Friday, December 28, 2007

Benny versus Willie : The Battle of the Ball State and Rutgers Statues

Beneficence is the name of the winged statue at Ball State University erected in 1937 as "A Civic Testimonial to the Beneficence of the Ball Brothers and their Families."
William the Silent, "Count of Nassau and Prince of Orange, Father of his Fatherland and Founder of the United States of the Netherlands" (and the first head of state assassinated by a handgun -- in 1584), anchors the end of the Vorhees Mall by the Seminary and has been a favored meeting place since he was installed in 1928.

Benny has a twin located in Massachusetts
at the Boston Gardens Park.
Willie has a twin located in The Hague.

Benny is reputed to flap her wings if you kiss
your true love in front of her at midnight.

Willie is known as "The Silent" (or "de Zwijger" in Dutch)
because he whistles every time a virgin walks by.

Willie looks like he could take Benny in any type of athletic competition (that didn't involve flight), especially if his little dog were allowed to help.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

for any students who haven't yet planned a trip to Toronto:The International Bowl Is the Only Bowl with a Legal Drinking Age Lower than 21!!

The legal drinking age in the province of Ontario is 19, which should make everyone but college freshmen temporarily legal. If they put a bowl game in Quebec, Alberta, or Manitoba next year, then the age will drop to 18.

Actually, if they put a bowl game in ANY other country (other than Egypt, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Kiribati, the Mariana Islands, or the United Arab Emirates), the legal drinking age would be low enough to accommodate most college students.

Having been a charter member of the College Avenue Tavern Association and loyal customer at the Rusty Screw pub in the Student Center in the unfairly-maligned 1970's (often watching The Gong Show with a Guinness and a sandwich at lunchtime between classes), it's still hard for me to imagine being a college student now in Neo-Puritan America.

So enjoy Toronto kids, I'll see you there on January 5th!

Go Knights!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Dogs and Cats Living Together!" or the continuing story of Rutgers' improbable rise

Within a week the Scarlet Knights have had their head coach reject an offer from the University of Michigan, and now a three-star quarterback recruit, D.C. Jefferson, switch his commitment to Rutgers from LSU, a team which will be playing for the National Championship next month. There is some head scratching in SEC country about this choice (just as there was in the Mitten State last week about Coach Schiano's loyalty to RU), but there are a lot of reasons why highly-recruited high-school athletes make their final college selections. My hope is that D.C. chose Rutgers over Louisiana State for more than just its athletics. Maybe someone played this song to him:
And college men from LSU
Went in dumb - come out dumb too

--Randy Newman, "Rednecks" (1974)

I want to believe that Rutgers' academic reputation is part of any recruit's reason for coming here, but no matter the reason, it's starting to feel as if tectonic plates in the world of college football are in the process of shifting. It seems clearer and clearer that 2006 was no fluke "Cinderella" season, but the beginning of an era. For other teams, this monumental change in Rutgers' fortunes (and their own) may not seem so positive.

Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.

--Ghostbusters (1984)

Stuff like that.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Wondering how you can repay Greg Schiano for his demonstrated loyalty to Rutgers?

"I was contacted earlier this week about the Michigan coaching vacancy, but I have decided to remove my name from consideration. I look forward to our third straight bowl game and to bringing a national championship to Rutgers and the state of New Jersey. I will have no further comment."
-- Greg Schiano, December 7, 2007
Well, if you haven't done anything yet to thank Greg Schiano for turning down the head coaching job at the University of Michigan, by all reports a very difficult decision, please thank him by ordering your tickets for the:

Remember to get your tickets directly from or (or via 1-866-445-GORU), so that you'll be sitting with us scarlet-clad folks, and so the Knights will get credit for all the fans we're bringing to Toronto.

And, of course, if you don't yet have your season tickets, or your name on the season-ticket waiting list, please get your name on the list for seats at the Stadium. It won't take many more names before there is a guaranteed ass in every seat at the proposed stadium expansion that is so important to Greg and the future of the football program.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thanks Greg! How did you know today was my birthday?

This is exactly what I wanted!

O Rutgers! My Rutgers!

