Rutgers Football: Quarterback Battle Will Be Key to RU's 2012 Big East Hopes

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2012

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 30:  Chas Dodd #19 and Brandon Coleman #17 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrate a touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones during the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 30, 2011 in the Bronx Borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

If Rutgers doesn't win the Big East in the fall of 2012, it may never win a conference title.

And if Rutgers doesn't win it, you will need to look no further than quarterback play to discern why it was unable to win a Big East championship.

All the excuses are gone.

Rutgers is no longer a "young team", the coaching situation has been settled, and most of all: West Virginia is gone.

Quite possibly the biggest obstacle for Rutgers to overcome has been West Virginia. The Mountainers have beaten Rutgers every season since Rutgers got past the Mountaineers, 17-12 in September of 1994.

West Virginia settled its lawsuit against the Big East and will not appear on the RU schedule, nor will it compete in the Big East in 2012.

For more on that story, click here:

Despite the departure of Mohamed Sanu to the NFL draft, Rutgers is still deep at wide receiver. The Scarlet Knights bring back a talented senior tight end D.C. Jefferson, who ought to be able to do some of the possession-type receiving work that Sanu did in his time at RU.

The Knights have plenty of talent at running back, bringing back sophomore Savon Huggins and redshirt sophomore Jawan Jamison, who broke out in the second half of 2011.

The defense should continue to be solid as it has been, and returns its star linebacker Khaseem Greene.

However, there is still unrest at quarterback.

Rutgers supporters thought they had their answer when prodigal son Tom Savage sought a hardship waiver to return to quarterback the team he committed to two seasons ago.

However, inexplicably, Savage was denied.  It is inexplicable with the amount of hardship transfers the NCAA has allowed under similar circumstances.

So now, RU is left with the usual suspects at the QB position; Chas Dodd and Gary Nova.

Both are talented, and both showed flashes of brilliance in what was a winning season in 2011.  However, they also both made the kinds of mistakes that drive coaches batty and cost a team games during a season.

One of these two will need to grow up quickly in 2012 in order for RU to compete for the conference title.