We're winding down the the 2014-2015 athletic calendar, which makes this a good time to take a peak and see how the two newest members of the Big Ten, Maryland and Rutgers, did in their first season. Maryland's football debut wasn't amazing, but the team has won multiple conference titles in their first year of Big Ten play, and is likely to win a few more this spring.
Rutgers on the other hand, has not. Nobody expected Rutgers to win a Big Ten title in football or seriously contend for much of anything in basketball. But how did they do in everything else? Not great. Let's take a look. All standings up to date as of April 18:
I won't pretend to be an aficionado of college men's soccer, but I know enough to figure out this isn't very good, especially since the only team the Scarlet Knights were able to beat was Wisconsin, who beat exactly nobody in Big Ten play.
This is one of the big bright spots for Rutgers athletics. Not only did they crack the top four of the conference, but they also made the NCAA Tournament, and even won a game.
So, an under .500 total record, second to last place in the conference, and they only beat the teams worse than them. Not a good showing.
Not sure how hard to beat up Rutgers here, since historically, this isn't a terrible program, and the Big Ten is crazy competitive. Still, a 2-7 record and a 10th place finish isn't very good.
Yes, they beat the national runners up, but they also lost to a school called the Peacocks, and were absolutely noncompetitive night after night. With the school lacking a quality facility, compared to the rest of the conference, coupled with the depth of coaching talent, I don't see any way this changes dramatically in the near future. Rutgers is really bad at basketball, and will probably stay that way.
The good news is that Rutgers is basically pretty decent at women's basketball. A perfectly respectable finish here, including an NCAA bid and a first round victory. That's good news, for what is probably the strongest program at Rutgers. However, after the Scarlet Knights lost to UConn, head coach Vivian Stringer slammed the school on the state of their facilities, and these remarks aren't going to build a lot of confidence about the future of the program.
0-20 in conference. Again, this is a conference full of powerhouse programs, but they didn't win a single game.
Again, I understand that this is a difficult conference, but you can't do much worse than last place and winless in your conference.
Okay, so maybe the fall and winter were tough for Rutgers. But what about the spring? Maybe they're just some late bloomers. What about lacrosse? They play lacrosse pretty well in the northeast, right?
Rutgers still has to play Penn State, so they have a chance at at least avoiding the basement, but it's hard to argue that this has been anything other than a disappointing result. the Scarlet Knights also still have to face Ohio State.
That's even worse.
So, this is average. Rutgers doesn't have an especially difficult schedule to close out the year, so there is a chance they can creep into that top four (or at the very least, hold serve in the top half of the league), but you never know.
We're starting to sense a bit of a pattern here. Again, not just last place. But completely winless in Big Ten play.
And finally, baseball.
So to recap, not only did Rutgers fail to capture a single league title in their first season, they haven't even come close, only cracking the top four in two sports. Rutgers finished (or is currently ranked) last or second to last in an astonishing eight sports. Their football program was their best male team sport, and they didn't crack the top six of the conference. Rutgers has been uniformly terrible at nearly every level.
Plus, not only has Rutgers been awful on the field, those mid-week flights from places like Nebraska and Iowa to New Jersey are probably just awesome for student athletes, right Delany?
But hey, TV sets. Location. National brand. Enjoy those hypothetical Nielsen ratings the next time you have to watch a terrible Rutgers sporting event in the near future.