Best Case/Worst Case: Rutgers


Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Our look at each team's best and worst scenarios continues now with Rutgers. And remember, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Best Case

Rutgers has flown under the national radar a little bit this preseason, but this is a program that's gone to three straight bowl games and returns 15 starters. The defense brings back just about everybody and will be stout. Kordell Young, Mason Robinson and Jourdan Brooks combine to make up for Ray Rice's yards in the backfield, while Mike Teel throws for 3,300 yards again with Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood flying past cornerbacks. The Scarlet Knights get through a rugged opening two games against Fresno State and North Carolina (both at home) and cruise to a 4-0 start. They lose at West Virginia, but rebound to win three in a row before a showdown at South Florida. A triple overtime win breaks Rutgers' November Big East road curse, and an 11-1 finish earns the program its first BCS berth. The momentum revives the stadium expansion project, and coach Greg Schiano signs a 10-year extension. Bon Jovi writes a song about the season.

Worst Case

The revamped offensive line struggles, and the running backs, who haven't looked that impressive in practice, only make everyone appreciate Rice even more. Defenses tee off on the injury-prone Teel, who doesn't get through the season. The Scarlet Knights defense isn't much different than the one that couldn't stop Louisville, Connecticut or West Virginia a year ago. Fresno State pulls off the win in Piscataway, and Rutgers loses road games at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh as well as to West Virginia and South Florida. A 7-5 mark means a second straight trip to the International Bowl, and fans say no thanks to that Toronto trip. Joe Paterno finally retires at Penn State, and Greg Schiano leaves New Jersey to replace him. Bon Jovi breaks up.