Well, the season was interesting at least. One that began with high hopes and a top 25 ranking and seemingly will end (likely) 8-5 out of the top 25. One where people are complaining about a winning season and a bowl berth. I'm not all that unhappy with it, though. Think of where we were. Only beating teams like Temple. Producing good players, NFL players, but not results. Well, we changed all that. We now produce NFL caliber players, and winning seasons for the first time since TBL was a student at RU. People complain about how Schiano called games this year. How quickly they forget that he is the one that got us here. Regardless of how the team played this year, whether good or bad, we must remember that this is OUR team. I love this team. I've loved them for my entire life. I loved them when they sucked. I loved them after every loss this year. I love them playing themselves into 3 straight bowl games. I love them because I get to make my first trip to Canada in my life this January. Yeah, that's me in the picture. A scrawny white 9 year old watching Rutgers beat up on Temple on October 31st, 1998. At halftime. I defy you to find a picture of Rutgers stadium from 2003-2007 where it was THAT empty. The 7-5 season is better than the 1-10, 2-9 seasons we were accustomed to in the 1990's. People will probably say, what the hell do you know kid, you were 9? Well, I know that when my (Philadelphia) Eagles sucked, I stood by and rooted, and when OUR knights sucked, I stood by and rooted. Maybe I didn't know better? I didn't think the Knights would ACTUALLY start winning, luckily around the time I was looking to go to college. But I credit my dad. My dad raised me right; raised me on a team that sucked. Raised me to love the team I love, regardless of record. And I rooted and rooted and rooted my ass off, from when I was eight years old until now, where I sit and write about the team I love, as an 18 year old in the prime of his life. I NEVER gave up on them when they lost. They were all I had. We never had the money to go to the NFL games. These Knights were all I had. And good or bad, they taught me what football was. It wasn't about winning to us when we sucked. It was about going to the game, getting a few hot dogs, and enjoying the game. Watching Mike McMahon hook up with L.J. Smith for the rare touchdowns we scored. It was about Tres Moses pumping up the patchy crowd that was there with his dynamite kick returns. When we got better in 2005 and had our Insight Bowl berth, people got on the bandwagon. Now, after being 7-5, people are again jumping ship. Not many. Just the doubters. The "I told you so-ers." The people who called us a fluke, a Cinderella, a pretender. BUT JUST THINK WHERE WE WERE. And who got us there. My father gave me the greatest gift of all. He gave me Rutgers football. And our coach, Greg Schiano, gave us chances to win games and be places we would have never dreamed of. Anybody reading this probably wants me dead by now. Saying, thanks Future_RU_MLB, for your opinion. But what's your point?

My point is as follows. There comes a time when you are given an opportunity to move up in the world, especially in coaching. You can't keep turning jobs down. On this, December 7th, 2007, it is being reported by the Newark Star Ledger's Tom Luicci on ESPN that the University of Michigan has contacted our fearless leader, Coach Schiano, about their coaching vacancy in Ann Arbor. Needless to say, when I saw this, I shed a tear. I'm not afraid to admit it, either. I love that mad. He brought us to a great place. And he screwed the University of Miami last year. How can you NOT love him? It's being reported that though no offer has been made, it seems very likely that our coach could be getting an offer from Michigan very soon. He visited with the U of M athletic director, Bill Martin, in New York City for 5 hours Thursday to discuss the job. I sincerely hope he screws another U of M. Nothing would make me happier. I plan on wearing scarlet next year, regardless of our coaching situation. Obviously, it'd be a dream come true to play what little minutes I would get in four years at RU for Schiano, but if not, I wish him all the best in everything he does for the rest of his career. He built us up from nothing and made us contenders. The only ill that I would ever wish him is that if he leaves, I want him to regret his decision for the rest of his life. I want him to say, if anyone asks what he regrets the most in life, that he never should have left The State University of New Jersey. I would welcome the new coach with open arms, and the dreams to continue the high level of play that makes me proud to say that I AM a season ticket holder, I AM a New Jersey resident, and I AM a Scarlet Knight. I will be heartbroken if coach leaves. If he stays, It'll only make me want to be a Knight more. I worry that if he leaves now, Ray may leave as well. That may be unavoidable. Generally teams don't win the championship with a first year coach at the helm. And if Ray thinks he is ready to play in the NFL (and he is), and we have a new coach, thusly making it harder to win a National Championship, I think he will leave. And we'll probably lose some recruits, too. But whatever happens, happens.


We the Rutgers faithful love you and appreciate what you have done for us. We hope that you will make the choice that you feel is right for you. You committed yourself to us, to winning and starting a tradition at Rutgers. At Michigan, you would just be the next man with his head on the chopping block. At Penn State (this is in the future, folks), you'd have the dubious honor of following the legendary Joe Paterno. At Rutgers, you could be OUR Joe Paterno. We love you. We worship you. You were the National Coach of the year at Rutgers. You had a house built in New Jersey to make life easier. For Christ's sake, you drive a RED ESCALADE. If you drive that in Ann Arbor, you may as well just slap a big magnetic Buckeye on the door. You AND College Football were both born in New Jersey. You will be expected to win every game at U of M. They will only love you if you do. Their outgoing coach is nearly HATED in Ann Arbor. He only led them to 13 bowls in 13 years, 5 conference titles, and ONE national championship. We love you because of who you are and what you've given us. Not only because of what you have accomplished. You are a native son. OUR native son. You were born for the job you've got, and we just hope to God you realize that.

I like how Walt Whitman put it.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of RED,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead
Except our fearful trip is NOT done, nor is your career at Rutgers dead. Because for YOU the flag is flung. And for YOU the bugle trills. Just don't make us fly the flag at half staff.

With much respect and admiration,

The Rutgers Faithful

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Now Ball State's Coach is talking to the Wolverines

In an interesting follow-up to the post of a few days ago, now the coach of our International Bowl opponents, Ball State's Randy Hoke, is talking to the Wolverines about possible job openings.
If Michigan's decision isn't made by January 5, he might try to impress future employers with a signature bowl victory over a Big East opponent.

