Big Ten nation has its preconceptions of what Rutgers represents. Some are true. Some are not. With less than a day until the move becomes official, we take a look at some ways Rutgers can surprise Big Ten fans in 2014.
5. The Real New Jersey -- Guess what? New Jersey is a lot more than fist pumps, spray tans, industrial waste and organized crime. When Big Ten fans come to New Jersey for sporting events, they are going to leave with a very different impression of the Garden State. They may not enjoy the jug-handle turns or gas station procedure, but your average Big Ten fan will leave with a new-found respect for diners. Rutgers in the Big Ten will help many first-time visitors shake the New Jersey stereotype.
4. Wrestling -- Rutgers is slowly developing as a big-time wrestling program, and coach Scott Goodale continues to lead the Scarlet Knights in the right direction since taking over in 2007. He sent shockwaves through the wrestling community by bringing assistant coach Donny Pritzlaff back to his home state, and has an incredible stable of young talent. The Big Ten is the John Cena of wrestling conferences, but Rutgers is not far away from becoming a main-eventer.
3. Women's Basketball -- Head coach C. Vivian Stringer has a new contract, and has shown passion in speaking about the future of the program in a new conference. Last year's young roster, WNIT champs, is now a group of veterans. Rutgers is used to head-to-head battles with Connecticut, Notre Dame, Louisville and the rest of the best in the nation, and the RAC can still be a secret weapon for first-time visitors.
2. Florida Speed -- When it comes to football, Rutgers has been quietly stockpiling young, Florida athletes. Highlighted by sophomore receiver Janarion Grant, young Rutgers Floridians have had their eyes on Big Ten competition and cannot wait to showcase their athletic abilities. Rutgers has 13 players on its 2014 roster from the Sunshine State, which is most of anyone in its division.
1. Ratings -- This will not be a surprise to any of the decision-makers that targeted Rutgers in the first place, but the average Big Ten fan will be shocked at the buzz that Rutgers can bring to the conference when things are done right.
The 2006 and 2007 Rutgers teams brought major ratings and noise across the country. With a Big Ten schedule, Rutgers football has many more opportunities to make noise in the most densely populated area of the country.