2018 Rutgers Scarlet Knights Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 4-8
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 3.5
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
I am physically incapable of feeling bad for anyone or anything from New Jersey. I just can't do it. So even though I want to feel bad for Rutgers, a grease-stained pock on the ass of the Big Ten, I just can't do it.
The Scarlet Knights have won just seven of 34 conference games since joining the Big Ten prior to the 2014 season. They've won just six games since hiring Chris Ash two years ago - with two of those wins coming against FCS opponents - and this year Rutgers will try to throw punches in what is by far and away the best division in college football. They can't compete. No way, no how.
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However, if you are looking for a sneaky-good team against the spread, I think that the Scarlet Knights are going to be just good enough to beat some inflated spreads while being just bad enough not to arouse attention from anyone outside of sportsbooks across the country.
Ash is in his third year at the helm in New Brunswick. These are his players, specifically recruited to fit his system. So now it is time to find out if this guy has any idea what he is doing. Rutgers is not a small school (65,000 students), and New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania is not bereft of football talent. So it is time for Rutgers to put up or shut up.
The Scarlet Knights are in desperate need of a quarterback. I can't stress their desperation enough. They will likely turn to Artur Sitkowski, a three-star prospect and freshman. But there is no telling how steep his learning curve is going to be. And he has next to no one to throw to. Rutgers' leading receiver had just 28 catches and one touchdown last year.
Rutgers lost their top two rushers. But they picked up grad transfer Jon Hillman, a former starter and workhorse at Boston College. He will run behind a young offensive line.
Considering what little help it got from the offense last year, Rutgers defense wasn't all that bad. They allowed 28 points per game, but that was nearly a 10-point drop from the 2016 unit. Ash has eight starters back, including his entire secondary and a pair of four-year starters in corner Blessuan Austin and safety Saquan Hampton. If this team keeps going in the right direction then they will be a lot more competitive.
The Scarlet Knights went 8-4 against the spread last year despite being outscored by an average of 10 points per game. That is what little respect the books have for this group. But this 3.5 win total is one of the lowest in the country and a sign that maybe the books and the general public are still underestimating this group.
Rutgers actually has four winnable games in the first month of the season. They open against Texas State and then have to go get slaughtered by Ohio State in their Week 2 Big Ten opener. But then things open up a little. Rutgers goes to Kansas before hosting Buffalo, Indiana and Illinois. They also have a road game at Maryland, a team they beat last fall.
The Scarlet Knights won't win a game after Halloween. They close at Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and at Michigan State. So to beat this line they will have to get off to a hot start. As long as they don't get too beat up or too demoralized by a likely 40-point loss at Ohio State then I think that Rutgers has enough to cobble together four wins and top this number.
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