Ohio State somehow went 124 seasons without playing one of the participants in college football’s first game, but that terrible void has been filled for the foreseeable future thanks to the newest Big Ten division alignment. That means the program's first ever trip to scenic Piscataway, N.J., to take on a team ranked by Phil Steele as the 60th-best in the country and by ESPN as No. 80 nationally.
Rutgers went bowling last season, but blowout losses against the best teams it faced painted a pretty clear picture of the current level of the program. There are a few bright spots on the roster and road games don't always go smoothly, but it's hard to imagine anything other than a decisive Ohio State win in the mold of last season's triumph.
No. 8: Rutgers
Nickname: Scarlet Knights
Conference: Big Ten
Stadium: High Point Solutions Stadium (52,454)
Head coach: Kyle Flood (fourth year, 23-16)
Record against Ohio State: 0-1 (56-17 in 2014)
Returning starters: five offense, five defense
2014 record: 8-5 (3-5 Big Ten)
Scout.com recruiting rankings: No. 52 (2015), No. 55 (2014), No. T-31 (2013), No. T-31 (2012), No. 30 (2011)
Who to watch: WR Leonte Carroo, LB Steve Longa, DT Darius Hamilton, DE Kemoko Turay, KR Janarion Grant
Why This Matchup Could Be Higher:
This will be the first time in program history Ohio State visits Rutgers. If you’re into crossing stadiums off bucket lists, this is one of only two first-time visits (the other being Virginia Tech) on this year’s schedule.
Why This Matchup Could Be Lower:
Uniqueness doesn’t necessarily guarantee excitement. Rutgers offers a change of scenery for the Buckeyes, but it’s also the likeliest team to finish last in the Big Ten East this season. Its supporters can point to the program’s eight wins last season, but four of those were by a touchdown or less whereas four of its five losses came by a 180-44 margin. In short, the Scarlet Knights appear to be nowhere close to beating the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State. Factor in the loss of quarterback Gary Nova and back-to-back mediocre recruiting classes, and it could be a rough season in Piscataway, N.J.