Sunday, July 29, 2007

Like the Day Before Christmas

With a month and a day to go before the home opener at Rutgers Stadium on August 30, I'm anxious to get my season tickets in my hands.
Luckily, I just found the envelope in which last year's tickets arrived; it was postmarked July 28, 2006. So, does that mean my 2007 tickets could already be in the hands of the US Postal Service as I write this? I'll let you know when they arrive (or maybe you'll just hear shouts of pure joy, and chants of Upstream Red Team!, coming from all around New Jersey as fans open their mailboxes next week).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We're Number Seventy!!, or A quick reminder of how far the Scarlet Knights have come

Memory can be a funny thing, the way it tries to erase past pain. It's easy to forget, when looking at the coming year's preseason rankings, how far our Knights in Scarlet Armor have come in the last few years. reminds us today by announcing numbers 51-74 in their ranking of the 119 Division I-A football teams over the past decade. Rutgers comes in at number 70, with a .339 winning percentage (39-76) over that span. How low would their ranking be, and how much lower would their winning percentage be without last year's 11-2 campaign? Would the Knights be down in the nineties? Or in the triple digits with Temple and Duke and Buffalo?

In the accompanying article by Bruce Feldman about these midlist teams, the Knights are recognized as a team on their way up:
Of the group of teams in this part of the list, I think there are seven programs with a shot at really moving up: Minnesota (T-52), Pitt (T-52), Washington (T-52), Michigan State (55), North Carolina (67), South Florida (58) and Rutgers (70). If I had to pick three with the best shot of sticking, I'd go with Pitt, UNC and Rutgers.
Rutgers is obviously the farthest along. The Scarlet Knights have a growing fan base. They have strong connections in both the Northeast and Florida. They have a hot coach who sounds as if he is going to be around for a long time. And they are beginning to reap the benefits of their success because they are getting better-caliber prospects out of south Florida and they have begun to fend off the big boys for the best in-state players (namely, prized OT Anthony Davis and OLB Manny Abreu).

Notice though that it's not just the Knights on their way up, it's also the Big East, with USF and Pitt also poised to move into the top tier. The competition's going to be tough for years to come.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Rutgers Football '07 Kickoff Celebration

This postcard with a picture of All-American Eric Foster was waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home from work today.
On Sunday August 5th at 5-7pm, there will be one more chance to see the Scarlet Knights in Rutgers Stadium before the opening game against the University of Buffalo on August 30th.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Isn't it just a little bit ironic that an attack on big-time sports at Rutgers is being published by Penn State University Press??

If it weren't for big-time college football, would anyone outside of the Keystone State even know there was a Penn State University?

Confessions of a Spoilsport: My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University, by William C. Dowling will be published by Penn State University Press at the end of this week. Some Rutgers football fans may remember Professor Dowling as the leader of a group known as Rutgers 1000 that opposed the entry of Rutgers into the Big East. The group didn't call for an end to intercollegiate athletics at RU, but they felt that the athletic program should be kept in its extracurricular place; they pictured the State University of New Jersey joining the small colleges of the Patriot League and bringing back a golden age of uncommercial competition between true student-athletes. In the years directly preceding Brian Leonard and Greg Schiano, William Dowling probably earned more ink for Rutgers football in the pages of the New York Times than anyone else.

I have a confession to make too. As someone who attended classes On the Banks when our football competition was Princeton, Columbia (OK, Columbia was NEVER competition; they were just an easy 72-0 win), Bucknell, Lehigh, et al., and as a Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts graduate whose pride in Rutgers has always been primarily an academic pride, I saw the point that this group was making. I was on their mailing list. I believed . . . I still believe, that big-time sports can corrupt a university and cause it to lose its core educational values. But, I don't believe that big-time sports have to be a corrupting influence. I believe that schools like Penn State and Rutgers can help show that you don't have to sink to the level of some of our great southern and midwestern football factories in order to compete. Joe Paterno and Greg Schiano can help show the country the way a college football program should be run. And as fans, we can take as much pride in our league-leading APR as we can in our star running backs and receivers. We should continue to hold our team to those high standards, and let the school know that athletic success is great, but not at any cost, and certainly not at the cost of our academic soul.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Have you voted in this Heisman Hopeful Poll?

Look at this "Heisman Hopefuls for 2007 Season" article on, and then look at these current poll results in a snapshot taken at 4:45pm on 7/13/07. It looks like Ray Rice may have some fans outside of New Jersey.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"When You Ain't Got Nothing, You Got Nothing to Lose"

Bob Dylan could be giving advice to the Buffalo Bulls in this line from "Like a Rolling Stone."

Is anyone else just a little nervous about this opening game on August 30th? My season tickets didn't even come in the mail yet, but I'm already getting a little knot in my stomach.

When I see these predicted results for the 2007 Buffalo Bulls in this preview page from, I can't help thinking that this is a desperate team with nothing at all to lose -- and the world to gain -- by pulling out all stops, using all its tricks, and playing over its head against a highly-ranked Rutgers team.

A team that's being shown such complete preseason disrespect -- "hey, maybe you'll win one . . . against Temple" -- can be a dangerous team. A Rutgers team that was treated lightly shocked the football world at the beginning of the 2004 season by beating Michigan State. And, of course, those same Scarlet Knights lost to New Hampshire in their second game of the 2004 season. That's what scares me. The Knights won't have any trouble getting up for Louisville and West Virginia, but they can't ignore the New Hampshires and Cincinnatis and Buffalos and Norfolk States on their road to a third-straight bowl bid.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Former Scarlet Knight Reggie Stephens, a.k.a. Famouz, a.k.a. FMZ

Reggie Stephens is on the Scarlet Knights leaders' list for a 94-yard kickoff return against Miami on 11/15/97. He's all over the web this week for a debut hip-hop album, Ghetto Passport, coming out this fall.

Against the Spread

It's July already, and the first game at the Stadium will be in August, so I did a Google search for news articles about Rutgers football this afternoon. I stumbled upon this article in SBR This is the first time I've seen an article about the Scarlet Knights' success against the spread in 2006:

The struggle to be considered among the elite conferences in college football was a boon for Big East bettors: 55-37-3 against the spread, led by the scrappy Rutgers Scarlet Knights at 8-3-1 (70.8 percent) ATS. Will the boys from Old Queens turn another big profit in 2007? Or will another surprise club sneak away with the cash?
Is it really just a "coincidence" that Tony Soprano is there at every Rutgers game? Of course the Knights will continue to beat the spread this year, starting on August 30.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

See SiCKO this weekend if you haven't seen it yet.


There's nothing better to do (i.e., the Scarlet Knights don't play their first game until August 30).

There's no better movie in the multiplexes right now.

It will piss off all the right right-wing people if you help to make it a hit.

And Michigan-boy Michael Moore wears a scarlet Rutgers University cap as he tours hospitals in England and crosses the Seine on the Pont Alexandre III. Having gone to the Rutgers program in Tours, I'm always glad to see the Scarlet and Black represented in the City of Light . . . the Banks of the Raritan brought to the Banks of the Seine.

Thanks Mike.

And Go Knights! (Red in more ways than one)