Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here's to the Pitt Panthers

The Panthers have two important games starting at two this afternoon.

  • We'll be rooting hard for their football team to win the Sun Bowl in El Paso versus the Beavers of Oregon State to keep the Big East's bowl record perfect at 4-0.

  • But we'll be hoping that the bowl distracts them enough for their #3 ranked basketball team to fall to Mike Rosario and the Knights of the Hardwood at the RAC in today's Big East opener.

  • Do they have students in plush cat suits at sports venues in Texas and New Jersey today? Or will one of these games be without their frightening mascot?

    --update @ 2:55pm e.s.t.: At the end of the 1st quarter at the Sun Bowl, it's Pittsburgh 0--Oregon State 0. Go Panthers! And at the end of the 1st half in at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, it's #3 Pittsburgh 39--Unranked Rutgers 43. Go Knights!

    We can only hope that, like the football team, the Rutgers basketball team got all its losses out of the way early in the season. But there are major differences. In roundball, the loss to North Carolina is not as embarassing, and the early losses don't count at all by the end of the season.

    --update @ 3:45pm e.s.t.: THIS IS ALL WRONG PANTHERS. At halftime in El Paso, you should be winning, not losing by 3! And what's the deal in New Jersey? You decide with five minutes left that it's time to take your largest (6-point) lead of the day?? THIS IS ALL WRONG.

    --update at 4:10pm : It's still halftime in El Paso with the Beavers using their mighty incisors to hang on to a three point lead, but at the RAC it's all over with Pitt winning by 6, 78-72. So that's the #1 and #3 teams in the country beating the Scarlet Knights in consecutive games with #2, UConn, up next. Rough week for the basketball Knights (and now I'm not rooting that hard for the football Panthers anymore).

    -- final in El Paso: You lost 3-0 to the Oregon State Beavers?? Now we need Cincy and UConn to win their bowls to salvage a 5-1 Big East Bowl record. (Update January 2: OK, except for one play, Cinncinnati looked as offensively inept against Virginia Tech as the Panthers did against Oregon State, so now it's up to UConn to salvage a 4-2 Big East Bowl record.)

    Monday, December 29, 2008

    Decisions Decisions

    With the Knights down 17-6 at 5pm, is it better to keep watching the Pizza Bowl on a little ESPN360 window on my office computer? Or should I leave for a watering hole where there may be a flatscreen TV on the wall and libations with which to celebrate a come-from-behind victory or soften a loss?

    update @ 5:29 est: OK, the Scarlet Knights reduced the deficit from 11 to 1 in the first few minutes of the second half, so I guess I'm stuck here at the office for the rest of the game. But man, I wish that Anthony Davis to Tiquan Underwood pass had worked!

    update @ 5:48 est: Why wait until there's less than 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter before giving Martinek his first touches? Three straight runs to end the quarter and he seems to be able to get 10 yards at will.

    update @ 5:56pm est: OK, at 19-17, RU has their first lead since the first quarter with San San Te's FG, but why not stay with Martinek when they were down in the red zone??

    As an aside, if you decide to watch a game on ESPN360 at work (not that there are that many weekday football games to deal with), be careful with the volume when they go to breaks. When Mike 'n' Mike start screaming about going to Disney World, they are at three times game volume.

    update @6:03pm est: NC State 23 - RU 19. I wish NC State would have stayed with that second quarterback; this Evans guy looked dangerous on that touchdown drive. The two-point conversion was missed, but I'm not sure that a four point lead is that much better for us than a six-point lead. There's 9:21 left for an RU touchdown drive, and Britt seems due for an endzone reception.

    update @ 6:13pm est: RU 26-NC State 23. What did I say about Kenny being due for TD reception?!? If he does decide to go pro in the next couple of weeks, it would be nice to see him remembered for this 42-yard reception from Teel.

    update @ 6:28pm est: I cannot wait until next year at the Stadium with Joe Martinek! He just ran down to the 5 yard line with 2 minutes left in the game. This has been a great clock-killing drive. If they end this with a TD instead of a FG, it's all over but the singing of On the Banks of the Old Raritan!

    update @ 6:35pm est: RU 29 - NC State 23 with 47 seconds left. Without the blocked FG and PAT in the first half, it would already be over.

