Week 1 is finally here for Rutgers football. The 2023 season kicks off on Sunday, September 3 at noon at SHI Stadium. The game will air on CBS and will be the only contest airing nationally in that time slot. It’s a showcase opportunity for the program. And in a Big Ten game, RU is the favorite.
According to Vegas Insider, Rutgers is currently listed as a 6.5 point favorite by multiple betting sites. The over/under is set at 40.5 points.
The Scarlet Knights are coming off a 4-8 campaign and return the third most production in the Big Ten. That stat is a bit misleading, but regardless this is a game that the Scarlet Knights should be favored.
Northwestern was 1-11 last season and will come to Piscataway after finishing a preseason mired in turmoil. Program legend and long time head coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired last month amidst a hazing scandal that has rocked the school. They’ll be lead by interim head coach David Braun and he’ll be helped by special assistant Skip Holtz, who has been a head coach at multiple stops.
It’s a game that Rutgers must win to have any hope of making a run to a bowl game. There are plenty of questions with this team and none more than around the offense. Even so, it’s the defense that will likely need to carry the load on Sunday to earn the win. Limiting the Wildcats through the air is a must.
While Northwestern hasn’t named a starting quarterback, it’s likely going to be Cincinnati transfer Ben Bryant under center. He threw for 2,731 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while completing 61.2% of his passes in 2022. Bryant suffered a season-ending foot injury after 11 starts in which he led Cincy to a 9-2 record and national ranking.
The Northwestern offense was bad last season, but still better than Rutgers was. Now both teams will likely be featuring new faces on Sunday.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if Rutgers covers the spread or not. It doesn’t have to be pretty or fun. Just win. The alternative would be a disastrous way to start the season. It’s a great opportunity to start the season not only on a positive note, but with a Big Ten victory and in front of a national television audience, no less. Six days until Sunday.
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