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).