Rutgers Scarlet Knights

UMass lines up future games against Big Ten opponents

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UMass may never get a chance to be invited to the Big Ten, so the program will have to settle with playing non-conference games against them instead. The Minutemen have announced future games against Big Ten members Rutgers and Northwestern for the 2019 season, respectively.

UMass will play both games on the road in one-game deals. The Minutemen will travel to Rutgers on August 31, 2019. Later in the year, on November 16, UMass will travel to Northwestern. UMass and Northwestern have never met on the field in football, but the Minutemen and Scarlet Knights have a brief history. The two schools played four times between 1967 and 1978, with each school winning two games.

In other scheduling news, UMass also announced a 2018 game against FCS opponent Duquesne. UMass will host Duquesne on August 25, 2018 in college football’s Week 0, because the Dukes have a road trip to Hawaii scheduled in 2018.

UMass is entering its second season as a football independent since being removed from the MAC. UMass went just 2-10 last season but hope the experience gained by a young roster can grow in 2017. UMass was probably better than their record would indicate, although they still have a long shot to getting to bowl eligibility for the first time in program history. UMass has not had a season with more than three wins since moving up to the FBS from the FCS in 2012, and the 2017 schedule throws UMass no favors. The Minutemen play road games as defending AAC champion Temple, potential AAC favorite USF, BYU and two SEC schools (Tennessee and Mississippi State).

President Donald Trump announces future FBS foes for Liberty football in commencement address

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While we may all try to stick to sports nowadays, sometimes one just can’t help but see politics cross streams a bit with college football. Case in point came on Saturday as President Donald Trump announced the future FBS opponents for Liberty University, where the he gave the commencement address for the class of 2017.

Jerry (Fallwell Jr.), are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Trump said while reading off the names of the opponents. “Auburn? I don’t know about that. This could be trouble.”

Liberty received a waiver earlier this year from the NCAA to make the move to FBS full-time and will play several top-tier opponents in 2018 as part of that transition from the FCS level. Per the schedule released by the school afterward, here are the FBS schools who have scheduled games with the Flames and the dates of their future meetings:

Army
Sept. 8, 2018 – Liberty at Army
Nov. 27, 2021 – Army at Liberty
Sept. 20, 2025 – Liberty at Army
Nov. 28, 2026 – Army at Liberty

Auburn
Nov. 17, 2018 – Liberty at Auburn

BYU
Nov. 9, 2019 – Liberty at BYU
Oct. 22, 2022 – BYU at Liberty

Buffalo
Sept. 14, 2019 – Buffalo at Liberty
Sept. 16, 2023 – Liberty at Buffalo

Old Dominion
Sept. 1, 2018 – Old Dominion at Liberty

Ole Miss
Nov. 13, 2021 – Liberty at Ole Miss

Massachusetts (UMass)
Nov. 3, 2018 – Liberty at UMass

New Mexico
Sept. 29, 2018 – Liberty at New Mexico
Sept. 28, 2019 – New Mexico at Liberty

New Mexico State
Oct. 6, 2018 – Liberty at New Mexico State
Nov. 24, 2018 – New Mexico State at Liberty
Oct. 5, 2019 – Liberty at New Mexico State
Nov. 30, 2019 – New Mexico State at Liberty

North Texas
Sept. 22, 2018 – North Texas at Liberty
Oct. 9, 2021 – Liberty at North Texas

Rutgers
Oct. 26, 2019 – Liberty at Rutgers

Troy
Oct. 13, 2018 – Troy at Liberty

Virginia
Nov. 10, 2018 – Liberty at Virginia
Nov. 23, 2019 – Liberty at Virginia
Sept. 11, 2027 – Virginia at Liberty

Virginia Tech
Sept. 5, 2020 – Liberty at Virginia Tech

Wake Forest
Sept. 17, 2022 – Liberty at Wake Forest
Aug. 30, 2025 – Wake Forest at Liberty
Sept. 3, 4 or 5, 2026 – Liberty at Wake Forest

Liberty will be an FCS independent during the upcoming season before transitioning into an FBS independent in 2018. The school will not be bowl eligible until 2019, when they will have fully made the move up a level to become a full-time FBS program.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany set to cash in with over $20 million in bonuses

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It’s good to be a college commissioner nowadays but it seems it’s an even better time to be the one leading the Big Ten.