"... wrap the babe in Scarlet covers call it your own . . ."
(a short musical interlude in the college football season)

Now I remember why I didn't make it to all the
home games when I was On the Banks.

And the audience in this clip is dressed exactly the way that we all dressed when we went to see the Dead, and when Jerry came and played at the College Avenue Gym. It's downright eerie.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Current Big East Bowl Lines
(3 favorites / 2 'dogs)

Here are the current lines (via the Detroit Free Press) for the five bowl games being played this December & January by Big East teams. Remember, we were 5-0 last year.
PoppaJohns (12/22 at Birmingham)
Cincinnati 11 over Southern Miss

Mikey's Car Care (12/29 at Charlotte)
Wake Forest 3 1/2 over UConn

Sun Bowl (12/ 31 at El Paso)
South Florida 6 1/2 over Oregon

Fiesta Bowl (1/2/08 at Glendale)
Oklahoma 6 1/2 over West Virginia

International Bowl (1/5/08 at Toronto)
Rutgers 10 over Ball State

Remember to get your tickets directly from or (or via 1-866-445-GORU), so that you'll be sitting with us scarlet-clad folks, and so the Knights will get credit for all the fans we're bringing to Toronto.

The Wolverines interested in Greg Schiano?

Here's a story from this morning's Detroit Free Press about the University of Michigan's possible interest in Greg Schiano for Lloyd Carr's old job. Greg says he hasn't spoken to anyone yet and Mike Teel is quoted as saying:
"This has happened once before and he was straight up with us and told us how he felt, what he wanted, and we're pretty sure none of that has changed. There's no reason for us to concern ourselves with that."
But last year the offer was from the "University" of Miami (in Florida, not Ohio) and I can understand the refusal, if for the ugly candy-colored uniforms alone, but this is the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and I could understand if Greg were tempted this time if the offer actually comes to coach in The Big House.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A slight name change in order to avoid any confusion.

To avoid any possible confusion in the future, our next opponents, the Ball State Cardinals, and our most recent opponents, the Louisville Cardinals, will be more descriptively referred to here as the "Speedy Cardinals" and the "Pissed Off Cardinals" based on the bird decals that they have affixed to their respective helmets.

It's almost too bad that the Pissed Off Cardinals didn't get a bowl invitation this year, just to see these two helmets clashing across a line of scrimmage.

A Home Game for the Westermans

Senior defensive end Jamaal Westerman and freshman wide receiver Jawann Westerman both went to Notre Dame High School in Brampton, Ontario. Just look at the map to see how close this is to the site of the Scarlet Knights' next game at the International Bowl in Toronto on January 5th.

The third Canadian on the team, defensive end Jonathan Pierre-Etienne, is from a little farther away in Vieux Montréal, but at least he will find the national anthem familiar.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Submit Your Ideas Here.

Play Like Your Couch Is on is still soliciting ideas for National Championship game shirts this afternoon:You might want to make that a suggestion for Orange Bowl Fiesta Bowl shirts instead, which is nothing for the Mountaineers to be ashamed of (when the sting of last night's loss disappears in a decade or two). But how did West Virginia lose to two teams that Rutgers beat this year? There's more parity in the Big East than any of us expected at the beginning of September (and next year Pitt's freshmen starters are going to be much better, so the Backyard Brawl will really be wild at the Heinz Ketchup Stadium next year).
Check the silence and cries of disbelief from other West Virginia blogs this morning here:
And the gloating at:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Knights' next opponent: The Cardinals (from Ball State, not Louisville)

Maybe they can get James Gandolfini and Dave Letterman to be the ceremonial captains for this game on January 5th.

Blasphemy!, or maybe the McGill Redmen would like to play the Scarlet Knights for the naming rights when we're up in Canada in a month

It seems that the title of The Birthplace of College Football is disputed by some of our friends from north of the border as shown in this article from yesterday, and a more detailed history from the McGill University alumni quarterly of the summer of 2005. Of course, if McGill's claim to have played the first "real" football game at Harvard in 1874 is true, then wouldn't that make Harvard the birthplace, even though they were playing with the Canadian school's rules?

There's only one answer to these claims: Blasphemy! The date of November 6, 1869 is one of the holiest dates in American history -- maybe the holiest in American athletic history. We're not going to let any school from Kaybeck take the honor of that first game away from us (and our little brothers down in Princeton).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Here's one thing that Rutgers does better than West Virginia (and we're not bragging about our Philosophy Department again)

In contrast to the happy scenes after major upset wins at Rutgers Stadium in which exuberance is expressed by hopping up and down on the FieldTurf for twenty minutes after the final cannon, West Virginia students are facing threats of pepper spray, dogs, and police in riot gear if they attempt to hop the wall after beating Pittsburgh and clinching a spot in the NationalFuckingChampionship game tomorrow!! After a WVU upset of Virginia Tech in 2003, the police used pepper spray on students who rushed the field. Could the fires set by celebrants later that night outside of the stadium have been part of the reaction against those overzealous lawmen? Why not just let the party go on inside the Stadium?

Go get those Panthers and win the National Championship and don't sit on any 18-point leads! We'll understand if you burn some couches.

