In November 2012, it was announced that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights would leave the Big East and join the Big Ten Conference in the 2014-2015 academic year.
Rutgers is the 14th member of the conference and plays in the Leaders Division, consisting of Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Penn State, and now RU. The move to the famed conference comes after years of success in athletics in the Big East for the Scarlet Knights.
The entrance to the Big Ten conference marks one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college sports. The Rutgers University football program is one of the most historic programs in the country. In 1869, the Scarlet Knights defeated Princeton in the first ever inter-collegiate football game.
Rutgers is “the birthplace of college football,” but after 1869 not much success followed the team.
In 2002, the Scarlet Knights finished the season with a 1-11 record under Coach Greg Schiano. However, in the following years there were major improvements to the facilities, recruiting, and coaching, and surprisingly, Schiano started to win.
By the end of the 2012 season, the Rutgers team had gone to six bowl games in the prior seven seasons and Schiano had left New Brunswick to become the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In the span of ten years, Rutgers transformed from the team finishing at the bottom of the Big East to a team entering one of the most prestigious conferences in college football. On July 1, 2014, Rutgers officially became a member of the Big 10 Conference.
The move to the Big Ten is beneficial for all parties involved. Rutgers gets more interest from recruits, more publicity, and more money. The Big Ten is exposed to one of the largest media markets in the world in New York, which is just an hour away from New Brunswick, New Jersey.
In the 2014 season, Rutgers plays against Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan State, Maryland, and Nebraska in Big Ten play. The number of season ticket holders has drastically increased this year due to the more competitive opponents Rutgers will be facing.
Rutgers faced Penn State in its first ever Big 10 game on September 13, 2014. The game was sold out, and as an attendant of the game, the atmosphere was unbelievable. I have never heard High Point Solutions Stadium that loud.
Unfortunately, the Scarlet Knights fell to the Nittany Lions with a final score of 13-10. Although, Rutgers lost, the defeat was encouraging, as many believed that Rutgers would not be able to compete with other Big Ten teams. Rutgers proved that even if they cannot get the final score to be in their favor, they can definitely compete against these famed teams.
Due to the new move to a storied conference, Rutgers will be in the news a lot more in the upcoming years. New Jersey, welcome to the Big Ten.