Big Ten Will Not Distract Rutgers Football

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers is heading to the Big Ten, per sources, but the football team could not care less right now. The Orange Bowl and a Big East title are the goals for this program and, on a roster filled with seniors, focusing on Pittsburgh can be the only concern.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Should Rutgers complete its goal of Big Ten membership in 2014 alongside Maryland, at least 32 members of the two-deep will no longer be a part of the program.

On a roster full of seniors, focusing on Pittsburgh is not an issue. Most of them will never play in the Big Ten anyway.

"The Big Ten is still going to be there, but our ultimate goal won't if we don't focus on beating Pitt," said senior receiver Mark Harrison. "We're maintaining all of our concentration on winning the Big East championship. I won't be here for any conference stuff and neither will most of our guys. But we can all be a part of history right now and reach that ultimate goal."

Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood addressed the issue with his team Sunday night after practice. As far as they are concerned, the Big Ten is a nonissue.

"I think coach Flood did a great job," said sophomore quarterback Gary Nova. "Yesterday, at the end of our little practice that we had, he addressed it and he said that it doesn't really matter right now. It has nothing to do with this team right now and that's for future Rutgers teams. Nobody's worried about it.

"This team is definitely focused on what we have to do now. We've been working so hard since the summer and since the spring. We're not going to let some talk about a conference get us off schedule."

Fifth-year senior linebacker Khaseem Greene, who is a focal leader within the program, said nothing to the team about conference affiliation.

As far as Greene is concerned, Flood addressed it already and focus is not a problem.

"We know what's at hand and we know what we have to play for," Greene said. "We know if we don't win this week, none of it is possible. We just have to focus on beating Pittsburgh and playing our hardest this week."

A win for Rutgers this week guarantees a share of the Big East title, something that has never been done on the Banks.

"We have 11 days left in our season," Flood said. "I think what I've said to the players is what I say to myself. We're going to control the things as a football program that we can control. And the only thing we can control this week is our performance against Pitt, so that's where we'll put our focus."

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