St. Petersburg Bowl: Rutgers (8-4) vs. Central Florida (8-4)
Dec. 19, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Rutgers is proof that you can schedule your way to a bowl, as six of the Scarlet Knights' victories came against Howard, Florida International, Texas Southern, Army, Maryland and Louisville.
Yet there's little doubt that this team was improving as the year went along. That should have been expected since the Scarlet Knights were starting true freshman Tom Savage at quarterback, and one of their best weapons was Savage's classmate, Mohamed Sanu. Their development -- and particularly Sanu's added spark as a runner out of the Wildcat formation -- helped a rudimentary offense find its legs.
In Central Florida, Rutgers finds a team that's capable of scoring in bunches -- the other Knights averaged 40 points in their last three games, including a win over Houston. But Greg Schiano's array of confusing blitz schemes can often rattle players and teams who haven't seen it before. Central Florida will have less than two weeks to prepare for it.
The short turnaround also throws into question whether Rutgers wideout Tim Brown -- one of the Big East's best receivers and the team's lone true deep threat -- will be ready in time. Brown re-aggravated a sprained left ankle on Saturday against West Virginia and was not able to contribute. Without him, the Scarlet Knights may have to rely on their special teams and defense to help out in the scoring department, something that's happened with great frequency this season.