For all intensive purposes, the Big Ten conference season for 2020, such as it was, is over. We’re all well aware of the bad/awful/frustrating parts of the season. No need to dwell.
Instead, we here at OTE are trying something a little bit different: Being nice and happy and excited instead of sarcastic flaming dicks. Over the next few whatevers, I’ll be occasionally posting an entry in a new feel-good piece that will highlight things you may have missed but that were shining beacons of joy and happiness during this past season’s conference play. So, the first official Best Part of Big Ten 2020:
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights Football Team
Believe it or not, the idea for “Rutgers” as a good/great thing about B1G2020 came from one of our very own Penn State Nittany Lions writers, pkloa:
Before our 2020 nonconference schedule went bye bye, we at OTE held our annual Rutger preview week. 76% of the poll respondents picked the Knights to finish with fewer than 3 conference wins. Not only has Greg Schiano and company surpassed almost all expectations already, there’s a good chance the team will get their fourth B1G victory for the first time since they joined the conference. Additionally, 3 points as time expired to Illinois and an overtime loss to Michigan separated Rutger from a winning season. Let’s give the team and its fans a pat on the back, even if we stay typical OTE by giving them the middle finger with our other hand.
Here’s the last sentence of the Rutgers wiki entry in the “Chris Ash era” subsection
Chris Ash had a dismal record in four seasons with the scarlet knights, he finished 8-32 overall.
Woof. That 8-32 included a Big Ten conference win total of just 3 games. In just a single shortened “season,” Greg Schiano has matched Chris Ash’s conference win total for all 3+ years of his tenure. It would not be remotely crazy for Rutgers to beat Nebraska this weekend and finish with a record of 4-5 (assuming no bowl game), which, as pkloa pointed out, exceeds Rutgers’s OTE-expected win total by 3 full wins. Only Rutgers’s writers/superfans ZuzuRU and Ray Ransom even predicted 3 wins for 2020 Rutgers football.
Don’t believe Rutgers had a good conference season? Take a gander through the statistical leaders and you’ll see Noah Vedral in the top 1⁄3 of the conference in a lot of categories, Bo Melton and Aron Cruikshank sprinkled throughout the leaderboards, and, of course, Adam Korsak as one of the top statistical punters. Rutgers had some good pieces this year.
Here at OTE, the writers, readers, and poll voters often (deservedly?) give all kinds of crap to Rutgers—as a school, an athletic department, an historical landmark, a mass media market. As we close out B1G2020, though, let’s look back, be surprised and happy for Rutgers and its fans, and forever remember the Pandemic Season as one in which Rutgers exceeded expectations and came within a couple plays of a winning conference record.
EDIT: At the loud, angry request of several Rutger(s) fan(s), I present the almost-craziest TD of B1G2020
Thoughts and prayers if you had Indiana -12 pic.twitter.com/1RWWISDrd2— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) October 31, 2020
This poll is closed