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)

Are you intimidated.....

. . . by the little white doggy? Yeah, maybe if it had rabies. Or if Mike Vick were training it. I feel great about this weekend's game at UCONN. Could I be wrong? Sure. But I don't think I am. This is a great matchup for Rutgers. After facing two mobile quarterbacks in the last two weeks, our knights get to face a QB who THINKS he can run and generally sticks to short, dink dunk passes. Rutgers needs to cover the flats on D and they should be fine. I'm more concerned with the run defense on Saturday than anything else. If I could name anybody who actually plays for UCONN, I could give more insight on the RU defensive strategy, but I can't. The Huskies have seemingly relied on their D all year, carrying them to wins over such stalwarts like DUKE, MAINE, TEMPLE, PITTSBURGH, and AKRON. If that schedule hasn't yet melted the BCS computers, it soon may. They beat Louisville on an absolute bullshit touchdown, so really, the only legitimate win was against USF. Despite the win, UCONN's "great" defense held USF to ONLY 440 yards of total offense. They are a playmaking, red zone defense, employing a bend but don't break defensive style. The USF game would have been closer except for the fact that USF's kicker is the worst in D1-A Football, but what's done is done. Raymell should have a great game against UCONN, as always. None of this Huck the Fuskies business, either. I want blood this week. I'm sick of losing. 3 is enough. We gotta chop chop chop chop chop.

FUCK the Huskies.

The St. Louis Rams are winless. Let's win one for Brian.

This Week's Injury Report

According to all my sources, Mike Teel's thumb is hurting. Badly. He can play Saturday, and probably will play Saturday, but if it gets any worse, expect him to miss some time at some point. In the event of a blowout in either direction, expect Jabu to come in fairly early to give Mike some time to think about the next interception he's gonna throw. He is getting less reps in practice, as is Offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah, who has an undisclosed injury. Ron Girault, who was in uniform but did not play against West Virginia, WILL play against UCONN, this according to a source close to the team.

In the good news department, though he will miss the rest of the season and post season, Kordell Young is off crutches and will begin running again soon, according to one of his teammates.

Huck the Fuskies.

The SI on Campus Tailgate Report Card for Rutgers is Out

Click here or on the screen shot to read the entire report card from Andrew Reed released yesterday afternoon. Without giving it all away, it seems that we need to work on our selection of alcoholic beverages and use more bodypaint. Maybe alcohol facilitates the application of more bodypaint?? Never thought of that!!

Though the season is far from over and a sweep of the next four games could put the Knights in a very respectable bowl game, is anyone else more than a little bummed that we only have one more home game at R House on November 17th against Pittsburgh at which to try to pull up our tailgating grades? Where did the season go?

And what exactly does Andrew Reed find so distasteful about being herded like cattle to board a shuttle bus that takes 45 minutes to move 3 blocks on its way back to the parking lots at the RAC at the end of the game? Do other schools do it any differently?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Willie was silent on reasons for the failure of the Knights against the Mountaineers today (for the 13th straight time)

The rain stopped and the sun came out at the end of the game, so we went by the College Avenue campus to commune with the most famous statue on the Mall. But William the Silent, Count of Nassau and Prince of Orange, Father of his Fatherland and Founder of the United States of the Netherlands, had no answers about today's 31-3 loss to the Mountaineers (the 13th in a row).

Except for rare flashes, we as fans let our team down at the Stadium today. Many of us, maybe using this famous statue on the mall as our role model, or letting our spirits be drowned by the driving downpour that continued through most of the first half, didn't give our team the vocal support they deserve.

Also, I think the all black uniforms are probably bad luck. Ditch 'em.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Importance of this Saturday

  • This Saturday's game is about much more than just saving some porch furniture from the torches of celebrating Mountaineer fans.
  • This Saturday's game is about more than avenging last year's triple-overtime loss that kept the Knights out of the Orange Bowl.
  • It's about more than the dozen straight losses and the fact that Rutgers will never be taken seriously as a Big East power until they show they can do more than almost beat the Mountaineers.
  • The importance of this Saturday's game is simple. It's not about 2006 or 2004 or 2001; it's about the 2007 season, where the Knights once again have their fate entirely in their own hands. If they win this game and the rest of their Big East games, they win the Big East (period); the team that beat them, Cincinnati, already has two losses. If the Mountaineers were to win on Saturday, they would still need help from another Big East team to beat the USF team that owns the tiebreaker against them.
Our job is the same job that we had during the South Florida game, to make as much noise as possible. There's at least one West Virginia source wondering if R House can be as loud on a Saturday afternoon as it can on a Thursday night, if we can get as worked up at noon to beat a #6 team as we did at 8pm to beat a #2 team. If that team is the West Virginia Mountaineers, a team with whom the Knights have more recent history than the USF Bulls have history (period), then we can't get loud for anyone. I had friends on the crew team when I was On the Banks who were told by their coach that you didn't row hard enough if you didn't toss your cookies into the Raritan after each practice. Well, you didn't yell loud enough on Saturday if you can still speak to your friends and family in anything other than a painful croak on the walk to the parking lot. Your vocal cords should feel like they're bleeding bright scarlet (just like the ears of the women and children who were standing in front of you). Yes, please show The Charleston Gazette, and the Mountaineers, that Rutgers Stadium can be just as loud in the daylight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Some West Virginia Fan Blogs

