Remembering Rutgers' Kyle Flood's SEC jab with Washington State opener
Remember that time head coach Kyle Flood took a calculated shot at SEC teams that said, "Thanks, but no thanks," to scheduling Rutgers? Well, the game the Scarlet Knights had to compensate with is a week away.
"There were other SEC teams that wouldn't play us," Flood said in June 2013, announcing Washington State as Rutgers' season opener this year. "That's unfortunate because they like to come up here and recruit."
The news made some noise during a dead media period. A few months later, Rutgers beat Arkansas at High Point Solutions Stadium, capping a home-and-home series — Rutgers' first time playing an SEC team in Piscataway — at 2-0.
Rutgers filled the void with Washington State at CenturyLink Field, the last of a Cougars tradition of playing one home contest a year in Seattle. It it Rutgers' only nonconference game against a power-conference opponent.
"It's a huge game," quarterback Gary Nova said. "Obviously it's a big season for us, big opportunity. To start it off right with a Pac-12 opponent is huge. It's so important to get off to a good start, and we have a good opponent to do it against."
The Big Ten moves to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016, meaning Rutgers will likely have to fill one of three spots with a team from a power-five conference. The league also wants its members to avoid playing FCS teams, like Rutgers traditionally has with the MEAC.
Rutgers hosts Washington State next year, when it also begins a home-and-home series with Kansas. It also has future meetings with Washington (2016-2017), Miami (Fla.) (2018, 2019) and UCLA (2020, 2021).