(Thanks to Let's Go Drink Some Beers for pointing out this outrage)

2007, Year of the Thirty-Minute Chop

The picture of the "60 Min Chop" sign to the right was taken at this year's USF victory, but if we could only have played 30-minute games this year, we would have been 10-2 rather than 7-5, with the three extra wins highlighted in bold.
And, at the half, the winner is . . .
W - RU 28 / Buffalo 0
W - RU 24 / Navy 7
W - RU 45 / Norfolk State 0
W- RU 17 / Maryland 14
W -RU 17 / Cincinnati 7
W - RU 24 / Syracuse 14
W - RU 17 / South Florida 14
L - West Virginia 17 / RU 3
L - UConn 25 / RU 16
W - RU 14 / Army 6
W - RU 17 / Pitt 10
W- RU 28 / Louisville 17

At 250 to 131, Rutgers' first-half points this year were almost double that of their opponents; but the Scarlet Knights lost the second half in 2007 by a score of 124 to 131. While the first and second halves were dead even for the opponents, the Knights second-half point production was less than half that of their opening period.
I can't help thinking that a big part of the difference is Brian Leonard. How many times did he keep a key late drive alive last season when it was needed most? Last night would have been totally different with just one or two more Rutgers first downs during key drives in the second half.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A disgusting loss.

Luck Fouisville.
To hell with Kragthorpe.
Brohm's a bastard.

But most of all,


He spent that ENTIRE game with his lips firmly affixed to Brian Brohm's Ass. Like Ahmad Rashad and Michael Jordan. All he did for four quarters was praise Brohm and knock our Knights. Saying how if Ray Ray leaves, we'll have no team. No offense. He refused to acknowledge that Teel played a hell of a game. That he outplayed Brohm in yards and touchdowns. All he did was sidle up next to Brohm and sweet talk him as if he was some chick sitting in a bar. That's what you would expect from James, a man who called Joe Paterno an "old fart" in reference to his broken leg last season. I can think of a younger, bulkier man who hurt his knee being crashed into by players. Former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice. I guess he's an old fart too. Thank god the Rutgers season is over on ESPN. I never have to watch James call a game again until next year. I'll be AT the International Bowl. I'll watch it in person. No more of this ESPN crap. Because having James, Flutie, and Fowler call your game is only SLIGHTLY worse than being on ESPNU. Three morons. Sorry. Two morons and a midget. Flutie has to stand on an milk crate to watch the game. How in God's name do you blow TWO 18 point leads? TWO!!!! That was simply an abomination. The pass to Douglas was a let down. Christ al-FUCKIN-mighty get a damn hand up or something. INTERFERE with Douglas--it's only 15 yards. You stop a team's leading receiver for the first 57 minutes of the game but when it counted in the final minutes, you FAILED. There was NO second half defense. Plain and simple. It's time for us to CRUCIFY a team. Losing SUCKS. You taste victory and you NEVER want to lose that taste. I've only ever tasted one thing worse than this loss. When my breakfast was two pop tarts and a swig of four or five day old Steel Reserve malt liquor out of a 40 ounce bottle. Ouch.

On a lighter note...

Nate Jones' hit on Brett Favre knocked him out of the game tonight. I like Favre, but good for Nate getting some playing time.

And the lightest note...

Canada here we come. We're going international. And this will cost Ball State dearly. Because they will be the sacrificial lamb. Keep choppin, all the way up to Toronto, to the CN tower, to Massey Hall, and finally to the Toronto Zoo, to kill all the Cardinals in the Aviary. After all, Ball State are Cardinals, too.

Keep Choppin'

That's certainly not the kind of repeat of last year I wanted.

Louisville 41, Rutgers 38

Well, that sucked! I know it doesn't make a difference in the bowl picture, and I already ordered my tickets for the International Bowl, but two 18-point leads blown?

Now I know how Louisville felt when they visited Piscataway last November and lost on a last-minute field goal after having been up by 18.

Rice got three TDs and yet another 100-yard game and both Underwood and Britt have over 1,000 receiving yards for the year, but where was the defense tonight?

As of 4:00 this afternoon, it's official. We're Toronto bound!

Please be sure to practice these two songs before your trip (and mine) on January 5th:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

and, of course:

R-U, Rah, Rah;
R-U, Rah, Rah,
Whoo-Rah, Whoo-Rah;
Rutgers Rah
Up Stream Red Team
Red Team Up Stream
Rah, Rah, Rutgers Rah!

Here's the official announcement that just appeared on

Remember to please order your International Bowl tickets only through Rutgers (,, or 1-866-445-GORU) so that you'll be sitting with the sea of people wearing red, and so that the people who decide bowl invitations in the future see how well we support our team in the postseason.

Go Knights!

Scarlet Knights Aren't Afraid of the Dark

The University of Louisville is officially encouraging their fans to wear black tonight to "Papa John's Cardinals Stadium" (I'd like my pizza with a pepperoni and cardinal, thanks) and they're naming the event, "Black Out the Scarlet Knights".

They might want to know that the same official appeal for a blackout was made to fans of another opponent on November 9th of this year. That game ended with the Scarlet Knights beating the Black Knights of West Point 41-6 (it wasn't that close).