    INTERCEPTION COURTNEY GREENE with 9 seconds left and the final score is RU 29 - North Carolina State Wolfpack 23 and we have new Pizza Bowl Champions, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Special congratulations to Courtney and Mike Teel and all the other Seniors for those three straight bowl wins (& please come back for one more year Kenny).

    Now it's time for me to catch a train home.

    It's almost gametime and I'm not in Alabama

    I was in Houston for RU's first bowl win against Kansas State at the Texas Bowl and I was in Toronto for the Knights' second bowl win against Ball State in the International Bowl. It's not any lack of confidence in this hot 2008 team that's left me here at work rather than drinking beer and chanting RU Rah Rah with the band in that great pregame ritual at this afternoon's Pizza Bowl. It has something to do with the fact that I'm the only person in my department who's not on vacation or medical leave (but I probably could have ignored that during this slow week), and the fact that I feel like spending as little as possible (outside of necessities like alimony and my son's college tuition) during this recessionary end of the Bush regime, and the fact that the game is in Alabama (in addition to all the old reasons to hate the Deep South, see some brand new reasons at, but I think that the biggest reason that I'm here rather than there may be the bowl game's idiotic mercenary name. Even if it were named the "papajohnsdotcom Birmingham Bowl", or the "papajohnsdotcom Alabama Bowl", we could ignore the commercial prefix and call it by its geographical moniker. The International Bowl and The Texas Bowl were great names. "The Mediocre Pizza Chain Bowl" SUCKS! And what's the deal with having a game on at three in the afternoon on a weekday?
    But I'll be trying to watch from work on in half an hour, maybe moving to a Hoboken bar at halftime.

    GO KNIGHTS! Show the Wolfpack and the ACC that the game on September 11 was a fluke.

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Welcome to De'Antwan Williams!

    Click here for the article from this morning's Washington Post about De'Antwan Williams, the #14 overall running back from Woodbridge, Virginia, who just chose Rutgers over West Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, and Pittsburgh.

    Rutgers "really came after him and did everything they could do to get him," Woodbridge Coach Keith King said. "They couldn't have told him any more how much they wanted him. They won him over."
    Williams finished his four-year varsity career with 6,909 yards and 83 touchdowns, placing him sixth all-time on the
    Virginia High School League career rushing list.

    It sounds like they see something of Ray Rice in this 5'9" 208-pound young man.

    Welcome to Rutgers De'Antwan!

    Friday, December 5, 2008

    Wild Knight -- The 63-14 Score is Deceiving (it was not that close!)

    Who would've thought after the first 6 games that 2008 would turn into another good year for the Scarlet Knights?

    My son asked me at last night's game if "they" (the announcers and sportswriters who mediate most of America's sports experiences) are calling it the "Wild Knight" when Joe Martinek or Kenny Britt or someone else other than a quarterback lines up in the QB's position. Since I watch all the games from my aluminum bench in section 123 without the benefit of the chattering classes to tell me what's happening on the field (and with Joe Nolan rather than the electronic yellow line telling me when that is a Rutgers First DOWN!), I had to tell him: "I don't know." But it's a great name for the formation, and for last night's systematic demolition of the Louisville Cardinals, isn't it?
    What can you say except that all of us in Rutgers Stadium left last night feeling like we had already received our best Christmas/Kwanzaa/Chanukah present of the season. And what a great way for Mike Teel to end his career at R House, directing the band with the Knight's sword like Brian Leonard in 2006 (though looking sheepish and utterly unmusical while doing so). When we look back on 2008 in our stadium, we'll remember his seven touchdown passes and 447 yards and remember that he could have easily made it ten touchdown passes and 600 yards if they hadn't taken their feet off the accelerator in the third quarter. It almost totally erased those two games we watched back at the beginning of September.
    What a Game. What a Knight. What a Wild Knight! Thanks for four years Mike!
    We'll see you in a Bowl somewhere (I just hope it's somewhere other than the Pizza Bowl Deep in the Heart of Dixie) later this month!

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Vote for Mike Teel as USA Today's Player of the Week (and next week vote for President Obama!)

    CLICK HERE to vote for Mike Teel in honor of his (untelevised) 6-touchdown performance against Pittsburgh in last Saturday's 54-34 win.

    (And you should know where to cast your vote for President next Tuesday.)

    Update 10/29: The voting for player of the week is closed and Mike Teel got the nod (and 58% of the readers' votes).

