While the Big East will be going through a bit of alteration in the coming season—Temple will be joining the conference and West Virginia will be leaving for the Big 12—Rutgers football will undergo its own fair share of turnover in 2012.
Last year’s head coach Greg Schiano made the leap to the NFL, where he will lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Longtime assistant Kyle Flood is replacing Schiano as the head coach. Rutgers also lost wide receiver Mohammad Sanu, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, as well as several other key offensive players.
Despite the loss of talent, the Scarlett Knights will look to succeed in the Big East before the conference expands to include Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis and San Diego State in 2013 and Navy in 2015.
Last year’s major contenders are standing in the way of Rutgers’ Big East success. While no team dominated the competition last year, the conference had a lot of level talent and eventually ended in a three-way tie for the lead. West Virginia, Cincinnati and Louisville all posted 5-2 records in conference play. Rutgers and Pittsburgh each finished a game behind at 4-3.
In a conference where every game is up for grabs, matchups are extremely important. While the Knights will contend in every game in 2012, it does not hurt to point out the Big East teams they don’t match up well against.