Rutgers vs. Louisville (the 2006 version), in case you've forgotten

9 Nov 2006: (15) Rutgers 28, (3) Louisville 25

Who would have thought when we looked at the schedules in the summer of 2007, that tonight's game would be any less important than last year's battle of the unbeatens on the Banks of the Raritan? Who would have thought that Connecticut(?!) would have had a chance at the Big East title until being blown out by the Mountaineers last weekend? Or that the Louisville Cardinals would be ending the season bowlless after having won the Orange Bowl only eleven months ago?

11 Nov 2005: (nr) Rutgers 5, (23) Louisville 56

That being said, Louisville certainly remembers the one blot on their otherwise perfect season in Piscataway one year ago, and Rutgers certainly remembers their sole loss to the Cardinals at the stadium named after a pizza chain in Louisville two years ago. That game was lost by a score of 56-5 (supposedly because the Knights jumped up and down on the cardinal head at midfield before the game), but it did include the Leonard Leap pictured here, and also available on video at YouTube.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

International Bowl, here we come!

This afternoon the Cincinnati Bearcats accepted an invitation to play Southern Miss in the Bowl in Birmingham, so our Knights in Scarlet Armor will almost definitely be playing in the bowl game with a miraculously non-commercial name that takes place at noon on Saturday, January 5th just north of the border.
See you there!

It'll be a great game, eh?

"If we were going strictly on travel, we probably would have taken Rutgers. Outside of West Virginia, they're probably the second-best traveling team in the Big East..."
-- Will Webb, executive director of the Meineke Car Care Bowl,
quoted in this morning's Cincinnati Post.

Let's prove what great bowl travellers we are once again.
The formal invitations aren't out to the Pizza Bowl in Birmingham or the International Bowl in Toronto, but it's time to start planning a January trip to the Great White North! The Sun Bowl has formally invited the University of South Florida, the Meineke Muffler Shop Bowl has invited the Huskies of the Yukon (talk about a team that's custom built for a game north of the border), and it seems clear that the game in Alabama will choose the Bearcats and we'll be heading north to play either Bowling Green or Ball State -- no matter what the results of tomorrow night's game against the Louisville Cardinals.
We'll have better beer, we'll be able to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, we won't have to brave a trip south of the Mason-Dixon line, and we'll have a bowl trophy that doesn't double as an advertisement for a franchise that will be obsolete in 5-10 years.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It looks like we should be getting our passports ready

A consensus seems to be solidifying around the prediction that the Scarlet Knights, and we their fans, will be heading north of the border at the beginning of January to take part in the International Bowl in Toronto. This is the message in today's update of the bowl predictions, the Scarlet Scuttlebutt blog, today's Star-Ledger, today's Home News Tribune, CBSSportsline,, etc., etc.

That's not to say that you have to stop putting your own bowl preferences and/or predictions in the sidebar poll. There's always the chance that another bowl will jump at a New York-area team with what that means for TV exposure and fans who travel well (especially if that New York-area team were to massacre a certain school from Kentucky [which isn't Kentucky] on ESPN this Thursday night), but we're just saying that it looks like a passport might be needed for the Knights' last game of the season, so make sure yours is in order.

I don't like the fact that we'll be playing a MAC team like Bowling Green or Miami (not from Florida) if we head north, but I do like the fact that the bowl, like the Texas Bowl last year, is not named after a muffler joint or a corporate pizza chain. And I like the idea that we'll get to sing "O Canada!" before the opening kickoff.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's not too early to start making this year's bowl predictions

It may have been too early back in mid-August when a certain national magazine (which rhymes with "Warts Illustrated") picked the Scarlet Knights to play the Wolverines in the Rose Bowl.

But with one game left for the Knights against the Louisville Cardinals next Thursday, it's not too early to predict where we'll be travelling in the holiday season this year.

Please vote in the sidebar poll; tell us whether you think we should make our travel reservations for El Paso, Birmingham, Charlotte, Toronto, or somewhere else.

On, Ivan Maisel has the Knights playing Southern Miss in the PapaJohns Bowl and Mark Schlabach has the Knights playing Bowling Green in the International Bowl. CBS has the Knights playing Florida State in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. And Sports Illustrated seems to be stepping back from their pre-season Rutgers/Michigan matchup, with Stewart Mandel at also having Rutgers against Florida State in North Carolina.

So, what's your pick?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Breaking News about our next opponent, or why we love coaching chaos in Louisville

So first-year Louisville head coach Steve Kragthorpe held a news conference within the last hour stating unequivocally that "I'm not going anywhere." Wasn't the same thing said less than a year ago by a coach named Petrino who then deserted the team for the pleasure of coaching Michael Vick in Atlanta (ooops!)? It could be that S.K. meant simply that he's not going anywhere after the last game of the regular season (i.e., to a bowl game). But no matter what he meant, it certainly plays into the hands of the Scarlet Knights to be ending the season against a team whose players and fans are freely showing their dissension and depression about this disappointing season and their coaching uncertainty.
If you check in over at Card Chronicle or Inside the Ville later this afternoon, I don't think you'll find the same kind of joy about Kragthorpe's decision to stay that you found in New Jersey about Greg Schiano's decision to tell Miami to shove their job offer last year.
There may have been some people in Rutgers Stadium criticizing Greg Schiano's decisions during last week's squeaker against the Panthers, but I think we all know how lucky we are in the coaching department.

