course, I've always wanted to attend a public hanging, too. LOL

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Eph97's picture

Agree. Been following OSU since 1983 and never in my life have I seen such a mismatch in B1G play between any 2 teams. Putting the most talented OSU football team in a generation, possibly ever, against one of the worst B1G teams ever. OSU can easily score 100 if they wanted to in this game.

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Stinson's picture

Solid write-up.

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

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BuckeyeInFairfax's picture

I had to chuckle when I read his answer to the question:  How ugly do you expect it to be?

A: As ugly as Ohio State wants it to be

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TMac's picture

He was just being honest. Let's see what some writer for roar lions says next week when his team has a slightly better chance against the Buckeyes. 

#ItsGreatToBeABUCKEYE

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Eph97's picture

PSU fans are being unrealistic. I've read them keep citing Iowa and Purdue as reasons for "any given Saturday". However, they fail to realize that with a completely new defensive coaching staff this is like a brand new Buckeye defense.

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analyticalguy's picture

No matter how good the players are, they have to show up on game day prepared and focused. When that doesn't happen - well, that's when "any given Saturday" can happen.

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OSUTexan's picture

That's gotta be depressing being a Rutgers fan.  The historians are even trying to take away the "First College Football" game.  Word is the game was closer to soccer but allowed to use your hands.  Kind of what their team is playing now.

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BuxLax's picture

Where have I heard this before?

There is a strong belief among fans and donors that Schiano  Frost is the one man who can turn the Scarlet Knights  Cornhuskers around. He has done it before and if this deal gets done, he will try to do so again with many more resources than he had the first time.

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

I mean they are two totally different situations.  Schiano was actually the head coach and had them at a respectable level, Frost was a GA for Nebraska 17 years ago.

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Lighteyes's picture

There's also a dramatically different level of expectations in play.

Nebraska has four permanent head coaches this century. Two were fired for 'only' winning nine games a year (Solich, Pelini) and the other two were fired while winning six games a year (Callahan, Riley). 

Schiano went .500 at Rutgers and they're on their knees begging for him to come back and win six games again. 

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ANOTHERMICHIGANLOSS's picture

All true...Rutgers wants to be respectable in conference and play a bowl game.  That's success within that program.  This isn't the (RIP) Big East.  Nebraska wants to compete for championships.  Schiano can make the former happen, we are waiting to see if Frost can do his part.  Nebraska made it clear with the Pelini firing that 9-10 win seasons without any hardware is not going to cut it.

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YinzerBuckeye's picture

I always thought Pelini was fired for his impulsive attitude toward his players? I know winning 9-10 games probably stirred the pot quite a bit but He was a solid coach. Best they had in recent memory until Scott Frost can emulate or surpass his success.

"Why doesn't Ohio State put a logo on their helmet? Because they'd rather cover it with your misery.
Block by block, hit by hit, score by score. Football is art, and the helmet is their canvas." - Doug Stamper

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AZBUCKFAN's picture

As bad as things currently are for Rutgers, there is one thing that can NEVER be taken away from them: In 2014, their first year in the B1G, their FIRST EVER B1G Conference win was against....drum roll, please......MICHIGAN.

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Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

Yes! Thank you! RU did beat UM!
Rutgers is bad, very bad. But they could be a middle of the pack B1G program. I think less Northwestern and more Indiana. And their recruiting base is better than IU’s. Is Schiano the guy to do it? I guess we will see

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tundra1's picture

Where have I heard this before?

There is a strong belief among fans and donors that Schiano  Frost Harbaugh is the one man who can turn the Scarlet Knights  Cornhuskers  TTUN around. He has done it before and if this deal gets done, he will try to do so again with many more resources than he had the first time.

FIFY

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Dstacify's picture

The difference is Schiano actually has turned Rutgers around before (granted they were playing in the Big East at the time and were not forced into a brutal gauntlet of games with the likes of OSU, PSU, MSU, and Michigan every year like they are now). Frost had one fantastic year as head coach at UCF and because of his deep ties to the school they now see him as the second coming of Christ in Lincoln. Schiano had Rutgers playing in Bowl games in 6 of his final 7 years there and was actually producing NFL talent on occasion (see Ray Rice). Frost has never had sustained success like that in his head coaching career.