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    The Homecoming Victory Video

    Sorry I've been away from this page for awhile, but here's a short video of last Saturday's game at the Stadium from my seats, including an ominous pregame warning and shots of UConn's missed field goal and the following celebration.
    That's two in a row at R House!

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    In Memory of Walter Seward, Class of 1917

    Walter Seward died at the age of 111 on September 13.

    Here's a video of him singing "On The Banks of the Old Raritan" on ESPN during the historic Rutgers-Louisville game of November 9, 2006.

    He was the oldest alumnus of Rutgers, the oldest graduate of Harvard Law School, and the fifth oldest male in the world when he passed away.

    He is featured on the back page of the current issue of Rutgers Magazine (I just received mine last week).

    Rest in Peace Walter (and pull some strings for your beloved Knights from up above!)

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Orange::44 found a picture of a young Rutgers fan ...

    ... to use as this week's Crying Child®.

    You can tell by the scarlet polo shirt.

    Here (if you can bear to watch it) Is My Video of Last Thursday's Game

    Here are the video highlights of last Thursday night's contest between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels as seen from section 123 of Rutgers Stadium:

    OK, so once again the end result wasn't what any of us (except for those dressed in baby blue in section 101) wanted, but you may want to watch San San Te's first two field goals as a Scarlet Knight, or the muzzle flashes of the Rutgers cannon against the night sky, or Mike Teel's first TD pass of 2008, or to see what the Stadium looked like after you left in the 3rd quarter.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Only Hours Until Gametime

    If you're in the mood to do more pregame reading, then here are your Game Preview & Game Notes from and here's a blogger Q&A between bleedscarlet and Tar Heel Fan.

    I've never been home from work on 9/11 before, so though I've gone to a few memorials on the day, I've never seen the hours-long reading of the names that is on every broadcast network in New York (2,4,5,7,9, & 11) as I write this. The reading of the names just ended and now they're playing taps.
    All of us in this area have our own stories of where we and our friends and families were seven years ago, but here's a link to a story at Scarlet Knights Newzer about Mike Teel and his father on that day.

    See you soon at the Stadium.
    Go Knights!

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    The video from Labor Day's opener

    It was great to be at the Stadium on Monday afternoon for the game against Fresno State even if the result wasn't what we all wanted and cheered for. The biggest losses from last year's team were the loss of Ray Rice's ability to get those last three yards on the ground, and the loss of Jeremy Ito's leg (but remember Ito's misses in his first game against Michigan State?).
    Here's the video evidence that the loss had nothing to do with lack of spirit in the stands:

    See you all on the eleventh as we face the team in baby blue. I'll be the guy in red in section 123.

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    Looking at our Alma Mater through fresh (Fresno) eyes

    Click here if you want to read a fresh appreciation of Rutgers and the State of New Jersey from Matt James of the Fresno Bee. Here's a representative quote:
    "The first thing you notice about the Rutgers campus is that it's roughly the size of Greenland.
    The name sounds like a small private college with a dozen ivy-covered buildings and tasteful school uniforms, but that would be far from the actual situation.
    Rutgers has an ecological preserve in the middle of campus where they could have filmed "Last of the Mohicans." You could head to Accounting 208 and not be seen for a month. The preserve, alone, could hold the entire Fresno State campus.
    Rutgers has a bus system that has at least 10 different lines. The city of Clovis has only five.
    [...]New Jersey really is the Garden State. Could have sworn that was an ironic state nickname, you know, like calling Hawaii the Glacier State.
    It really is beautiful, trees as thick as an opening-week frat party. The river that carves through campus is called the Raritan, which leads to the Rutgers alma mater: "On the Banks of the Old Raritan.""

    When I've had relatives visit from Southern California and Nevada, they've always been amazed by this green state of ours, especially driving down the Parkway south of the Raritan. Let's hope the Bulldog players are still a little bit amazed and disoriented by the size and beauty of our school at 4pm tomorrow afternoon.

    Get your game notes for TOMORROW'S opener by clicking here. You can also download the The Greg Schiano Radio Show or Inside Rutgers Football for your computer or iPod by clicking here.

    Click on the following links to get interesting position-by-position comparisons of the Bulldogs and the Scarlet Knights on Fresno State's Bark Board for the QB, the RB/WR, and the OL/TE positions.

