Rutgers Football: Scarlet Knights No Lock to Play in BCS Bowl Game

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2012

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 10:  Brandon Coleman #17 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrates with teammate Jawan Jamison #23 after Coleman scored the game winning touchdown against the Army Black Knights on November 10, 2012 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.The Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeated the Army Black Knights 28-7.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Rutgers might sit alone atop the Big East conference, but there's simply too much football yet to be played for the Scarlet Knights to be playing in a BCS Bowl game.

After watching the Scarlet Knights score 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points to dispatch the Black Knights of Army on Saturday, Sports Illustrated's Stuart Mandel projects Rutgers to land in the Orange Bowl:

How's this for a revised BCS: Title: Oregon-KState. Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. A&M. Rose: Nebraska-ND. Sugar: UGA-Clemson. Orange: FSU-Rutgers.

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 11, 2012

Getting to the Orange Bowl won't be an easy proposition for the Scarlet Knights, who are entering the toughest part of their schedule.

Rutgers has to travel to both Cincinnati (7-2) and Pittsburgh (4-6) over the next two weeks, and while neither team is ranked in the Top 25, they both pose a significant challenge to the Scarlet Knights.

Cincinnati has beaten Rutgers in five of their past six meetings, and the Bearcats' offense, which averages 34 points a game and runs the ball (227 yards per game) nearly as well as it throws the ball (229 yards per game), is easily the most dangerous unit that the Scarlet Knights' defense has faced all season.

While Rutgers has had Pittsburgh's number as of late, winning four of their last six games against the Panthers, Pittsburgh hung with Lousiville earlier this season and took Notre Dame to triple overtime before falling—they're no cakewalk for the Scarlet Knights either.

Taking care of business in each of those games would be ideal, but a split would give Rutgers the same end result—a meeting in Piscataway with Louisville that will see the winner advance to a BCS Bowl and the loser relegated to the Russell Athletic Bowl, against the third-ranked team in the ACC.

Could there be a sequel to "Pandemonium in Piscataway"?

Sure, there could.

But like their BCS Bowl chances, it's far from a sure thing.

Rutgers has plenty of work left to do before making that dream a reality.