Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-4) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (6-6)
Dec. 30, 3:20 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Rutgers take from Big East blogger Andrea Adelson: You understand why there might not be a joyous celebration among Scarlet Knights fans today, despite a terrific turnaround from 4-8 last season to 8-4 and bowl team this season. Rutgers had a chance to clinch a share of their first Big East title in the regular-season finale. All they had to do was beat a UConn team with a losing record. But the Scarlet Knights had one mistake after another and lost 40-22, ending the season on a sour note. Still, that should not take away what was accomplished this year. After being selected in the preseason to finish last in the conference, Rutgers went 4-3 in Big East play -- posting a winning league record for the first time since 2008. Receiver Mohamed Sanu showed everybody just how special he is, shattering school and Big East single-season records with 109 receptions. Sixty-five of his 109 receptions have been for first downs, the second-highest total nationally. The defense, which featured significant player position changes, finished as the No. 1 group in the Big East. Khaseem Greene, moved from safety to middle linebacker, led the league with 127 tackles and is a leading candidate for Big East Defensive Player of the Year. There have been a few hiccups – coach Greg Schiano switched quarterbacks in the middle of the season, going with true freshman Gary Nova over starter Chas Dodd. But he went back to Dodd in the fourth quarter against USF, and he rallied the team to a win. Nova relieved Dodd against UConn, so it is uncertain who will start the bowl game. The offensive line was better, but the run game was not, averaging 2.6 yard per carry and 91.5 yards per game. Still, Rutgers made enough improvement this season that it was a Big East contender, and is now back in a bowl for the sixth time in seven seasons.