In case you want to get to know the neighbors wearing blue and gold (and coonskin) in Section 101 on Saturday at noon, here are a few on-line clues for you all:

New Big East powers Cincinnati and USF don't seem to have any independent web presences, but the traditional programs at Syracuse and West Virginia have grown a humorous and organic presence on the web, written by fans who love their teams.

Let's remember to show our hospitality on Saturday. Cheer real loud whenever their offense is out there trying not to get thrown for a loss.

Go Knights! (Save some innocent porch furniture from the torch!)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Déjà vu, or Didn't We Just Rush the Field on a Thursday Night After Beating a Team Ranked in the Top Three?

Two days ago, it was too much to hope that we would see a repeat of last November's Louisville game, but the defense that showed up and shut the door on Grothe in the second half was just as impressive as the defense that shut down Brohm a little less than a year ago. There may have been a smidgen less unrestrained joy and surprise on the faces of those who rushed the field, but maybe it's because we're becoming more and more sure of our Knights' ability to defend R House against any and all comers (that means you, you 'neers; see you in a week!).

Ray Rice's Mom & a Fan, 18 October 2007. Ray's mom had no doubt about the outcome on her way into the Stadium last night, posing and chatting with all of her well wishers. The trick plays and Tiquan Underwood receptions were great and exciting, but the heart of the offense was Ray Rice and his 181 yards. To do this against a defense that hadn't allowed anyone to gain 100 yards against them in the last 14 games (since Ray gained 202 yards against them last year) showed that there was nothing "fluky" about this win against the #2 team in the country. Ray had averaged 180 rushing yards in his previous two games against this Bulls team and he matched his average almost exactly. He was also an active and effective blocker, helping to keep Mike Teel from being sacked by this sack-happy line, when he wasn't carrying the ball. He may not have gotten a touchdown yesterday, but you'll start seeing Ray's name in Heisman discussions again, especially next Saturday at noon, when he takes the field opposite Pat White and Steve Slaton.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I hope to see you all at The Birthplace of College Football tonight

I'll be the one wearing scarlet and screaming real loud. You won't be able to miss me.

We've got to get those people in the center seats (you know the ones I mean, the sections that actually have red aluminum backrests) up off their rears and making some eardrum-shattering screams while the Knights are on defense tonight. Really, is being 85 and having been a season-ticket holder since 1955 (the year before the University of South Florida was founded, and 42 years before they had a football team) any excuse for not acting like a maniac and hollering yourself hoarse at a game of this magnitude.

The least they can do is participate fully in the antiphonal R and U screams, and learn to chant the following at the correct point in The Bells Must Ring after each score: R U rah rah! R U rah rah! / Hoo-rah Hoo-rah Rutgers rah! / Upstream Red Team / Red Team Upstream / Rah Rah Rutgers Rah! Let's show the bullfans wearing green and gold what real football tradition looks and sounds like.

Does this feel exactly like the anticipation leading up to the Louisville game last November 9th, or what? I don't know how I'm going to make it through the next six hours.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Joe Lefeged's Big Hits

Do you think that Matt Grothe has seen this clip yet? If he sees it before Thursday night, he'll be looking for number 26 out of the corner of his eye all night long.

He's not a starter, but true freshman safety Joe Lefeged won Big East defensive player of the week honors for his play last Saturday even though he has left the coaches of Syracuse and Maryland crying about his hard hits on their quarterbacks.
What's so amazing about the hit shown above is the way the ball squirts out. The sack was so arresting that no one (other than a couple of alert RU linemen) seemed to even notice the ball. The cameras and directors during the game only seemed to notice that RU had recovered the ball as an afterthought.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Déjà vu, or Didn't We Just Have a Team in the Top Three Playing in Rutgers Stadium on a Thursday Night?

9 November 2006. There's some FieldTurf under there somewhere.

The school whose most famous alumnus invented the Sledge-O-Matic® for squirting watermelon juice on ponchoed audience members is bringing the youngest team in college football to The Birthplace of College Football this Thursday for yet another nationally-televised ESPN game between the Knights and a team ranked in the top three.

We know that what happened against the #3 Louisville Cardinals last year is a real possibility against the #2/#3 USF Bulls this year, but it's important for those of us in the stands to do our part as well!

