Title Trek: Two BCS Bowls Remain in Play

Of countless Rutgers scenarios, the Big East and the postseason, three bowls stand out as likely destinations for the Scarlet Knights, but a fourth major bowl is also in the picture. The Orange Bowl will be in attendance Saturday at Rentschler Field to watch Rutgers fight for a share of the conference championship. ScarletReport.com spoke with multiple bowl representatives for the details.

In the BCS bowl picture, Rutgers may be more attractive than the public perceives it to be. Though the Orange Bowl makes the final pick of BCS teams throughout the five bowl games, Rutgers may no longer be available to pick should the school win the Big East bid, said vice president of communications Larry Wahl.

Because of multiple factors making the Scarlet Knights attractive on a national scale, Wahl said he could see the Sugar Bowl grabbing them before the Orange Bowl makes its pick.

"At this point, there's still a lot of teams and a lot of schools out there and possibilities to come to our game," Wahl said. "In Rutgers' case, to have a school like Rutgers if you haven't been to a BCS bowl game, that's usually a very exciting thing for the school. It usually brings a lot of excitement to the campus and the alumni. It usually bodes very well."

The Sugar Bowl may depend on matchups and how the national title game plays out. The Orange Bowl, however, sees many positives in potentially hosting Rutgers should the Scarlet Knights win the bid.

"South Florida and the New York/Metropolitan Area, obviously you have a lot of interaction," Wahl said. "There's a lot of people from the metropolitan area that come down during the year either to live or to vacation or whatever. I would think that a school like Rutgers would do very well."

Two Orange Bowl representatives will be in attendance at Rentschler Field, Wahl said, but there will be no invitation to the bowl game should Rutgers win and get help Friday.

The representatives are there to build relationships and hope to meet with University President Richard L. McCormick, athletic director Tim Pernetti and coach Greg Schiano.

"They're not necessarily looking at the team so much," Wahl said. "They don't operate as scouts. They're there really to build relationships. … Typically what happens at our meetings or at our visits is just talk a little bit and go through various items, various things to build the relationship between the organization and the bowl."

Wahl said one of the most successful Orange Bowls in recent history came when Wake Forest played Louisville. Both teams were in their first BCS bowl, like Rutgers would be.

The attractiveness of Rutgers trickles down to non BCS bowls as well.

Will Webb, executive director of the Belk Bowl, has been to Piscataway twice for games this year and said he would embrace getting Rutgers in Charlotte, N.C.

"Rutgers has always kind of been on our radar," Webb said. "We've never had them. This will be our 10th bowl game in Charlotte and one of these years we look forward to having them. … I've been there every year for the last several. It's a good crowd. It's a growing, fervent fan-base, which is what we're looking for and they're having a season."

If it comes down to Rutgers over West Virginia, the Scarlet Knights have an advantage based on a strong finish to the season.

Rutgers, with a win over Connecticut, finishes 4-0 with a big win over Cincinnati. West Virginia has ugly losses to Louisville and Syracuse in the last month, but can finish with three straight wins.

"In a bowl, you want somebody that's finished the season well and excited to be coming to your bowl respectively," Webb said. "You want somebody that has a good record. You want somebody that has got their fan-base fired up and will represent their school well."

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be in attendance Saturday and could extend an invitation to the Scarlet Knights if they lose to Connecticut, sources said.


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