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2016 Preview and Predictions: Rutgers Scarlet Knights Football

Rutgers’ first Big Ten season conference game. 9/13/14
Rutgers Athletics

It is time for the closing arguments for your favorite Big Ten team, Rutgers! It feels… good(?) to be third to last in the closing arguments order because that means that there were two teams who performed worse than us last season. It also feels good due to analysts’ predictions saying we will be last in the B1G this year. This piece argues against that and provides a positive outlook for Rutgers in the 2016 College Football season, and our third season in the Big Ten.

So, in keeping up with the law theme which the originators of this site so marvelously instated, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you the closing arguments for Rutgers Football in 2016.

I. Case History / Opening Statement

A. Case History

Rutgers’ 2015 football season broke a four year bowl game streak and was also only the second time in ten years we did not go to a bowl game. Rutgers went 4-8, and had just one conference win over Indiana. It was a turbulent season wrought with scandals including arrests, suspensions, and consequently a mass scale cleaning of house in both the football program and athletic department as a whole. Rutgers Football is preparing to present its changes to the conference and college football world.

Chris Ash is the 26th Head Football Coach in Rutgers’ long history. He was brought in to enact B1G changes while the Athletic Department did the same with new AD Pat Hobbs. When asked about these changes, a change in “culture” is the answer that Ash provides the most, so Rutgers fans are eager to see what this translates to on the field. Offseason hype videos showcasing everything from practices and intense strength training, to light-hearted arm wrestling and free-throw competitions confidently indicate that positive changes have occurred in the well-being of the team and their preparation in being ready to compete at a new level.

B. Opening Statement

New head coach, new coaching staff. You probably know Ash’s history for the most part (if not, please check out this article), and for many of these coordinators and position coaches, this is either their first crack at the position, or they had the same position at a lower tier program. While successful at their previous schools, they certainly weren’t playing Ohio State and Michigan State every season, so it will be interesting to see how they handle the B1G teams that come at them.

Another year, another Rutgers Quarterback battle, but this time graduate transfer Zach Allen from TCU has been thrown into the ring with Chris Laviano, who started 11 games last season, Hayden Rettig, a cannon arm senior, who transferred from LSU two years ago, and Giovanni Rescigno, a junior who redshirted in previous seasons. Practice camp started this week and as of now Laviano and Allen are at the forefront, but there’s still three weeks left.

Both sides of the ball were a struggle for Rutgers last season. While we don’t really have much positive change in offense and defense in terms of gaining players, hopefully the new coaches will find a better way to work with the talent that Rutgers already has to help the team bring home some wins. It’s going to be hard without a player like Leonte Carroo, however, Darius Hamilton is returning to the field injury free and ready to go. Darius, a top defensive lineman, is a fantastic team leader, and has quite the defensive record in the seasons he played. One player can often make a difference in college football, so Rutgers fans are looking forward to his return.

II. Discovery

A. What We’ve Written About Rutgers This Offseason

Rutgers’ Slate Has Been Cleaned

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Cocktail Party Preview

Meet the NEW Rutgers Coaching Staff

Rutgers Traditions!

Rutgers: a Sleeping Giant or a Paper Tiger?

Rutgers Rising: You Don’t Need to Believe in a Dynasty

III. Emotional Plea

Rise Rutgers. From Ash, rise.

Rutgers doesn’t get much love from our fellow Big Ten companions, but there’s no denying that for most of a decade prior to this past season we were a fine team. Not great, but fine. We got the job done enough to usually have a postseason game (and won most of them), job done enough to keep a steady stream of loyal Rutgers fans, and job done enough to have fans that are far from passive. We make a good showing in our own stadium even for games that are not high profile. Rutgers fans care and we believe. I acknowledge that we were in a different league, however Rutgers can achieve what we once had, but in this conference, and this season is where I believe that will start. I think 2016 will be quite the surprise for the rest of the Big Ten in terms of Rutgers and RU fans won’t be surprised if we do well. We’ll just say, “I knew we could do it.”

IV. The Verdict

Writer Predicted Record
Aaron Yorke 4-8 (2-7)
Andrew Kraszewski 4-8 (2-7)
StewMonkey13 2-10 (0-9)
WhiteSpeedReceiver 2-10 (0-9)
Brian Gillis 4-8 (2-7)
Ray Ransom 7-5 (4-5)
MNWildcat 4-8 (1-8)
Creighton M 4-8 (2-7)
DJ Carver 4-8 (1-8)
AlnamiasIV 4-8 (2-7)
Candystripes for Breakfast 6-6 (3-6)
Graham Filler 5-7 (3-6)
babaoreally 4-8 (2-7)
Jesse Collins 4-8 (2-7)
Zuzu 6-6 (3-6)
87Townie 3-9 (1-8)
LincolnParkWildcat 4-8 (2-7)
Thumpasaurus 3-9 (1-8)
Thomas Speth 4-8 (2-7)
OTE Staff Average: 4.1-7.9 (1.8-7.2)