Riding into the Sunset

I couldn't resist running one more picture of Lord Espartero IV travelling off into the sunset with his scarlet rider to mark the end of his decade of service at Rutgers Stadium.
Of course you can tell from the green leaves and the short sleeves that this picture was not taken at 'Tero's last home game against Pittsburgh on November 17. It was actually taken by the front entrance of the Stadium before the first game on August 30, but it seemed appropriate

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vote for Rice for the Doak Walker

Ray Rice has now been named one of the three finalists for the Doak Walker award (along with Mike Hart and Darren McFadden) and you can vote here to give the award for the nation's best running back to your favorite Scarlet Knight.

Meet our friends over at Card Chronicle before the last game of the season

Our friends over at Card Chronicle, in today's weekly roundup of the top performers in the Big East, have Ray Rice's 121 yards against Pittsburgh in week twelve as only the #8 offensive performance of the week, but Ray is leading Pat White, Brian Brohm, Matt Grothe, and the rest with only a couple of games left for the offensive player of the year honors.
There are no Rutgers defensive players in the running for the yearly honors, but last week Kevin Malast was #9 for his 11 tackles and a sack, and Devin McCourty was #3 for his 4 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, and his game-sealing interception.
Rutgers was Team of the Week in this Card Chronicle wrap-up, not for the beauty of last week's win, but because last week's win guarantees a 2007 bowl appearance for the Scarlet Knights.
The Cardinals, especially at home, are still a very scary bunch even after this season's disappointments. I hope the Knights are prepared for Brohm and crew on the 29th.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Is there a better feeling in the world for a Rutgers football fan...

... than watching the team raise helmets and swords after a victory and singing the Alma Mater with the fans and students on a Saturday afternoon in November?

Just asking.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another Departure from Rutgers Stadium: Good Luck Tero!

I never actually knew that the horse below the Scarlet Knight had a name, but before the fourth quarter today, they announced that Lord Espartero IV ("Tero") was retiring after more than ten years. He received a wreath and a great hand from the crowd.
To return to the point of the last post, Tero has been around long enough to remember seven straight losing seasons before the 2005 turnaround. If he has to leave, it's nice to see him leaving as a winner.

The Scarlet Knights have their third winning season in a row

With the 20-16 win against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Stadium today, the Knights are now assured of their third winning season in a row, ending this season (counting the inevitable bowl appearance) somewhere between 7-6 and 9-4. Those young men standing together and watching the coin toss in the picture up above are the only current Scarlet Knights who can remember what it was like to end the season with a losing record. They are the only current Scarlet Knights who can remember what it was like to know that there would be no games played after the last regular season game. The only current Knights who remember how much worse a 4-7 record feels than a 7-4 record.

I mention this because I have heard from a number of people in the New York area (including some who were behind me in the stands today) who are disappointed in this year's version of the Knights. If they had any sense of history, they would realize how important it is that the Knights have just beaten the Panthers for the third time in a row -- this is a team that owned a 19-3 record against the Knights when these seniors were freshmen. These seniors helped double the number of wins the Knights hold in this long series in just three years. There are now high-school football recruits who think of Rutgers as a dominant team in the Big East, but there was a time not too long ago when no one would think to seriously mention the name of Rutgers in comparison to Pitt and Syracuse.

The Knights deserve praise for this turnaround. These seniors were a big part of it, and they'll be missed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Saturday is Senior Day at Rutgers Stadium, but will a certain Junior be playing his last home game as well?

Tara Sullivan entitles her column in The Record today "RU's Rice Should Go to NFL."

. . . Rice owes Rutgers nothing. He's not going to get any bigger or faster by playing one more season, but he surely will get a lot more tackled. And with one recent NFL Players Association report putting the average career of an NFL running back at 2.3 years (the lowest among all position groups and well below the 3.2 overall average), why wouldn't Rice want to start out as fresh and healthy as possible?
As one NFL executive put it recently, "Rice should go before Schiano gets him killed."

All that being said, and knowing that I would have personally had a great deal of trouble delaying a multi-million-dollar payday to spend another year On The Banks, I'd love to see Ray Rice follow Brian Leonard's example and come back to Rutgers for his senior season. He could be in the first class to go to four straight bowl games, he could raise the sword to direct the band in the Alma Mater on his Senior Day like Brian did last November versus Syracuse, and he could take another run at the Heisman trophy and the few remaining all-time Big East rushing records. But if he doesn't ... if he does do the logical thing for a talented man of limited financial means and start his professional career a year early, we can't blame him. We met a man from New Rochelle at last Friday's Army game who was sure that Ray will begin earning a big paycheck as soon as possible just because of the neighborhood he's from (and from which he wants to help his family escape). In any decision Ray makes, he is balancing noble motives against noble motives.