11 Strong.

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Buckeyeroy's picture

Evisceration can be ugly but this should be a quick process--do what what you have to do, get the ones out early and let the rest of the team have at it. PLEASE--no injuries for both teams.

buckeyeroy

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buckeye1964's picture

anyone have ANY info on baron browning - the guy was playing great football and then he disappears. what gives?

danny

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cricejr's picture

I'm not sure I've ever felt sorry for an opponent before.  Like legitimate "Man, I wish these guys didn't have to play us".  Nothing positive will come out of this for Rutgers.  I just wish they weren't even in the B1G, they really should be in the AAC.  For NYC markets Syracuse would have been so much better. Probably not a possibility at the time but still, Rutgers makes the conference weaker in every way athletically.

I bleed scarlet...literally

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osu78's picture

While I agree that Rutgers isn’t an athletic powerhouse; that’s not why they are in the B1G. What they bring to the research table is what ultimately counts.As much as football means to us on !!W; it’s not the big money machine for the B1G.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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BucksHave7's picture

And there are 27 D1 sports at Rutgers. 

BucksHave7

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Fairport Buckfan's picture

Syracuse would have been better.  Unfortunately they were always heading to the ACC for basketball and its private school brethren and have been shortsighted about football potential.  200 miles from NYC area was likely a market issue.  I wonder if they were ever actually considered by BIg 10.  Hopefully Rutgers can get it together over time.  

Fairport

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BuckeyeRealist13's picture

From my understanding Rutgers needs massive facility upgrades and that is a sticking point in the Coach Schiano negotiations. RU is in a very talent rich region of the country and if they can get the facility upgrades and the right coach, they have a higher ceiling than a lot of schools in the B1G.

2x account suspension survivor 

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stantmann's picture

 Love the cannon, so had to make one specifically for this game. I'll never forget chanting with other OSU and rutgers fans, "Shoot the cannon ♫♫♫♫♫" at the end of game there in 2015.

"When you're part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they'd do the same for you." Yogi Berra

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Hovenaut's picture

Appreciate the pragmatism from James Kratch here - especially with regard to what led to Chris Ash's demise and what can be short and long term goals for the next HC (Schiano).

Hindsight is, and in, 2020

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rosycheeks's picture

I would have just asked one question: Kratch, why do you do this?

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bux_booster's picture

Perhaps some of these Rutgers alumni could be called upon to help the athletic image of their Alma Mater?  It certainly represents a wide cross-section of humanity.

https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-rutgers-university-alumni-and-student...

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LABuckeye's picture

"The Practice in Piscataway"... looking forward to it.

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TheTitleist's picture

The issue isn't so much that Ash isn't a good salesman or a bad coach (the jury is still out on that one). The issue is that Rutgers has done nothing to compete in the greater football arms race. As of right now:

- Rutgers has the smallest stadium in the Big Ten. Not great but not a death sentence.

- Rutgers doesn't have independent football offices. Again, not great, but also not the worst thing.

- Rutgers doesn't have independent football facilities. Ok, were running into issues here. If you want to be in the Big Ten and are recruiting kids in the same footprint, you need to at least show your program is on par with its peers. Even the most hapless Big Ten schools are upgrading their facilities.

- Rutgers will not shell out the budget required for good assistants. This is the largest issue surrounding the problem. Good assistants are just as vital as the head coach. They don't grow on trees either. Without that budget, Rutgers cannot get the people required to recruit the talent. Likewise, if they groom someone who can, they cannot afford to keep them. 

This is 100% a money issue and if the report I read is correct Schiano essentially asked for a minimum $50mm investment into the program prior to signing the dotted line. IF that's the case, Rutgers may have a chance to be like Northwestern. If they cheap out again, its over.

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Dstacify's picture

I'm pretty sure Northwestern has the smallest stadium in the B1G, not Rutgers. SHI Stadium expanded to a roughly 52,000 seating capacity in 2009 when Schiano was still there. Ryan Field only seats 49,256.

11 Strong.

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Hockeybuck's picture

Having lived near there for a time, they do have football  offices connected to the stadium (Hale Center) and independent football facilities (Battaglia Practice Complex).

