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Rutgers football’s 2023 schedule ranked one of the hardest in FBS



Sep 24, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Leshon Williams (4) is tackled by Rutgers Scarlet Knights linebacker Tyreem Powell (22) and defensive back Christian Izien (0) during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Playing in the Big Ten East has always mean that Rutgers is going to play one of the most difficult schedules on an annual basis. The 2023 season is par for the course. Despite multiple winnable home games in September and October, the Scarlet Knights will still face an uphill battle in the fall. Analytics state as much aside from the eye test.

ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) came out last week. The predictive metrics system listed Rutgers has having the ninth most difficult schedule in the country for 2023. They are set to face three team ranked in the FPI top ten and no surprise, all reside in the Big Ten East. Ohio State is No. 1, Michigan is No. 6 and No. 10 is Penn State. Only the Buckeyes game is home. In addition, Rutgers will travel to No. 20 Wisconsin and No. 37 Iowa, while hosting No. 31 Michigan State and No. 44 Maryland.

The FPI highlights the importance of Rutgers having a fast start in September. With its first three games at home, they are as close to must wins for the first month of the season as possible if a winning campaign is to be achieved. RU hosts No. 67 Northwestern, No. 110 Temple and No. 63 Virginia Tech. For context, Rutgers is ranked No. 78 by the FPI, so by no means should these games be considered easy.

Rutgers is predicted to have a 4-8 record and given just a 12% chance to win at least six games next season by the FPI. Most fans who voted in our recent poll agreed. Out of 1,144 votes, only 18.3% thought Rutgers would win at least six games in the fall. Hopefully, the Scarlet Knights can exceed those expectations.

Of the top ten hardest schedules, it is an even split between the Big Ten and SEC. Other league foes in the top ten include No. 2 Minnesota, No. 4 Maryland, No. 7 Michigan State, and No. 10 Indiana. Obviously, all of those teams except for the Gophers play in the Big Ten East. It’s been said before but the potential for the league to drop divisions after this season would be beneficial. With UCLA and USC joining the Big Ten in 2024, it is an option. Regardless, Rutgers has to face the harsh reality of moving up the league standings with a difficult schedule once again.

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