Whether he comes back for the 2008 season at Rutgers Stadium or not, we should cheer heartily every time number 27 touches the ball on Saturday against Pittsburgh. Cheer as if it may be the last time that we're privileged to see the sight on Rutgers' home field.

All that being said, Don't Go Ray.



Vote for Ray for the Heisman Here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rutgers vs. Pittsburgh (the 2005 version) was a turning point

Click Here for a great recap by Aditi Kinkhabwala of the last meeting between the Panthers and the Scarlet Knights at R House on Friday, September 30, 2005.

The win marked the first time Rutgers (3-1, 1-0) won its league opener in 11 years. It was the first time the Scarlet Knights took out Pitt (1-4, 0-1) in seven years, the first time they've won three games in a row in 13 years and the first time they refused to allow the old trappings of Rutgers football to wholly trap them.
For those of us who were there that night, it certainly seemed, along with the Michigan State game the year before, like a turning point for our Knights. And as with the Michigan State game the year before, we saw the lucky banner unfurled in the stands:
The biggest fan-made sign across from Pitt's bench read "Beat Visitor" . . .
Her article also reminds us how many young players who are still on the team made important contributions in that pivotal victory. Tiquan Underwood played quarterback for a number of snaps, switching places with Ryan Hart at the last minute (Ryan took Tiquan's place at wide receiver) and running a Jabu Lovelace-type shotgun offense that caught the Pitt defense (and many of us in the stands) totally off guard. Glen Lee made a memorable fumble-inducing hit on an early kickoff. Jeremy Ito kicked three field goals. "Mike Teel of Oakland" moved the team from the RU 9 to the Pitt 46 on one series. And, it isn't mentioned in her article but a kid named Ray Rice carried 15 times for 114 yards, his first hundred-yard game of many.

Today's Brain Teaser

Complete This Sequence:

W - W - W - L - L - W - W - L - L - W - ?? - ??

This Saturday is the last chance in 2007 to Beat a Visitor at Rutgers Stadium

Of course, when we say "beat a visitor" we are referring to the metaphorical beating that takes place on the scoreboard.

I found a great story about our wonderful neighbors down the Pike in Philly who take the phrase a tad more literally.

This is from an undated interview from The Pittsburgh Standard between Ramesh C. Reddy and the person in the Pitt Panther costume (shhh, don't tell your kids the Panther's not a real wild predatory feline!!):

Ramesh: Cool! What has been a memory you would like to forget as a Pitt Panther?
Panther: Memory I would like to forget? (Hmm) Every year I go to Temple and I always go up into the crowd because I am from Lancaster and have a lot of family and friends that go to that game. The crowd there is really intense; they are mean people, really mean to the mascot. I went up in the stands to see some family and would go around and make my rounds. There must have been a group of 12 kids that just beat me up.
Ramesh: Awe
Panther: Yeah, I guess that would be probably the memory I would like to forget. This year was not that bad but the year before I got beat up pretty bad.
Ramesh: Awe man! Did your uniform come off?
Panther: Yeah, my head blew off
Ramesh: Awe, that is not good!
Panther: I guess Temple would be the only time it happened. I just lay down and took it.
Ramesh: Awe
Panther: I covered my face and curled up. That’s about all I could do.
Ramesh: Did anyone come and rescue you?
Panther: Eventually! It took time but eventually some Pitt fans saw what was happening, ran down and helped me out.

I think I can speak for my fellow fans at Rutgers Stadium when I pledge that we will keep our hands off the person wearing the plush feline head this weekend. The people wearing gold helmets, however, are on their own.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Who'll Stop the Rain?

I hoped to get some nice pictures of Michie Stadium and the Corps of Cadets to illustrate this entry about last night's tournament of traditional gridiron skills between the Black Knights of the Hudson and the Scarlet Knights of the Raritan, but, as with the West Virginia game, I didn't feel like sacrificing my camera to the rain (and snow last night), so here's an appropriate picture taken before this season's USF game back in October.

It was obviously the Ray Rice show up at West Point last night with his school-record-breaking 243 yards and fifth game of 200+ yards. He now has 1,500 yards on the season with Pittsburgh and Louisville still to come.

But it was also at least partially the Jabu Lovelace show. He was the starting quarterback for every offensive touchdown in last night's 41-6 victory and he was in the game long enough -- between Mike Teel's 1st-quarter start and Chris Paul-Etienne's 4th-quarter mopping up -- to show a mix of play calls. Of course, given the weather conditions and the game situation, it was mostly a variety of rushing plays, but he even had one great long ball thrown to Tim Brown in the end zone that was only called back because Tim had placed a foot out of bounds on his dash down the sideline.

It was also a great defensive performance. The defense did not allow a single point or one sustained drive. The six points that Army put on the board were given to them via a sideline interception thrown by Mike Teel (quarterback rating 2.1 on 1 of 4 passing last night) in the first quarter. The coaches seriously need to think about finally giving Jabu Lovelace his first start next Saturday against Pitt. If Mike Teel's thumb isn't fully healed in the next week, they'd be stupid to do otherwise.

