PISCATAWAY - Will Greg Schiano be the Scarlet Knights' knight in shining armor?
It didn't take long after Rutgers announced the firing head football coach Chris Ash this afternoon for rumors that the former coach will be riding to the program's rescue.
In fact, footballscoop.com, citing unnamed sources, reported that Schiano stepped down from his position as defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots to make himself available if (when?) the Rutgers head coaching job became available.
Under Ash, who is being replaced on a temporary basis by tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile, the team has been pushed around by bigger, stronger Big Ten teams. The Scarlet Knights were 8-32 overall under Ash, including 3-26 against conference foes.
The final straw for Ash was a 52-0 loss to Michigan on Saturday. To put that loss in perspective, many feel this is not a vintage Wolverine team. After all, they lost to Wisconsin, 35-14, a few weeks ago. Earlier this year, they squeaked out an overtime win over Army.
Schiano's 11 seasons as Rutgers coach were among the most prosperous in school history - and that's saying a lot considering that college football started On the Banks 150 years ago.
His record at Rutgers was just 68-67, but he guided Rutgers to its first six bowl appearances (not counting the Garden State Bowl appearance in the 1970s). The Knights won five of them, including a victory over Iowa State at the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
Schiano, a proud New Jersey guy, (Wyckoff) was able to lift Rutgers out of its cycle of losing by his ability to keep many talented in-state players from leaving for the likes of Penn State and Michigan. One of them, Piscataway's Anthony Davis, was selected 11th overall by the San Francisco 49ers.
Under Schiano's tutelage, several other Scarlet Knights went on to star in the NFL, including Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) and Devin and Jason McCourty (Patriots).
Off the field, Rutgers was able to lift its profile. The Empire State Building would be lit up scarlet on game days and Schiano starred in commercials with actor James Gandolfini from "The Sopranos."
Rutgers fans who have come to expect blow-out losses like the one against Iowa a few weeks ago must surely long for the days when Schiano-led Rutgers took down the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals on national television in 2006.
Schiano, however, is hardly the only candidate being discussed across social media.
Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi, who has had no trouble plucking talented players out of the Garden State, has been mentioned as a replacement for Ash. So has Boston College head coach Steve Addazio, Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold and Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.