And speaking of déjà vu, didn't we already beat a team called the Bulls (albeit a team with more tradition and history) on a Thursday night earlier this season??

By the way, Gallagher will be unsheathing his Sledge-O-Matic® just down Route 18 from Rutgers at Monmouth University in West Long Branch on the 19th, so maybe he'll be at the game on the 18th, inspiring the Bulls and Bullfans with his antics. Of course, Gallagher graduated from USF in 1969 -- 28 years before his alma mater played its first intercollegiate football game (and 100 years after Rutgers and Princeton played the first) -- so he may not even know his old school has a team.

Friday, October 12, 2007

How many times did you hear, "He won't be able to do that in the NFL?"

He not only did it in the preseason against the Raiders, but he did it last week in a real game against the Cardinals (in which he had 102 yards rushing and 33 receiving).
I wish he were still doing it for the Scarlet Knights.

What's at stake in tomorrow's game versus Syracuse, or Who is "New York's College Team"?

On at least two occasions in the past year, during the Louisville game on November 9, 2006 and during the NCAA women's finals in early April 2007, the Empire State Building has been bathed in a scarlet glow in honor of the teams across the Hudson at Rutgers. The Knights' games are prominently featured on the nightly news of all the New York city stations, and even the New York Times has partially abandoned its traditional preference for Ivy League football to deign to talk about the teams of New Jersey's great public university. There is a real sense working in and around New York that Rutgers is New York's college team. Their recent losses are as much a topic of conversation as their wins. I don't know how many times I've heard the Maryland and Cincinnati disappointments lumped in with the recent Mets and Yankees collapses. You know that a team has worked its way into the city's psyche when the pain of its defeats are felt as strongly as its successes are celebrated.

So, why does the Syracuse University athletics website claim the name "New York's College Team" for themselves? They even have a large picture of the big copper lady who sits a few feet off the Jersey City shoreline prominently displayed over a NYC skyline in this header on their football page.

There definitely was a time when the closest successful football program to New York City was four hours away in western New York State (closer to Canada than to the Empire State Building) rather than 30 miles away on the Turnpike, but that time may be over. Games like tomorrow's are important in establishing the prominence of the Scarlet over the Orange. This is important not just for the bragging rights and the color of the light filters on the Empire State, but because Rutgers needs to continue winning the New York recruiting wars for the future Brian Leonards and Ray Rices (both of whom could easily have been wearing Orange).

Monday, October 8, 2007

ABC: "Hey, we can be as racist and sexist as the next major American network!"

It's nice to see that Don Imus has paid his debt by getting a 6-month vacation and $20 million payoff from his former employers.
Now that we've all forgotten what he said on April 4th about the very young and talented women of Rutgers whose only sin was making it to the televised NCAA finals, ABC is free to prove that it can support racism and sexism for profit just as much as its identical siblings CBS and NBC.
"Only," as Don King likes to say, "in America."
If this is really were a free speech issue (which, of course, it's not), rather than an argument about what kind of lucrative speech all three of the major American networks choose to broadcast on the airwaves handed to them in trust by the public, then we should be free to chant FUCK IMUS at every Rutgers athletic event at which ABC or its child ESPN are present.
But, of course it won't come to that, since this is only a rumor, and ABC (and its corporate overlord, Mickey Mouse), would never allow this to really happen.

It's been over a year since the Knights have been unranked

Last year, on September 23rd during week 5 of the season, the 4-0 Scarlet Knights began their most recent appearance in the national polls, at 23 in both the AP and Coaches polls. They stayed in both polls from 9/23/06 until this past Sunday, 10/7/07, hitting highs of 7 in the 2006 poll and 10 in the 2007 poll. The end of this year-long streak is worth commemorating here simply because the Scarlet Knights have never had anywhere near this kind of run of national prominence in their long history.

That being said, this season isn't over. This important month isn't over. October could easily end with the Knights in a position much higher in the polls than "Other teams receiving votes".

There are three games left in October. Two of them at home against teams that are currently ranked in the top ten.

  • A win against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome next Saturday probably won't get the Knights back into the top 25 unless it's another week of carnage among the ranked (but a win, of course, is absolutely necessary).
  • A win against #5/5 South Florida at home on the 18th on Thursday-night TV will definitely move the Knights back into the national rankings, maybe into the teens (assuming, of course, that RU had taken care of business against the Orange 5 days earlier).
  • Following up a win over USF with a win against #8/9 West Virginia on the 27th would definitely have them ranked back in the teens with a good chance of taking the Big East crown (and the conference's BCS bowl).

This season is far from over.

Go Knights!

(And since I started this entry by mentioning last season's success, I have to mention that last season's star, Brian Leonard, had 102 yards rushing on 18 carries & 33 receiving on five catches for the St. Louis Rams yesterday. If they had been winning rather than losing, maybe he would have had the opportunity to run even more at the end of the game. Go Rams! )

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ryan Hart was at the Stadium yesterday.

