Rutgers pegged for 7th in the Big East

June 28, 2008

The Sporting News has released its forecast for Big East football and, in an eight team league, Rutgers is tabbed to finish 7th. That’s ahead only of hapless Syracuse.

Before booing, remember that in 2007 Rutgers finished tied with Louisville and Pitt for 5th — ahead only of hapless Syracuse.

Remember, too, that Rutgers lost Ray Rice to the NFL, its offensive line is decimated by graduation, the defense was porous last year and there’s no reason to think it has gotten better. Call this edition of the Scarlet Knight just more mediocrity and that seems right on.

And yet Mulcahy III and Slick McCormick continue the money gusher into football — to what end? Latter day fans will flee a losing edition of the Scarlet Knights like cockroaches escaping Raid and, by season’s end, our bet (Preston Pennypacker‘s Panglossian prediction aside) is that Rutgers will be lucky to limp to a 7-5 result, even with the shameless stacking of creampuffs onto the schedule.

We expect the Rutgers losses to start against Fresno State and we anticipate that every tough opponent will throttle Schiano’s Schoolboys. By season’s end we expect Rutgers Stadium to be as empty as a cemetery at midnight in a blizzard — and watch that diminished enthusiasm crush ticket sales for the 2009 campaign. New Jersey fans have no affection for losers and they will show it by not showing up.

Will Slick McCormick then confess that the foray into high-priced football was a disaster — just as his father Richard McCormick the elder suggested to the New York Times a decade ago.

Pennypacker Picks 9-3 RU Season

June 22, 2008

At least some Rutgers 1000 stalwarts are ardent gridiron fans and one longtime Rutgers 1000 adherent, Preston Pennypacker, recently approached us with his conviction that the Rutgers football team will go 9-3 this year.

We reacted with skepticism – our sense is that the team (minus Ray Rice and half the offensive line) just isn’t that good.

But Pennypacker persisted. Here are his predictions for the 2008 campaign:

Fresno State (W)

North Carolina (W)

Navy (W)

Morgan State (W)

West Virginia (L)

Cincinnati (L)

Connecticut (W)

Pittsburgh (W)

Syracuse (W)

South Florida (L)

Army (W)

Louisville (W)

What does he base this Panglossian outlook on? Pennypacker explained to us that he is using the 2007 season ending Sagarin ratings. Rutgers ended the season at #38 and, per Pennypacker, the 2008 schedule has more cream puffs than a French bakery. The number in parenthesis is the season ending Sagarin rating.:

Fresno State (60)

North Carolina (69)

Navy (74)

Morgan State (205)

West Virginia (3)

Cincinnati (19)

Connecticut (39)

Pittsburgh (66)

Syracuse (113)

South Florida (20)

Army (131)

Louisville (45)

Is a victory over a Syracuse, an Army, a Morgan State not worth exactly the same as a win over the a top 10 team? You bet those wins count in the calculus of Rutgers athletic director Mulcahy the III. Add in wins over real mediocrities such as North Carolina and Navy and, suddenly, the cunning of Mulcahy III is evident. Rutgers can hardly not have a winning season!

Pennypacker is spot on. The computer says 9-3 is within reach and all that without registering a single quality win. Clap your hands loud for duplicitous scheduling – and know, per Pennypacker, that yet another appearance in a tertiary, low-prestige bowl is assured for the RU football squad.

Go, go Mulcahy III. With scheduling like this, Rutgers cannot lose – and as long as the fans are so intoxicated with the odors of musky jocks that thought is paralyzed they’ll never figure out that the fix was in at the get go.