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B1G 2020 // Awkward Cocktail Party

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About that 500 Pound Gorilla...

Seton Hall v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Hi!

My name is Coray Ransom Seifert. I’ve been shitposting writing about the Big Ten and Rutgers football on SB Nation for a few years under the name Ray Ransom. Why come out of the woodwork now? I’m writing a novel (can you guess the name of the main character?) and I want to build a community!

Shameless, I know, but you get spicy pigskin content and I get readers who maybe like dinosaurs and augmented reality and science fiction.

Alright, let’s get to some football!

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 03 Maryland at Rutgers
Greg knows what’s up
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kicking Off B1G 2020

It is our most sober duty and honor to open B1G 2020. Naturally, The OTE Committee for Betterment of the Internet met and decided that Rutgers Football is both the greatest thing in the Big Ten and also boasts the most talented writers in myself and the eminently fiery Zuzu.

There are dirty rumors that B1G 2020 is in mostly reverse order of record, but obviously that is tomfoolery.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Rutgers at Michigan
He was a good guy...but we saw him make this face way too much
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What We Brought to the Table in 2019:

Hey, yeah, remember that time Chris Ash was the coach at Rutgers? That was something huh...

...awkwardly looks at drink...

...so we’re really going to do this?

Just pretend we’re not in the middle of a global pandemic and skip right from “Hey there might not be a season” to “Ray’s Coray’s delusions of how good the Rutgers secondary is going to be this year?”

Maybe these uber-polite Midwesterners would, but we Jersey super hard ‘round these parts so we’re going to go over the important stuff before we get to the X’s and O’s.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 13 Rutgers Spring Game Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There Won’t Be Football in 2020

What? You thought I was out of spicy takes?

There won’t be football in 2020. College or NFL.

Get comfortable with it.

Now, to be very clear, I don’t know anyone or anything. I have no insider information and you probably know everything I do.

But let’s review the facts:

  1. If we play, someone will die

Welcome to the end of the conversation.

No matter whose numbers or projections you look at, every projection has a 20-something elite athlete getting paid zero bucks while making their University oodles of cash dying of Covid-19.

That fact means there will be no football in 2020.

Don’t get me wrong. This sucks. I love football so much that I spend my weekends writing about it on a blog where I will be mercilessly gif-mocked for my efforts...and I love it.

I’m so desperate for football I’ve started hitting the bottom of The New York Times app - yes, there is a bottom of The New York Times app and you can hit it. I’ve found myself trolling through Wikipedia late at night reading about the reproductive habits of Trilobites. I’ve been opening Facebook just to start fights with people because I need to feel something again.

I deeply want football to happen in 2020.

It will not, because even a single death is too many.

It’s time to get comfortable with that fact.

So, let’s re-frame...

How About Rutgers Football Next Season?

There will be a next season. Setting aside when, it’s an exciting time to be a RU fan. Let’s assume for the sake of this article that we’ll have a copy and paste of the schedule to next season:

The Road Ahead:

Sep 5: vs. Monmouth

Sep 12: vs. Syracuse Orange

Sep 19: at Temple Owls

Sep 26: at Ohio State Buckeyes

Oct 3: vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Oct 10: at Purdue Boilermakers

Oct 17: vs. Indiana Hoosiers

Oct 24: vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Oct 31: at Maryland Terrapins

Nov 14: vs. Michigan Wolverines

Nov 21: at Michigan State Spartans

Nov 28: vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Regional rivals? Winnable games in September? Halloween game against the Terps? Revenge against PSU during that weird week between holidays?

This is a delightful schedule.

Starting the season off with regional rivals in Monmouth, Syracuse and Temple is exciting in a way that playing random games against Sun Belt teams from faraway lands hasn’t been for the past few years.

Playing Maryland on Halloween is going to be a beautiful disaster and I’m thrilled about it. There’s no way this game ends with less than a thousand yards of offense and 12 turnovers.

Ending the season with a potential for upsetting Penn State? It’s just *chef’s kiss*.

Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Best Case Scenario: Schiano gets the cavalry turned around quickly and rattles off a trio of thrilling defensive battles complemented by a punishing run game that puts Rutgers at a surprise 3-0 heading into conference play. Stealing a game against Illinois, Rutgers is 4-4 going into the Maryland game and Schiano is up for COTY. Another bizarre 52-51 affair has Rutgers at 5-3 and a single win away from bowl eligibility. After a brutal stretch, in an overtime affair for the ages on the banks, RU puts away even-more-overconfident-than-usual Penn State team to finish 6-6 and goes bowling.

Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Worst Case Scenario: College football presses on without heed for the safety of its players. With little to no offseason, the pieces only start jelling for RU late in the season and just as the Knights are getting it together, the season is cancelled, leaving the Knights at 1-5 on the season. Penn State is crowned national champions for some reason.

Most Likely Scenario: There is no football this season. While other squad lose their top performers, Rutgers has relatively fewer upperclassmen, and gains a competitive advantage which Zuzu will cover in detail. Schiano has another season of stirring the sleeping giant and 2021 is on like Donkey Kong.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Rutgers
RPO with IP? Yes.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Players to Watch

Offense: The offense should center around RB Isaih Pacheco, who is a beast that runs like a gazelle and trucks like a truck. Quite possibly the easiest guy to root for on the team, he stayed committed to the program between coaches and is poised to have a “Let’s Play on Sundays” type of season. No matter the state of the offense, Pacheco should have an amazing year, as he’s proven the ability to run behind an offensive line still struggling to find its footing (Michigan fans can confirm).

Ohio State v Rutgers
This dude can fly
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

A wide open QB battle pits the ultra-athletic and gutsy Johnny Langan, the strong-armed Artur Sitkowski and newcomers Noah Vedral from Nebraska and Peyton Powell from Baylor against each other. New OC Sean Gleeson wants a QB who can run and throw, so Sitkowski looks like a long-shot despite improving every year he’s been on the banks, with the other three more mobile QBs facing a clearer path to playing time.

Bo Melton returns vast potential, and Isaiah Washington brings big-plays along with big size to the wide receiver room. Behind Pacheco, Aaron Young and Kay’Ron Adams both have tons of upside. TEs Matt Alaimo and Jonathan Lewis could be huge parts of the offense, though how they will be incorporated into Gleeson’s offense is a bit of a mystery, as is the state of the O-Line.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Defense: Avery Young is a proven player, as is Trey Avery, with Ohio State transfer and 2018 Rose Bowl MVP Brendon White adding some serious talent to what should be a well-coached unit. Schiano and Fran Brown are both secondary-focused coaches and the expectation here is that this unit will lead the defense.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Tyshon Fogg is a heady and athletic linebacker who could make some noise if the tackles can keep him clean. Mike Tverdov plays hard and has talent, as does Tijaun Mason. Look for them to be active across a relatively young defensive line that has potential with incoming transfers with size and talent like Ireland Burke, Michael Dwumfour and Malik Barrow. If the line can hold up, the defense has a chance to be legitimately good.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams: Rutgers loses HOTY Finalist Cole Murphy, which is a big blow. Someone will need to step up in the meme department. Elsewhere, Justin Davidovicz is a strong kicker and Billy Taylor a similarly strong long snapper. However perhaps the best overall player on the team is mega-leg punter, Australian import, and folk hero Adam Korsak, he of 3 Ray Guy punter of the week awards last year. Look for Rutgers to play a lot of field position ball next year. It’s likely that Korsak will win the Knights at least one game single-leggedly.

Rutgers Introduces Greg Schiano
Did you know Greg Schiano was hired?
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Talking Points

Do Mention:

  • Greg Schiano
  • Pandemonium in Piscataway
  • Regional rivalries
  • Improved recruiting
  • We mentioned Greg Schiano right?
  • Fran Brown
  • The annual realization that Paul Robeson was even more amazing than we previously thought
  • Fat sandwiches
  • NJ’s low Covid case count
  • How awful Penn State is
  • 2021 football
  • Rutgers developing the Covid spit test

Don’t Mention:

  • 2019 March Madness (specifically the lack thereof)
  • 2019 football
  • 2018 football
  • Chris Ash (we love that guy but we all need to move on)
  • That you’re a knucklehead who doesn’t wear a mask
  • Anything about how Penn State is something other than trash

The Week Ahead

Monday: Cocktail Party, Why no 2020 season is good for Rutgers

Tuesday: Transfer Tuesday! What Transfers can make an immediate impact for Rutgers?

Wednesday: So we know about Schiano. What about the rest of the staff?

Thursday: Wild card

Friday: Rutgers Hate (lol everyone loves us this obviously is a myth)


When not writing about knights, I write about dinosaurs and augmented reality.

www.corayrseifert.com | @SeifertC