They do lack a suitable permanent indoor facility, instead having to rely on an inflatable bubble. That seems to be one of the sticking points, and they’re going to get it because Governor Phil Murphy met with Sciano, presumably to discuss state budgetary allotments for such facilities.

https://scarletknights.com/facilities/

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BuckeyeNut2012's picture

It's still very hard for me to consider Rutgers a B1G school even though they've been with us for five years. The same goes for Maryland.

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McGrind's picture

Not the same, MD has upside and could at least be Indiana...basketball first and competing for #4 in the east in football. Rutgers is a lost cause...and I witnessed Schiano's tenure at Rutgers first hand. It is a different league and different time. They really need to step down a league.

Justice delayed is justice denied....#FTP

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brband64's picture

The Buckeyes will be coming to Piscataway on Saturday because of Schiano. He gave Rutgers football its dignity and built the program up to the point where it could be considered for Big Ten membership.

This is an interesting quote from Kratch - there is some truth to it, but I would probably phrase it that Schiano's successful term at Rutgers was more a justification for adding them (saying success is indeed possible here, leaving other sports out of the conversation) since the main reason for bringing in Rutgers was to get the B1G into that NY television market.

"It feels great ... it feels like, 'Shit, I got it.'" ~ Jeff Hafley

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osu78's picture

I disagree the TV market was why we added Rutgers, They and MD are first and foremost major research universities and the prospect of increasing research dollars drove the decision; sports were merely an added benefit. Research money dwarfs sports and is the big driver of B1G membership. Rutgers brought in another major research university and all the benefits of collaboration as well as political support for research dollars. Follow the money is very relevant in the argument of why we added them and why they joined the B1G.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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Dstacify's picture

As someone who has been to Camden multiple times (thankfully only passing through) all I can say is stay away from that place (not sure how far away it is from Piscataway but I know one of the Rutgers University campuses is in Camden). It's on par with Gary, IN as one of the worst cities in the country and even their cops know that (they'll actually encourage you to avoid making any stops within the city limits if you're passing through).

11 Strong.

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sawesome's picture

As someone who has been to Camden multiple times (thankfully only passing through) all I can say is stay away from that place (not sure how far away it is from Piscataway but I know one of the Rutgers University campuses is in Camden). It's on par with Gary, IN as one of the worst cities in the country and even their cops know that (they'll actually encourage you to avoid making any stops within the city limits if you're passing through).

New Brunswick / Piscataway is a world away from Camden.  Yes, it's true: passports should be required to enter and exit New Jersey.  But this is a stretch too far for me: it'd be like complaining about Columbus because of Youngstown.

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BucksHave7's picture

Hmmmm....No mention at all of the RU Punter???

BucksHave7

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cmented36's picture

Are we sure we can't trade the American Conference a Rutgers for a UCF/Cincinnati or maybe an SMU if they actually have prolonged success instead of a one hit wonder? At least if you add UCF or SMU you get the conference footprint into another recruiting area. 

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BucksHave7's picture

So you propose to drop the largest Media market in the entire country?

BucksHave7

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cmented36's picture

who the hell is really watching Big Ten football in the New York area because of Rutgers? 

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BucksHave7's picture

You think thats how it works?

BucksHave7

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Dstacify's picture

Adding UC to the B1G I could get on board with. It would turn them into a P5 program and make it easier for them to retain Fickell as head coach long term (though I think Fickell will be there for longer than people think). Their win/loss record most certainly wouldn't be as good as it is currently though. UCF will never be considered due to their location alone. I don't ever see Florida schools being added to the B1G because the B1G is mostly a cold weather conference. UCF would be at a disadvantage to the rest of the conference because they play in a warm climate year round and are not used to playing in cold weather. It would be like asking an SEC team to play a B1G schedule for an entire season through the month of November. They'd absolutely hate it.

11 Strong.

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sunshinestatebuckeye's picture

Rutgers officials must surely know by now, they are way over their heads and not even treading water in the B1G.                            They need to accept reality,  find a conference that better fits their needs.  Possibly the ACC East or Conference USA East would be more to their liking, with the likes of Marshal, Charlotte, Florida Int., Middle Tenn., Old Dominion, W. Kentucky                           By lowering the bar, they can begin to regain a winning attitude and shed the present futility.  As bad as things look, Rutgers recently defeated Liberty, who was coming off a 5 game win streak.  Rutgers and the B1G need to come to a mutual understanding that this thing is not working, for either parties and it's time to look at other options.

