Will Rutgers football exceed its win total projection for 2023?
Last week, multiple betting sites released their over/under win projections for Big Ten football next season. The old saying about “Vegas” always knowing could apply to how Rutgers is projected for the 2023 campaign. Caesars has the Scarlet Knights over/under for wins set at 4.5. After a 4-8 finish in 2022 following a 5-8 record in 2021, plenty of questions remain heading into the fall.
(Editor’s Note: Draft Kings released projections as well but cannot include Rutgers due to being located in New Jersey).
In fact, I polled Rutgers fans on Twitter right before the Caesars projections came out. And the majority of votes were project either 4 or 5 wins for RU next season.
Following spring camp, what is your current projection for Rutgers football next season?
— Aaron Breitman (@aaron_breitman) May 3, 2023
I admit I was surprised that out of 1,144 votes, 81.7% project Rutgers football to have a losing season in 2023. One Rutgers fan pointed out to me that other fan bases could be voting. This is true. However, I don’t think that accounts for much of the overall vote. Bear in mind most other fans around the Big Ten that do follow me on Twitter and typically very supportive of RU, at least in messages and replies that I’ve received.
Are the most optimistic fans losing some hope entering Greg Schiano’s fourth season? Obviously this is a small sample size of the entire fan base, but in the past I’ve seen more positive responses and polling overall. It will be interesting to monitor the pulse of the fan base in September based on results.
The bottom line is there are just too many questions on the offensive side of the ball for most fans to have confidence that Rutgers will have a winning campaign in the fall. Many of these questions were pondered following the Scarlet-White Game just over a week ago. Will Gavin Wimsatt emerge at quarterback? Can the running back group be a position of strength? Will RU find enough production in the current receiving group or will they add 1-2 wideouts through the transfer portal?
It is also fair to wonder how special teams will be? With the great Adam Korsak gone as well as returner Aron Cruickshank, two key roles need to be filled.
The one area most fans are confident in is the defense being solid and also taking some level of step forward next season.
Spring camp is over but Rutgers has plenty of work to do this offseason before training camp begins in August. In addition to the portal, building for the future with the 2024 recruiting class is obviously key as well. The program had several positive developments from this past weekend.
Rutgers has a real opportunity to start the 2023 strong with consecutive home games against Northwestern, Temple and Virginia Tech. Can they take advantage and fast track their chances to the program’s first winning season since 2014? Only time will tell, but for now both fans and the oddsmakers are not confident it will happen.
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May 8, 2023 at 11:00 am
“…The bottom line is there are just too many questions on the offensive side of the ball for most fans to have confidence that Rutgers will have a winning campaign in the fall…”.
Until and unless a Schiano-lead team figures out how to develop “raw” QBs, it is unreasonable to expect a different outcome. Focusing on the transfer portal for more experienced QB talent has moved the needle in the past, acknowledging this deficiency by making it plan A would be an important first step forward. As we saw at OSU, Greg has a great defensive mind, is an effective recruiter, inspires young players, but when Urban Meyer left, so did Greg when the the job went to the OC.
May 8, 2023 at 3:41 pm
It really comes down to OL, doesn’t it? Last season’s 3-0 start gave cause for optimism that the perhaps the OL transfers could improve the OL as the season progressed. Then the Big ten schedule began and we saw just how much work still needs to be done. So, here we are again. I want to believe that the new offensive coaching staff knows how to coach through the problems and we’ll actually see the offense improve – just not enough maybe to be meaningful in terms of wins. So, 4/5 wins along with real signs of offensive improvement (OL & QB improvement) is a minimum expectation on my part. What maintains my optimism is my believe that there’s more real talent on this roster, particularly young talent. How much and how quickly they develop will determine this season in terms of wins, in my opinion.
May 9, 2023 at 6:52 am
I was not a poll participant. Had I been I’d probably have been in the 13%. I expect us to win every game, but the reality of our maturity and the brutal schedule takes 2-3 of those games out of the win category with hopes of ‘respectable losses’.
The spring game did not dampen my optimism. The conditions were very poor. I still think Wimsatt will be named the starter later in fall camp. With Young, Brown and Monangai in the backfield an o-line that looked much improved and a solid defense I remain hopeful. We certainly have gaps and holes to fill. Whether players fill them the old-fashioned way by developing or the staff uses the portal judiciously remains to be seen.
I do think that some fans are losing confidence in Coach Schiano. We live in an era of instant everything. I’ve been very critical of Coach Schiano at times mostly because of his inability to grow with the times and insistence on controlling everything from the shape of his block R to the media. I wanted a QB starter named in the spring. With the benefit of observing one practice and the spring game which I’ve rewatched in slow motion I think we either have two good QBs or we’re in for a frustrating season. I still believe we’ll achieve at least 6-7 or 7-6 depending on which bowl and opponent.
Aaron, I don’t know how you continue to crank out such timely, high-quality articles week after week. You win the (not very prestigious) Henry Rutgers award for journalism.