It means a Rutgers win could still end with a trip to the St. Petersburg Bowl (Dec. 19), or even a return trip to the PapaJohns.com (Jan. 2) against an SEC team. The bowl landscape seems to be ever-changing, but right now it appears the International Bowl (Jan. 2) is not in play.
In discussing the bowl situation with sources, here is what is transpiring:
The committee is almost set on matching Florida State and outgoing coach Bobby Bowden against his former team, West Virginia, regardless of that the Mountaineers do against Rutgers since it will provide a sellout and a huge national television audience.
Rutgers needs to win, but also should root for a Cincinnati to beat Pittsburgh because if the Bearcats lose, the Meineke would be ready to scoop them up at 11-1 and drop the Scarlet Knights to a lower bowl since the Panthers would grab the BCS bid.
If Pittsburgh loses, its reputation for not traveling well, plus having lost its last two games, makes Rutgers the more attractive team.
It will be difficult for the Bearcats to slide into another BCS game because attendance and fan travel are a big part of it, and they brought so few fans to the Orange Bowl last season.
St. Petersburg Bowl
Central Flordia already accepted a bid, and is Rutgers' most realistic destination with a loss to West Virginia. It could also be where the Scarlet Knights end up if they beat West Virginia, but Cincinnati loses to the Pittsburgh.
There is talk of South Florida going to this bowl for a second straight year because that may be the only place the Bulls can sell tickets.
Pittsburgh seems destined for a matchup with an SEC team (Auburn is possible) in this bowl if the Panthers lose. Rutgers could still wind up in Birmingham, Ala., since it would be easy to sell the Scarlet Knights on playing an SEC team like Auburn. Conferences don't like to send the school to the same bowl two years in a row, but if Auburn was the opponent, that could change that thinking.
This has Connecticut written all over it, but with a twist. Since the Huskies were there last year and this is the final year of the Big East contract with the bowl, there are discussions about trading with Little Ceasars Bowl (formerly the Motor City Bowl).
South Florida could also end up here if it is bumped from the St. Petersburg Bowl, or may wind up traveling to the PapaJohns.com bowl if Cincinnati is in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Attacking the 3-3-5
One thing Rutgers offense will have to deal with this week is an unconventional West Virginia defensive alignment. The Mountaineers play a 3-3-5 (three linemen, three linebackers, five defensive backs), and bring pressure off the edge.
"We're not used to seeing this at all. It's something that's really different for us,'' Rutgers guard Desmond Wynn said. "We're in there watching film all day. After dinner, it's in to watch more film so I can get those mental reps I'm not getting on the field.''
Wynn, a red-shirt sophomore, said getting ready for Mountaineers in previous seasons will help this week.
"It's kind of like a review,'' Wynn said. "You just refresh.''
However, Schiano added defensive end Justin Francis (leg) remains out, and his status for West Virginia is uncertain.