That was the message Monday from Will Webb, the executive director of the Meineke Bowl, and it comes even in the aftermath of losing to Syracuse 31-13 on Saturday.
"Rutgers is very high on our list,'' Webb said. "We thought they were going to go up and beat Syracuse. They didn't. If they win their last two games, or if they can win one of them and stay respectable in the other, they will remain very high on our list.''
If Rutgers does not go the Meineke Bowl, sources said the St. Petersburg Bowl (Dec. 19) will push hard to get the Scarlet Knights.
However, Rutgers' best-case scenario is a possible matchup with North Carolina, coached by one of Schiano's mentors, Butch Davis.
If the Scarlet Knights (7-3, 2-3 Big East) beat Louisville on Friday and knock off West Virginia on Dec. 5, it could assure the Scarlet Knights a trip to Charlotte, N.C., regardless of the outcome of other Big East games.
"We've had our eye on Rutgers for several years,'' Webb said. "I think they would travel well, but they've got to finish their season with their fans fired up. That's a key. We don't want them to be disappointed. We want them fired up.''
Factors involving a few non-Big East teams could come into play.
If Notre Dame wins at Stanford to improve to 7-5, the Gator Bowl could take the Irish and cause the Big East lineup to reshuffle. Then, the conference's second-place team would likely slide to the Meineke, and could send Rutgers to the St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 19 against a Conference USA opponent.
Also, bowls don't like to bring the same team back in consecutive seasons, but circumstances could change regarding West Virginia.
If Florida State is the ACC representative, it would pit long-time Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden against the team he coached from 1970-75 before leaving for Tallahassee, Fla.
"We'd like to avoid (selecting a school two straight years), but if we get Florida State on the other side, wouldn't a Florida State- West Virginia matchup be very intriguing?'' Webb said. "There's so many things right now, it's hard to say. The good news is the Big East has ended the season very strong. They've got some very good teams going to bowls.''