When last we left the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, they were doing a splendid impersonation of a MAC school, and not one of the good MAC schools. In fact, there was some question whether they were, in fact, actually impersonating a MAC school, given that their impersonation looked a lot more like an FCS school.
And not one of the good ones there, either.
This will happen when you lose to Ohio State 58-0 one week, and then turn around and lose to Michigan 78-0 the next week. It was almost as if, having been roadworked by the Buckeyes, the Scarlet Knights said, "What you mean we're not that bad? Watch this!"
And off they went to get Big Housed at home.
And if you're asking now, as many people are, what the hell Rutgers is doing playing Michigan and Ohio State instead of, say, Elon University, you must have fallen asleep back in 1952. Rutgers is playing Michigan and Ohio State because, even though it doesn't remotely resemble a Big Ten football program, it happens to be located in the right place. Which is to say, where the money is.
It's an East Coast school, which means, by signing it, the Big Ten Network gained access to the cash-heavy New York and New Jersey markets. Adding Maryland, another Big Ten outlier, enabled the conference to tap into the D.C. market as well.
Does it matter that Rutgers has no business playing football in the Big Ten? Or that Maryland, geographically, traditionally and in every other way, fits the Big Ten the way a giraffe fits the North Pole?
No, it does not. What matters is the money. There's only one stream that flows through high-end college athletics, and that's the revenue stream.
I know. Surprise, surprise.
I also know, because of that obvious fact, that Rutgers could go on to lose 78-0 every week, and the Big Ten wouldn't give a hoot. This is not about the quality of the product or the legitimacy of the competition, after all. That might have been true once upon a time, but it isn't now.
Almost makes you wish you had fallen asleep back in 1952. And didn't wake up.