Rutgers will have two BCS non-conference opponents in 2015 for the first time in nearly a decade. Seeking high-profile games for fans and the program alike, scheduling Kansas in addition to Penn State in 2015 is the best move for Rutgers, said athletic director Tim Pernetti.
Rutgers and Kansas announced a deal earlier today for a home-and-home series, beginning in New Jersey in 2015 and concluding in Kansas in 2018.
“With the trend-changing, more schools looking for higher-profile home-and-homes, managing finances better, it's almost the perfect storm of events," Pernetti said.
Rutgers remains in talks with multiple other schools for future games this decade as Pernetti and first-year head coach Kyle Flood continue to beef up the schedule and bring the fan base the best game-day environment possible.
“With this one, we had the conversation, we locked in on some dates that we thought worked, we got it worked out and we moved it in, Pernetti said. “With the other conversations we were having, some of them were nearer term, more of them were longer term, because that's where we have more open spots available.”
Recent departures from the Big XII made scheduling easier on both sides. Despite uncertainty in Big East scheduling with new teams joining the league in 2013, scheduling non-conference opponents will be a major focus for Rutgers, which has teams like Penn State, Miami, UCLA and Arkansas on tap this decade.
“There's opportunities out there,” Pernetti said. “It's not so much the changing in the BIG EAST, it's the changing in the other conferences. They're trying to decide how many league games they're going to play, less flexibility on the scheduling. Everybody wants to get more games on the board, but people are trigger shy because they don't know what the final, final plan in their current league is going to be.”