Greg Schiano's Time With Rutgers Football Is Running Out

Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIINovember 21, 2010

In 2001 Greg Schiano promised Rutgers would win a National Champsionship.  He's still waiting for his first Big East title.
In 2001 Greg Schiano promised Rutgers would win a National Champsionship. He's still waiting for his first Big East title.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Under the guise of four consecutive bowl wins from 2006-09, the Rutgers football program's regression since its miracle season of 2006 is clearly visible. Since the year Rutgers won 11 games and finished 12th ranked in the country, its record against schools from BCS conferences has fallen to 14-17.

The four consecutive bowl wins that head coach Greg Schiano brings up way too much were over some of the worst opponents the bowl system has ever produced and in some of the most meaningless bowl games ever played.

The truth is Rutgers has gone from being the sweetheart of the college football world to being irrelevant in four short years.

How far will they continue to fall?  It's hard to tell but if Cincinnati didn't miss an extra point in last night's game, they would have put 70 points on the scoreboard.  Rutgers lost 69-38 and currently occupies sole possesion of last place in this year's Big East standings.

Who is to blame for this collapse?  It has to be Greg Schiano, because Rutgers has bent over backwards to give him everything he's asked for and more.

Rutgers went out on the limb in 2001 and made him the youngest head coach in major college football.

They showed him patience and compassion when they gave him a fifth year after a four-year record of 12-34.  The fifth year came after a fourth year in which his record was worse than the year before.

Rutgers built what Schiano always described as the finest facilities in the country—a state-of-the-art training center, an outdoor bubble and an indoor track.

Eventually the school went into debt when they gave Schiano the stadium upgrade and expansion he campaigned for.  He even had it in his contract that if the stadium wasn't expanded, he could leave without paying a buyout fee.

Rutgers also made him one of the highest paid coaches in the country and the highest paid public employee in the state of New Jersey.

And Schiano was good to himself; he became well known for padding his schedule with weak non-conference opponents.  He claimed it was necessary for Rutgers to gain extra home dates and it was the weak teams that were willing to accept one-year contracts.

Since 2006, and with the help of those weak schedules, he has posted a 29-20 record.  But against teams from BCS conferences, his record has fallen to 14-17.

In his 10 years at Rutgers his record stands at 59-61.  He has never won a Big East Championship and he has never beaten West Virginia.

But let's be honest: Schiano is the one who took Rutgers from being the laughing stock of college football, after he took over for Terry Shea, and brought the school a degree of respectability it hadn't enjoyed in decades.

In his fifth year as head coach he registered the school's first winning season in nine years and its first bowl appearance since 1978.  It was the 2006 season when he was named the college football coach of the year.

But what's happened since 2006?  It's certainly not for a lack of talent!  In the 2010 NFL draft two Scarlet Knights were selected in the first round, another one in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft,  and at least 20 players since 2006 have made it to the NFL.

Schiano's 2006 team might have had more talent than any college football team in the country that season!

So let's be honest. The man can recruit with the best of them. 

But it's not his recruiting that's in question here.  It's his game-planning and his game-day coaching where the trouble lies. It's his inability to win games against good teams. 

The losses to BCS teams have been mounting and he hasn't avoided the embarrassing losses to some of the country's weakest teams either.  This year it was a home loss to Tulane in a game in which the Scarlet Knights were a three-touchdown favorite.

Does Greg Schiano deserve another year as head coach of Rutgers? 

Forgetting the long-term contract he just signed that runs through 2016, it's hard to imagine that 10 years hasn't been enough.  How many years should it take him to win a Big East championship?  Fifteen?  Twenty?

Should Rutgers stick by Schiano?  This is the man who had the audacity to entertain long conversations with Miami and Michigan in regards to their coaching vacancies when his stock was soaring after the 2006 season.

And speaking of Miami and Michigan, don't you think they're happy he turned them down?

So the question becomes how long can a coach survive off of one big season.  How long will the memories of 2006 last in the hearts of the Rutgers faithful?

This is where I remind folks that it was Brian Leonard who decided to return for his senior season in 2006 instead of opting for the NFL draft as a junior.

Leonard could have been drafted in the second round if he left early but decided to return and accepted his role as Ray Rice's blocking fullback.  Leonard was a devastating blocker, the leader of the team and the nation's top-rated fullback in 2006.

Without him there would have been no 11-win season and Schiano would have been gone by now.

Maybe Schiano would have found a job as a defensive coordinator like he was with Miami before he accepted the Rutgers head coaching job.  He is a good defensive coordinator but as a head coach of a school from a BCS conference, he still hasn't proved he can cut it.


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