Yes, it’s impressive that Schiano’s Knights held the powerful Brian Brohm-led Cardinal offense to 25 points overall and forced seven straight punts in the second half. However, one has to wonder how Louisville became the second-ranked offense in the country. Yes, Rutgers is 9-0, but how did they get there in the first place? The answer to both questions is the same: Rutgers, Louisville, and West Virginia haven’t played anyone of consequence. Let’s take a look at their schedules, shall we?
Rutgers’ opponents have a collective record of 42-40, but their nonconference wins were over 1-8 UNC, 2-8 Illinois, 7-3 Ohio, and 3-6 I-AA Howard. The only respectable team they have played so far is Louisville. Louisville’s opponents are 47-35 and played more teams from major conferences than the other two. Miami was considered a big win early on, but the Hurricanes don’t look so good any more. So the Cardinals are left with big games against…Rutgers and West Virginia. West Virginia’s opponents are 35-38, and the Mountaineers did handle 7-2 Maryland. However, Louisville is the only other team that is worthy of serious consideration.
Here’s Chris Fowler praying that I wouldn’t expose ESPN’s defense of the Big East as unreasonable. Nice try, Chris.
Even if Rutgers had a halfway respectable schedule, I seriously doubt they could muscle their way to second place of the undefeated/one-loss heap. Texas A&M doesn’t have the defense to stop Texas in Austin, and the Longhorns won’t lose to the Big 12 North champion, either. Florida, Arkansas, and Auburn are in a weird SEC triangle that will produce at least one one-loss team. Since those four teams are all above Rutgers in the BCS standings, even a decisive victory at West Virginia couldn’t put the Knights into the title game. And I didn’t even mention the possibility of an Ohio State/Michigan rematch.
They haven’t been as dominant in the ACC, but the departure of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College left the Big East with nothing more than a few posers and a bunch of nobodies. If you look at their records, Rutgers, Louisville, and West Virginia don’t look so great after all.