College Football 77 in 77: #63 Rutgers Scarlet Knights


snooks
It’s a “Jersey thing” right? I’m SO GLAD the “Jersey Shore” trend is dying out. Haven’t we spent enough time glorifying the lowest elements of our society? I bet the fan base, faculty, students and alumni of New Jersey’s state University hate those guidoes and guidettes besmirching the state’s name too.

Imagine if you’re from Jersey, and when you travel, people ask you where you’re from, what likely gets said first?

Putty from “Seinfeld” was a much better cultural ambassador. He loved his hockey as much as he loved talking in 5 words or less increments: “WE’RE THE DEVILS!”

As for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights themselves, last year was a big step backward, as they missed a bowl game for the first time in six years. In the past decade, this college football program has taken a leap. To show that the change is here to stay, they’ll need to bounce back to a bowl in 2011. If the nation’s worst offensive line shows any substantial improvement, and the new stud RB in town is legit, then it could happen. After all, they do play in the Big Least, where wins aren’t all that difficult to come by.

2010 was: meh to atrocious (4-8, 1-6). The defense looked pretty good for most of the year, but then collapsed and gave up 144 points and 1,611 yards in the final three games. In other words, they looked like Snooki’s face for the final three. The OL was a sick joke, and as hard to watch as the time J Woww peed in the middle of that bar room floor.  They allowed a NCAA record 61 sacks, and the running game was a horrendous 110th. This made the entire offensive numbers look ugly: 101st in scoring, 114th in total yards.

BMOCs: Savon Huggins, the blue chip running back who turned down Auburn, Notre Dame and Michigan State to stay home, the first #1 rated recruit in NJ to ever sign with Rutgers, QB Chas Dodd is young, but ready. And a verstaile weapon. WRs Mohammed Sanu and Mark Harrison are as good as you’ll find in the Big East.

2011 will be fruitful if: The Scarlet Knights defense finds some stars to support DT Scott Valone, one of the best around. The OL also needs to make sure Dodd stays upright, and healthy. There are no experienced back-ups at the game’s most important position in Jersey. TE D.C. Jefferson could play a crucial role, and I hope so- because that’s another name that’s really fun to say.

2011 will be awful if: New offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti can’t find some answers up front. The OL was very bad at run-blocking in 2010. Also, quite bad at pass blocking. Otherwise they were just fine.

Bottom Line: The defense made a lot of position changes, and shifted some returning starters to new positions. The emphasis is on speed and athleticism. Will it pay off? Well, there were some bold moves, but the situations required bold answers. And it can’t hurt to try and fix those issues. A 6 win season really seems doable.

CHECK OUT THE REST OF MY 77 IN 77s

#64 Kentucky Wildcats

#65 Tulsa Golden Hurricane

#66 Navy Midshipmen

#67 Toledo Rockets

#68 Duke Blue Devils

#69 UCLA Bruins

#70 Nevada Wolfpack

#71 Ole Miss Rebels

#72 Hawaii Warriors

#73 Colorado Buffaloes

#74 NIU Huskies

#75 Army Black Knights

#76 Indiana Hoosiers

#77 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter

 

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