Scarlet Knights Facing Central Florida on December 19th
Piscataway, N.J. (Sunday, December 6, 2009) – For the fifth consecutive year and sixth time in program history, Rutgers University is going bowling. The Scarlet Knights formally accepted a bid today to play the University of Central Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl on December 19th, leaving head coach Greg Schiano and his team little time to prepare for the upcoming postseason match-up.
“I didn’t see this coming, so to be frank, I don’t have a schedule yet,” Schiano admitted tonight regarding the unexpected bowl destination of his program. “It’s a little different than last year because it really amounts to about a bye week with preparation. We’re going to play in no time flat.”
The Scarlet Knights had an apparent opportunity to play in the Meineke Car Bowl coming into a weekend contest with West Virginia this past Saturday, but that loss coupled with a losing effort by Pittsburgh in its pairing with Big East champion Cincinnati dropped Rutgers to the second-year St. Petersburg Bowl.
“If we had won more games, then it wouldn’t be a situation where you have to worry,” Schiano continued. “Right now, we are who we are. I’m not ashamed of who we are. I think we’re growing. We’re going to become great. Right now, we’re not great.”
In all actuality, the biggest obstacle for the Scarlet Knights may not be their opposition in 13 days. The date of the St. Petersburg Bowl, which starts on the first day of the NCAA bowl schedule, comes right in the middle of final exams at Rutgers. Schiano and his coaching staff are also in the middle of recruitment for next season, something that will cause the program to jump major hurdles and in a hurry.
“Academics: there are challenges with final exams and papers and things,” Schiano said. “Recruiting: we’re finishing up recruiting this weekend. We actually have recruits in here right now. We actually have coaches that are on the road this week, so we’re going to have to make some adjustments.”
The Scarlet Knights are currently riding a three-game bowl winning streak and the four consecutive postseason trips have come after Rutgers had only a single appearance in the 1978 Garden State Bowl on its resume. The Scarlet Knights are only one of nine programs that have won three straight bowl games and will look to make it four in a row following the 8:00 p.m. kick off against the Golden Knights on December 19th at Tropicana Field.