Unfortunately, Ryan wasn't suited up and wearing number 13 when the need came for a quarterback to throw something other than an interception during a key drive.

In regard to Friday's posting, I just want to say that no part of last night's loss to Cincinnati can be blamed on the crowd. I didn't have a decibel meter, but I can't believe that the crowd wasn't at least as loud as the crowd at the Louisville game last November. There wasn't a person there who didn't realize the importance of every game this month.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The quote of the day, and a challenge to everyone at the Stadium tomorrow night

Here's the quote from ESPN.com today:

"We went up there two years ago, and it was not a very good environment," said Bearcats senior safety Haruki Nakamura, recalling a 44-9 loss. "They're pretty brutal fans. Their student section is very proud of their program -- very loud, very hostile. I mean, it's one of those atmospheres we were yearning for at the University of Cincinnati."

"Pretty brutal." "Very proud." "Very loud." "Very hostile." Isn't this exactly the way we want every visiting player to feel about their visits to R house? Is there any reason we shouldn't cultivate the famous (or infamous) attitude demonstrated by the fans at a professional football field a little ways south of New Brunswick in Philadelphia? A lot is written in the national press about Rutgers being a satellite of New York City, but everybody who has ever gone to school on the banks of the Raritan knows that there's also a whiff of Philly cheese steak in the air in Central New Jersey. A number of us finished high school in South Jersey and rooted for the Eagles before we went to the school we sometimes called "Rutgers North" to differentiate it from its satellite campus in Camden.

The last time the Bearcats were in Rutgers Stadium in 2005, the atmosphere seemed fairly good-natured to me (& certainly not as brutal, loud, and hostile as it can sometimes become). It wasn't quite sold out. And there was only one student section in one corner of the Stadium. Now it's always sold out. And there is a second student bleacher section behind the goal line at what was the "open" end of the field until last November.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. And Go Knights!

Neither a Bear nor a Cat, or A few facts about this Saturday's opponent

A Bearcat, also known as a Binturong (Arctictis binturong) from the order Carnivora and family Viverrida, is neither (as we said in the title) a bear nor a cat. There are no viverrids living in the Americas, but they resemble wolverines and badgers (although no bearcats are playing in the Big Ten).

Two fun facts from the Binghamton Zoo website: "... scent glands are located in such a position that as the animal moves through the trees, the gland drags on branches, leaving a trail of scent behind (the odor is said to be similar to that of popcorn). " & "Females' genitals are similar in appearance to the males."

Why did the University of Cincinnati pick this Asian racoon as its mascot? Was every other carnivore taken? (Actually, there's a good reason involving a player named Leonard "Teddy" Baehr in the UC Traditions section of this page from Buckeyeplanet.com where it is also pointed out the University of Cincinnati has the fifth oldest football program in the top division of college football, after only Rutgers, Michigan, Navy, and Minnesota).

The most important streak coming into tomorrow night's game is the Bearcats' eight-game winning streak, which began at Nippert Stadium last November 18 when they beat our 9-0 Knights by a score of 30-11. That game, not the close overtime loss to West Virginia on December 2, was the game that lost the Big East title for Rutgers in 2006. Who's the newly-ranked overconfident undefeated visitor this year?
If the Scarlet Knights aren't ready for the Bearcats tomorrow, then they'll never be ready for anybody in 2007. They certainly won't be ready for the next two ranked visitors coming to Piscataway in October.

Monday, October 1, 2007

October 2007 could be THE most important month in the Scarlet Knights' long history

With four conference games in October, three of them at home against the other three ranked teams in the conference (and the fourth game, the first road game of the year, against an Orange team that rose to the occasion against Louisville two weeks ago), this is the month that will determine the Knights' placement in the Big East and in the national polls. Four wins in October will almost guarantee at least a share of the Big East title and a return to the top ten. It will prove to the football world (for at least four weeks) that last Saturday's loss to Maryland was a fluke and not a confirmation that Rutgers belongs in the middle to lower tiers of D1 football and that 2006 was an aberration that needs correction.
  • A win against #20/24 Cincinnati next week would move the Knights back up into the teens.

  • A win against Syracuse on the 13th probably wouldn't do anything positive to their standing (but a loss to Syracuse would knock them out of the top 25).

  • A win against #6/9 South Florida at home on the 18th on Thursday-night TV would move the Knights back up into the top ten.

  • A win against #13/12 West Virginia would put them into all the BCS bowl discussions and solidify their place in the middle of the top ten.

  • Losing any of these games would probably drop them out of the top 25. Losing any two of them would drop them out of the top 25 for the season.
I don't want to put too much pressure on the Scarlet Knights, but, considering the stakes, can you think of a month in this team's long history that has been more pivotal?