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The Flood Era Starts At Rutgers

By AP
Associated Press
Posted Aug 18, 2012


With Schiano gone, the Flood era begins at Rutgers.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Before leaving to become coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Schiano took Rutgers from the basement of the Big East to a program that played in bowls in six of his final seven seasons.
 
Thanks to that table setting, the Kyle Flood era will begin in two weeks with some promise. In fact, this might just be the Scarlet Knights' best chance to win the conference crown and qualify for the Bowl Championship Series for the first time.
 
While this team doesn't have a Ray Rice to lead them, Rutgers returns 16 starters from a team that exceeded expectations with a 9-4 record and a fourth-place conference finish, capped by a win in the Pinstripe Bowl.
 
Picked to finish third in the preseason poll behind Louisville and South Florida, Rutgers is looking for more.
 
''My freshman year in 2009, I thought we had a very talented team that underachieved,'' senior safety Duron Harmon said. ''This year, the talent across the board that we have is amazing. You don't see this type of talent every day. I think we can compete with anyone in the country. We know what's out there for us if we play to our potential.''
 
Rutgers showed last year it could play with Louisville and South Florida. The Knights lost, 16-14, to the Cardinals on the road, and defeated South Florida, 20-17, at home.
 
And what's more intriguing for the Scarlet Knights, is they don't have to face nemesis West Virginia anymore. A traditional thorn in Rutgers' side, the Mountaineers left for the Big 12, and were replaced by Temple.
 
Winning the league next year will be tougher with new teams coming in, although Syracuse and Pittsburgh will exit for the ACC.
 
Clearly, now's the time.
 
''Football coaches, we can only live in reality,'' Flood said. ''We can't live in speculation. We know that the Big East champion, in 2012, goes to the Orange Bowl. Unless they're in the BCS national championship game, which would be great. So for us, that's what we're focused on. Because a year from now, there certainly could be more changes.
 
''So we're not thinking about that. Right now, we are focused on 2012 and everything else gets pushed aside until you're done with your bowl game.''