Much depends on how the Big East games this weekend play out but Rutgers remains a top target of the Pinstripe Bowl, should the school still be available when the selection committee picks fourth among Big East bowls, sources said.
"We are still looking at Rutgers," said Belk Bowl executive director Will Webb.
Rutgers remains a target for the Belk Bowl for multiple reasons, including an expected buzz from the fan base and the fact that the Scarlet Knights have never played in the game.
"Rutgers has always kind of been on our radar," Webb said last week. "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."
The Belk Bowl pits Big East against ACC with eight total schools being considered for the two spots, Webb said.
In the ACC, the committee is looking at Virginia, N.C. State, Wake Forest and North Carolina. Rutgers, Cincinnati and Louisville are all being considered from the Big East, along with West Virginia should the Mountaineers not go to the BCS, Webb said.
The issue in picking Big East and ACC foes is avoiding a regular-season rematch. That makes Rutgers an unlikely choice if UNC goes to the Belk Bowl and possibly N.C. State as well after the two squared off recently in the PapaJohns.com Bowl.
Cincinnati played N.C. State this year as well.
"[Rematches] are something we consider very carefully when looking at a bowl," Webb said. "It's something we look at."
The Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, which remains the favorite for Rutgers to play its postseason game, pits the Big East against the seventh selection out of the Big 12. Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri and Iowa State are all possibilities, sources said, but Missouri is the leading contender for now.
The new Meineke Car Care Bowl, formerly the Texas Bowl, picks before the Pinstripe Bowl and is expected to end up with either Texas or Texas A&M.
Much depends on the way the weekend plays out, but Rutgers' best shot at the Belk Bowl involves any scenario that puts West Virginia in the BCS.