Big things were expected of Rutgers. All five starting members of the offensive line were back from a team that won its final seven games in 2008, including a 29-23 victory over North Carolina State in the Pizza Bowl.
Although the Scarlet Knights are 2-1, the victories were against lightweights Florida International and Division I-AA Howard. The game fans can't forget is the home opener against Big East rival Cincinnati. Rutgers was demolished, 47-15, a loss that sent coach Greg Schiano's stock to new lows.
Schiano, in his ninth season, has coached 100 games at Rutgers. Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger wonders if Schiano can elevate the program to a higher level.
He writes: "Rutgers is still waiting, and for the first time, patience is running low. It isn't just the diehards who are frustrated, but the casual fans who just hopped on the bandwagon. This team was picked by many to win the league; instead, another 8-4 record and a minor bowl looks more likely.
"People expected better, and Schiano failed to deliver. Soon they’ll demand it. And then? They’ll stop caring.
"Out of his 100 games, one is truly a transcendent win, the thriller against Louisville in 2006, and maybe three or four others are legitimately big. More are like the Cincinnati game, or North Carolina and Fresno State a year ago, or Villanova and New Hampshire from the early days of his tenure."
Politi closes with this: "Schiano, the program builder, needed 100 games to get Rutgers to this point. It won't take nearly as many games to know if Schiano, the football coach, can take this program any farther."