Rutgers Has Won More Pointless Bowl Games Than Michigan Over the Last 20 Years

Stephen Douglas
Rutgers and Michigan are now rivals.
Rutgers and Michigan are now rivals. / Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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Wednesday night on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, SVP dropped a shocking fact. Rutgers has won more bowl games over the last 20 years than Michigan. It was a real mic-drop moment for people looking to rub Michigan's nose in the disappointment of the Jim Harbaugh era.

Here's the thing -- who cares? Rutgers is a bad football school. Despite the fact that Michigan has been unable to catch up to rival Ohio State, they remain a pretty good football school. Nobody can catch Ohio State. They've lost 10 times total since Urban Meyer showed up for the 2012 season. Ohio State is a certified NFL Draftee factory. I know there's shame in losing to OSU, but there really shouldn't be. This year Michigan lost four times. All four teams were ranked.

When the final, pointless, rankings come out after the National Championship, Michigan will have finished ranked in the top 25 for the 12th time in the last 20 seasons. Rutgers has finished ranked once. Michigan has gone to 17 bowl games in the last 20 years. Rutgers has been invited to nine.

Neither school has dominated the postseason, but does it really matter? Almost all bowl games are pointless cash grabs that exist only so companies can put their name on something that resembles football. Some bowl games are more pointless than others. The ones that Rugers played in during the Kyle Flood and Greg Schiano eras fall in the later category.

Comparing Rutgers' bowl games to Michigan's bowl games is like saying some guy on Tinder has dated more women than Tom Brady. Are you really comparing playing Alabama in the Citrus Bowl to playing North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl? Or playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl to playing North Carolina State in the Papa John's dotcom Bowl? If you want to pretend all bowl games matter, then you have to also admit that some are better, tougher, more important and more prestigious than others.

And when you're 21-52 since joining the Big Ten in 2014, you don't even get to go to the unimportant ones. Meanwhile, Michigan has won 47 games since Jim Harbaugh showed up in 2015 and turned the Wolverines back into a team that is good enough to be frustrated by loses to a perennial contender for the national championship. When Rutgers is good enough to be frustrated by a loss, we'll look at their bowl results again.

It's really nice that Rutgers was invited to some bowl games back when they played in the Big East. While they have yet to represent the B1G in the postseason and won just two games in 2019, it's still worth noting that they have won bowl games more recently than some other programs. In the Big Ten East even. Off the top of my head, for no particular reason, Maryland, comes to mind. Does that mean Rutgers is a better program than Maryland, who won three games this season? No, but it's just another viscous stat that makes college football fun.

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