Big East: Rutgers title hopes run through Cincinnati
The Big East conference is winding down as NCAA football’s regular season approaches its last month of regular season games. This weekend is one of Rutgers’ biggest games in years as the Scarlet Knights face the Cincinnati Bearcats in Cincinnati.
The two teams are vying for the Big East conference title and it would be Rutgers’ first title in the conference. The two schools have only played 17 games head to head and the series is tied at 8-8-1. However, since the two schools have been in the Big East conference, Cincinnati has gotten the better of Rutgers 5-2.
Currently Rutgers leads the conference with an overall record of 8-1 and a conference record of 4-0. Cincinnati has an overall record of 7-2 and a conference record of 3-1.
At Cincinnati, Rutgers is only 1-6-1 SU with their lone win coming 25 years ago 10-7. The Scarlet Knights won last year’s matchup by the score of 20-3 on their home field, ending a winning streak for Cincinnati of five games.
This game has huge implications for Rutgers. If they win, they control their destiny in the conference in their quest for the conference title. If they win their last three outings, Rutgers also will get a berth in a BCS bowl game. If they win two of their last three, Rutgers will have at least a share of the conference title.
Jawan Jamison was hurt last week against Army and the loss of his running ability will hurt Rutgers against the Bearcats. He was averaging over 105 yards per game. He might not play at all, but if he does, his carries will be limited.
Defensively the Scarlet Knights are only allowing 13 points a game and in their four Big East games thus far having only given up a total of 41 points.
Rutgers this season has continued to run the ball on offense and bend but not break on defense. The players however, have committed too many penalties and that could haunt the team in today’s matchup.
Rutgers knows they have three tough games ahead of them. They cannot look ahead to Pittsburgh and then their season ending game versus Louisville. They need each game and if they lose today, their shot at playing in a BCS bowl could be lost.
The last three games for the Scarlet Knights are arguably the three toughest matchups they face all season. Rutgers has lost all of its matchups against Cincinnati, in Cincinnati since joining the Big East. They go into the game as the underdog, since they are on the road, and that will help them maintain their concentration for this game and not look ahead to Pittsburgh or Louisville.
Rutgers lost to Kent State and did not have a good offense game last week versus Army, but will be up for this matchup. The last three games the team has played were against mediocre teams and the way they played showed that. However, this stretch of three games is completely different and will determine if Rutgers will win their first Big East title or continue to be a team that losses when the game is on the line.
The Bearcats are favored by a touchdown. However, look for Rutgers to keep their title hopes alive with a well fought victory in Cincinnati today.