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College Football in the Northeast is Having a Bad Time

A look at just how bad

Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Last night, Michigan drop-kicked Rutgers as though they were Howard, obliterating the hapless Scarlet Knights 78-0.

It was hard not to notice the parallels between Rutgers and BC, as both are Northeastern programs who got utterly stomped this weekend in primetime games against marquee opponents. But the similarities don’t end there.

Across the Northeast, just about all the college football programs are in rough shape.

The records, followed by some thoughts:

Penn State 4-2
Army 3-2
UConn 3-3
Boston College 3-3
Temple 3-3
Rutgers 2-4
Syracuse 2-4
Buffalo 1-4
UMass 1-5

-Obviously you can quibble over whether Penn State counts as “northeast” or not. To me they moreso exist in their own bizarre alternate universe. But by some definition, they are leading the way among teams in the Northeast.

-A lot of the wins these teams do have are either against one another or against FCS teams:

  • Buffalo’s only win came against Army
  • Syracuse’s two wins are against Colgate and UConn
  • One of Rutgers’ two wins came against Howard
  • BC’s three wins included UMass, Buffalo, and FCS Wagner
  • UConn has a W over Maine
  • Army beat Temple
  • Temple has an FCS win over Stony Brook
  • Penn State beat Temple

That’s a grand total of 11 wins over either the FCS or fellow teams from the Northeast.

Add it all up, and that means these nine teams have a total of 11 wins combined against FBS competition that is not one another, and an overall record against such teams of 11-24. And four of those wins are Penn State, so take them out of the picture and you’re looking at a group that’s 7-22 nearly halfway through the college football season. That’s, uh, not good.

If you were to hand out a prize for top football team in the Northeast right now that didn’t deserve to have its program shut down, the award would go to..... Army? I think?

The Sagarin rankings say it’s #65-ranked Temple. I’ll take Harvard.

It’s not a pretty picture, and it’s probably not a coincidence. These programs are in tough shape, and it’s hard to see much of a short-term future for any of them, especially those swimming in the deep end of top conferences.