After two straight drubbings at the hands of Cincinnati and Louisville, the Rutgers football team arguably does not have anything left to play for in 2010. They were eliminated from bowl eligibility last week with a humiliating home loss to Louisville. They could earn back some pride and respect with an upset at West Virginia, but there is a fat chance of that happening (unless Coach Bill Stewart gives away the game, which is always a possibility). No, all Rutgers fans can look forward to now is for the season to mercifully come to an end, so they can look to 2011 with a clean slate.
Coach Greg Schiano clearly will need to do major housecleaning on the offensive side of the ball, with co-offensive coordinators Kirk Ciarrocca and Kyle Flood both likely scapegoats for this season's miserable performance. The team's offense tanked over the past few years following the departure of former coordinator John McNulty to the NFL and a schematic switch to more of a spread look on offense. The best hope for a quick turnaround next season will be for Rutgers to go after a high-profile offensive coordinator candidate who will bring back the pro-style offense back to Piscataway.
If you watch Saturday's likely bloodbath, the only real intrigue with the contest will be with RU's ability to play spoiler with the Big East championship at stake. Quarterback Chas Dodd could be sacked upwards of 10 times, and numerous Scarlet Knights like Mohamed Sanu and Joe Martinek have been battling injuries all season long. If they want to make a BCS game, West Virginia needs to both win and hope for a USF victory on Saturday. They Mountaineers do not control their own destiny, and even with a victory will not know their bowl fate until late into the night.
2011 has been a transition year for the Mountaineers. They have an excellent defense, but their offense has been transitioning away from the spread-option towards more of a passing attack under second-year QB Geno Smith. Noel Devine's carries have dropped, but Smith does not lack for weapons with speedy receivers Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders. Their offensive line has struggled, but not nearly to the extent of the horror show that has been Rutgers over the past two years.
This should be a total victory lap for West Virginia.
West Virginia hosts Rutgers this Saturday at noon. The game will be televised live on ABC.