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LealmanBuckeye's picture

Football is not the only consideration, or Rutgers never would have been admitted to the conference in the first place. There's an academic side and an overall athletic side, and compatibility and, yes, media market share are big issues. If football was the only consideration, Oklahoma would have been offered membership a long time ago. You cannot just look at this as a football issue.

I aim to misbehave.

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SaltyD0gg's picture

I bet there's more talent on the IMG high school team than there is on Rutgers. They may not be quite as physically developed, but they might still be able to beat them.

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick

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ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

It's interesting that they are so willing to overlook the clusterf*ck defense we had under him once Fickell left. Granted he may be more suited to the HC job than a DC position but I guess whoever he would bring in for the DC role would have to be in line with his philosophies at minimum and maybe even someone willing to use Greg's system altogether.... Not seeing them winning many games if the latter is true

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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stantmann's picture

I'm thinking that was more Grinch than nice guy Greg

"When you're part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they'd do the same for you." Yogi Berra

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BuckReinhard's picture

As ugly as Ohio State wants it to be. I’ve never encountered such a mismatch on paper.

Never a truer statement than this one.

This is it. Don't get scared now.

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Eph97's picture

They made a huge blunder by not going after PJ Fleck before he got the Minny job. I think Fleck could have built them into a powerhouse to rival PSU in 10 years with his recruiting ability.

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andretolstoy's picture

The team is still playing hard for interim head coach Nunzio Campanile

I'll be honest. I'd be scared to death not to play hard for a coach named Nunzio in Jersey.

I don't think this is a fair assessment of Coach Ash. New Brunswick is not an easy place to succeed in. It's practically the oldest school in the US. It is highly entrenched with unionized, old school pandits. In some respects, it's worse than Penn State in this regard. Schiano is a Jersey boy.  He understands the culture. Chris Ash is from Iowa. I think he could lead a program in the BIG again. Just not east coast. Heck, let him go cut his teeth a lower tier so they can see what he can really do just in time for Ferentz to retire in Iowa City .

If you die before you die, then you won't die when you die. 

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OSUtopia's picture

I also wanted to add my thanks for this weekly series. Well done. And don't be afraid to ask more questions!!!!!

OSUtopia

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BigRedBuckeye's picture

New Jersey usually ranks 7th-9th in terms of NFL players produced, depending on which year you run the numbers. The recruiting ground is fertile. Rutgers arguably has the 3rd or 4th best recruiting backyard of any BigTen team.

The deal the BigTen gave Rutgers (which was NOT the same deal as Maryland) puts RU at a huge disadvantage. They reportedly get a decent bump in 2021, but do not get a full share until 2027. Compare the RU BigTen payouts thus far (note that in their final year in the BigEast, RU received $9.5M), to the full-share payouts of other members (note the jump from 2017 to 2018, when the new TV contract, negotiated at least partially on the back of the expanded TV markets supplied by RU and UMD, kicked in a ton of extra revenue):

  Rutgers Full-Share Members
FY2015 $9.4M $32M
FY2016 $9.8M $34.8M
FY2017 $16.1M $38.5M
FY2018 $11.7M 
(+$14M loan on
future paymts)
$54M

The BigTen invited Rutgers to come play BigTen football on a BigEast budget. They have not at all received a slice of the BigTen pie yet, with which to upgrade facilities, hire better coaching staffs, and so forth. It is no wonder they haven't found success.

Recipe for improvement:
Step 1: Get the right coach, a recruiting, NJ-ties coach.
Step 2: Recruit the hell out of the home state and NYC/Long Island/New England
Step 3: Start to receive the fuller/full BigTen revenue share, and upgrade facilities, coaching staff, and soften pressure from the anti-athletics faculty and administration.
Step 4: Consistently compete to be the 4th - 8th best team in the BigTen.

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

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andretolstoy's picture

Man. Who was negotiating for Rutgers? This deal stinks.

If you die before you die, then you won't die when you die. 

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CudjoeBuckeye's picture

"Rutgers just needs to try to stay healthy, find a way to score some points and hope that next week’s game against a Michigan State team that may be ready to pack it in can be more competitive."

This almost sounds like he is suggesting Rutgers should look past Ohio State and prepare for the next game.

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