Rutgers Football: Move to Big Ten Will Benefit Program in Long Run

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

Nov 10, 2012; Piscataway, NJ, USA;  Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Jawan Jamison (23) looks on against the Army Black Knights during the first half at  High Point Solutions Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Playing in the Big East helped Rutgers' basketball team earn respect year in and year out, but its football team is overlooked for competing amongst the same schools.

The Big East is a basketball conference. There's nothing wrong with that, but if the Scarlet Knights ever want to be viewed as a legitimate presence in the college football world, moving to a stronger conference is necessary.

And it looks like that's exactly what they're going to do.

According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy and Dana O'Neil, Rutgers is expected to announce itself as the 14th member of the Big Ten on Tuesday, one day after Maryland announces itself as the 13th member.

The Scarlet Knights will struggle on the gridiron at first. The Big Ten is experiencing a down year, and it's not the SEC in terms of competition, but it's still a step up from the gridiron play in the Big East.

It will have its benefits, though, especially in the long run.

Recruiting is going to improve. With increased exposure, more high school prospects are going to see this team play.  More games on television, against better teams, will make the Rutgers program more marketable.

It will also impact the team's standing in the BCS. Big Ten teams have gained a reputation for falling short against teams from other conferences in BCS bowl games, but that doesn't stop them from getting there.

Big East teams have to work very hard to get there. Louisville was 9-0 before losing to Syracuse last week, but only climbed to No. 9 in the BCS polls. Undefeated teams from other conferences would absolutely climb higher, and they have.

Rutgers may struggle to compete at first, but the cupboard won't be bare either. Running backs Jawan Jamison and Savon Huggins could still be around, as could quarterback Gary Nova. With the program's success this year, recruiting should help itself for now.

Moving to the Big Ten makes sense on all levels for this team.

Exposure equals recruits. Competition equals respect. Rutgers needs both of those things if it wants to take its football program to the next level.