The most amazing statistic of last night's victory comes from the article about the game on stating that this is the "...first road victory in the month of November since the 1998 season and the first of the Greg Schiano era." For long-time fans, one of the of the best things about the last three years is seeing these ugly monkeys falling from the back of the Knights.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's Anniversary Week at Rutgers

1766 - - This Saturday, November 10th, will mark the 241st anniversary of William Franklin's granting a charter for Queen's College, named in honor of Charlotte, George III's Queen Consort (who also gave her name to Charlottesville, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina). William Franklin was not only the Provincial Governor of New Jersey, but also the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. The name change honoring Henry Rutgers came in 1825.

1869-- Yesterday, November 6th, marked the 138th anniversary of the first intercollegiate football game held on the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick. There will be thousands and thousands of college football victories in the years to come, but only one school - - our school -- can lay claim to the first intercollegiate football victory. The fact that it came over those snobs down the road in Princeton (yes, they were snooty even then), makes this date even sweeter.

2006-- This Friday, November 9th, marks the first anniversary of the football team's explosion onto the national stage with the emotional come-from-behind Thursday night defeat of #3 Louisville at Rutgers Stadium. Let's all celebrate this year up at West Point.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

See You All at Michie Stadium on Friday at 8pm -- Wear Red to the Game

There are still tickets available at ScarletKnights. com for this Friday night's game between the Black Knights of Army and the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, a series of jousts that dates back to 1891, the second year that they were playing football at West Point (The Black Knights lead the series 18-15, but the Scarlet Knights are on a three-game winning streak).
The Army website is calling for a "Blackout" at Michie Stadium, so be sure to get some scarlet outerwear if you're driving up to West Point for the game.
I hope to see you there, and Go Knights! (you know which ones we mean)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

With Three Minutes Left, I'm Glad I Can't See it on TV

Mike Teel has just thrown his traditional game- ending interception with 3 minutes left according to the internet gamecasts I have on my screen, so we'll be lucky if it's "only" a 38-19 loss tonight.

I don't know what to say, maybe the Huskies really are a good team, having beaten Louisville, USF, and the Knights in successive weeks. If they do represent the Big East in a BCS bowl, I hope they do us proud (so why do I have this sneaky feeling that they're going to lose to Syracuse on November 17).

It's official, the game's over with no change in score. Teel ended up passing for 343 yards, but the important stat is the Zero TDs/One Pick statistic. The team seemed to be moving the bars on the GameCast and the GameTracker well until they got within striking distance of an end zone.

At The Half in Storrs

At the Half, all I have is stats

Passing Yards
RU 179 UConn 77
Rushing Yards
RU 128 UConn 73
Total Yards
RU 307 UConn 150
Time of Possession
RU 20:41 UConn 9:19
UConn 25 RU 16

Those 9 points scored by UConn on Special Teams, 2 on a blocked punt safety on the first possession of the game, and 7 on a kickoff return, are the difference as halftime comes to an end.
It looks like the Knights just have to move the ball like they moved it in the first half (though they need to stop settling for field goals once they drive into the red zone).

Reason #16 for the Knights to Beat the Huskies Tonight

REASON #16: They are in our spot!
The Scarlet Knights started the year at number 16 in both the AP poll of August 18 and the the Coaches Poll of August 3. They also spent a week at 15, 13, 11, 10, 21, and 25 this fall, but now some usurping puppies from Storrs, Connecticut, have come from nowhere to take our number 16 in week 10 of the AP poll (and 20 in the Coaches, and 13 in the BCS[!]), so we're coming up there tonight to take it back.

REASON #15: The man in green to your left.
I have a feeling that if Mike Teel gets into any trouble with overthrowing the ball tonight up in the Nutmeg State, then this might be the night that the football world (or at least that miniscule part of it that receives ESPNU) will get its first real glimpse of Jabu Lovelace in something more extended than a one- or two-play appearance or in a mopping up role in a blowout (though that would be nice too). I still can't help thinking that, given the chance, the backfield of Lovelace and Rice could look very similar to the backfield of White and Slaton.

As annoying as it is to see the Huskies leaping up the rankings and holding tenaciously to the Big East lead as we enter November, it is great to see the Scarlet Knights in the thick of the national football picture, with a chance to play a nationally-ranked team for the third week in a row. If our team can end this stretch winning two of those three games (and then keep it up against Army, Pittsburgh, and Louisville), we'll be playing someone more impressive than Kansas State at a location more impressive than the Texas Bowl at the end of the year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Here's an artistic representation of what most of us in New Jersey and Connecticut will see if we try to find the Scarlet Knights and the Huskies on our home television screens this Saturday.

It has been suggested that we all head to bars to watch the game on something called ESPNU, but wouldn't it be better if they could just play all the games in Rutgers Stadium? I've got a couple of seats there.

ESPNU actually is on the Rutgers cable system, so they'll be showing the game in the student centers, but up in Storrs they're really mad at the virtual cable blackout just when their team has been nationally ranked for the first time in its history.

Greg Schiano probably put this in its proper perspective though: "If we're 8-0, we're not on ESPNU," he said. "You make your own bed." (quote taken from Aditi Kinkhabwala's Scarlet Knights Newzer)