USA Today reports that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is set to cash in big time with some $20 million in future bonus payments on the books from the conference. The league’s most recent tax returns shed light on the paychecks, which will come in addition to the over $2 million he already receives each year.

“Commissioner Delany has provided invaluable leadership for Big Ten member institutions while delivering first-in-class performance during a time of great transformation in college athletics,” University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler said in a statement provided by the conference. “He has not only successfully balanced the missions of academic achievement, student-athlete development and athletic success, he has successfully developed the resources necessary to strategically position the conference for success well into the future. His compensation is market-competitive, based on an independent third-party analysis, and reflects the value and impact of his leadership.”

Delany has served as commissioner of the Big Ten since 1989 and has been one of the most powerful leaders in college athletics ever since. He was the driving force behind numerous expansions by the conference over the years and the cash-cow that the Big Ten Network has turned into.

While Delany has drawn his fair share of criticism from fans and media members alike over the years, it’s hard to argue with what he’s done for the league’s burgeoning balance sheets. He is already one of the most handsomely compensated commissioners out there but something says the presence of this pay package will cause a few raised eyebrows around college athletics while also quieting talk that he may be set to retire in the very near future.

Zach Allen pushes off ACL surgery in hopes of playing for Rutgers this season

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It appears Zach Allen wants to take one for the team.

Thanks to myriad dismissals and transfers at the position, Rutgers had just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for a sizable chunk of spring practice — Allen and Giovanni Rescigno. Unfortunately, Allen sustained a torn ACL in late April, leading most to assume that transfer from TCU would miss most if not all of his fifth-year senior season.

However, nj.com is reporting, Allen “has decided not to have surgery on his torn ACL, with hopes that he can rehab his knee and be available to play during the 2017 season.” The decision to postpone surgery almost certainly ensures that, if Allen suffers a setback or rehab doesn’t go his way and he’s forced to have the joint repaired medically, he will miss the entire season.

At that point, Allen would likely apply for a sixth season of eligibility.

Provided he can maintain some semblance of health, Allen will add further depth to a previously-thin position that has already been or will be further bolstered. Late last month, Louisville graduate transfer Kyle Bolin revealed his next football home will be RU, while touted 2017 signee Johnathan Lewis will join the fray this summer.

Additionally, former Temple quarterback Tommy Wyatt transferred into the program earlier this month, albeit as a walk-on.

Louisville grad transfer QB Kyle Bolin tweets transfer to Rutgers

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Following Louisville’s spring game earlier this month, Kyle Bolin confirmed that he would be transferring from the football program.  A little over a week later, the quarterback already has a new team lined up.

Per a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account, Bolin wrote he’s “proud to say my next home will be at Rutgers University.” The football program has thus far declined to confirm Bolin’s addition to Chris Ash‘s roster.

Bolin is scheduled to graduate from the U of L next month, meaning he’ll be eligible to play for the Scarlet Knights this coming season.

Texas, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, Southern Miss and Western Michigan were also considered potential destinations for Bolin.

Bolin started five games in 2015 as he and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson shared quarterbacking duties that season.  Jackson replaced Bolin after a pair of picks in the regular-season finale against rival Kentucky that year and, coming off his four-touchdown performance in the Music City Bowl win over Texas A&M, the former was firmly entrenched as the starter heading into the spring of 2016.

The arrival of Bolin couldn’t come soon enough for the quarterback-depleted Knights.

In mid-November, Rutgers had six scholarship quarterbacks on its roster.  By the beginning of December, that number had been cut in half as two of them, Hayden Rettig and Chris Laviano, left the program as graduate transfers while another, Mike Dare, left as a run-of-the-mill transfer.  The group was further pared earlier this month when Tylin Oden was dismissed for violating team rules and TCU transfer Zach Allen suffered a torn ACL.

With Allen’s injury, it leaves the Scarlet Knights with just one healthy signal-caller on scholarship at the moment — Giovanni Rescigno, the starter to close out the 2016 season and presumptive front-runner to maintain the job.  Another will be added when 2017 signee Johnathan Lewis comes to campus this summer.

Rescigno, Lewis and Bolin will commence a battle for the starting job when summer camp opens in early August.