Here’s where Rutgers football stands in early ESPN 2022 rankings

    ESPN’s early SP+ rankings for 2022 believe Rutgers still has some ground to gain in the Big Ten.

    The Scarlet Knights are ranked 77th nationally according to the metric — which weighs returning production, recent recruiting and recent history. The rankings are “a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency.

    “It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a summary ranking, and, along those same lines, these projections aren’t intended to be a guess at what the AP Top 25 will look like at the end of the year. These are simply early offseason power rankings based on the information we have been able to gather to date.”

    Rutgers is ranked 11th of the Big Ten’s 14 members. The Scarlet Knights are ahead of Indiana (78th), Illinois (83rd) and Northwestern (89th). And there is a big gap between Rutgers and the 10 conference foes ahead of it.

    The Big Ten has six teams in the top-20 — No. 1 Ohio State, No. 4 Michigan, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 16 Penn State, No. 17 Michigan State and No. 19 Minnesota — and eight in the top-30 with No. 26 Iowa and No. 27 Purdue.

    Nebraska is 34th and Maryland is 41st, meaning there is a 36-spot gap between the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins. Rutgers will play its six Big Ten East opponents plus Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska in 2022.

    Also of interest: Boston College, the Scarlet Knights’ season-opening opponent, is ranked one spot ahead of them at No. 76. Temple, Rutgers’ other FBS non-conference opponent this fall, is 119th.

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    James Kratch may be reached at [email protected]

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