    But tomorrow all the reading and anticipation will come to an end. I can't wait to see you there. Coat your vocal cords with a little bit of honey so that you can scream as loudly as possible! Let them be as impressed by our volume and spirit as they are by the beauty and size of our campus.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Book Your Air Travel Now, because if Sports Illustrated says it, it must be so!

    According to the SI Bowl Projections posted yesterday, we will need to be in St. Petersburg, Florida to face the University of Central Florida Golden Knights on December 20th. Because it will be almost a home game for the gilded ones, we'll need to get a large and noisy contingent in Scarlet heading south (where we can also visit all those expatriate New Jersey parents and grandparents).

    Even though this news comes from that most reputable of sports and swimsuit authorities, maybe you shouldn't start pricing and reserving Christmas-week flights from Newark, Philadelphia, JFK, and Atlantic City just yet. After all, their College Football Preview prediction from last August didn't quite come to fruition. Who needed a trip to Pasadena when we could go to Toronto anyway?


    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    re: Ray Rice's professional progress

    From page three of Don Banks' "Inside the NFL" at dated this morning:

    "The more I see of Baltimore rookie running back Ray Rice, and the more Willis McGahee continues to have health-related question marks surrounding his surgically repaired left knee, the more I'd be inclined to snap up Rice if I were one of those Fantasy Football playing types (which I'm not).

    "Ravens rookie head coach John Harbaugh loves the kid, but for now has to stick with the company line that McGahee is his starter. But no matter what the semantics, Baltimore is going to use the rookie from Rutgers early and often. And the onus is on McGahee to re-prove that he can be counted on to get on the field and produce.

    "Rice touched the ball 11 times at home against the Vikings on Saturday and produced 94 yards, including a 42-yard burst the first time his number was called before the hometown fans. But that was only the start of the love affair. It's going to get better, Baltimore."

    Baltimore may learn to love Ray as much as they love Michael Phelps (and as much as Ray is loved in New Brunswick, New Jersey).

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    S.N.O.R.T., or the Block R of Rutgers joins "the elite of the elite"

    Rocky Top Talk today lists "The 29 Most Boring Football Logos" and the Block R of Rutgers takes pride of place in the first five that are mentioned.

    "Madonna, Prince, Sting, Bono. Bozo. Only the most notorious are known by a single name. The elite of the elite, though, are known by the most extreme of abbreviations: a single letter. [...] Rutgers is sort of crashing the party. Fortunately for them, though, Rhode Island is the only state that begins with the letter 'R,' and it's common knowledge that it lacks the acreage for a standard football field, so while the red block 'R' may induce blank stares in college football fans, at least they won’t confuse it with another team."

    Which is what we've said all along, the Scarlet Knights have never had a more distinctive, simple, and memorable (if maybe a little boring) helmet identifier. And it is the logo that will be identified with their rise into the higher competitive tiers of the college football universe.

    Our first opponents, the Fresno State Bulldogs, were mentioned in yesterday's "LOL, Your Logo is SOOO Scary" for their muscled cartoon canine that is quite a bit less simple:

    "Popeye’s dog had some potential as well, but the execution . . . oy. I think it’s the sweatshirt with the block 'F' on it. It does not stand for 'fear.' "

    At least the Fresno State Bulldog is scarier than the panting fuzzy white sled dog of UConn.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Knights, Utes and Tide as the sleepers of 2008? Go Red Teams!

    Click here to see what Stewart Mandel has to say in his most recent Mailbag on about the 3 teams with the best chance of going from unranked in the preseason to ranked in the top 15 at the end of the 2008 season (remind any Scarlet Knights fans of 2006?) and the 3 teams with the best chance of starting in the top 15 and ending the season unranked (a feeling that should be familiar to 2007 fans of the Louisville Cardinals).
    For those who don't like to click, the potential sleepers are 1) Rutgers, 2) Utah, and 3) Alabama.
    The sinkers are 1) West Virginia, 2) Texas Tech, and 3) Wisconsin.
    I hope that Stewart's Mailbag is made of material that's strong enough to handle the weight of mail that it's going to be receiving from Mountaineer country this week (and for the rest of the season).

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Visitor Number One is Generating High Hopes on the West Coast

    This article in yesterday's Merced Sun-Star asks, "Is Fresno State football BCS bound?" in its title and states "Six months from now, when the college football season is nearing an end, Fresno State could find itself playing for a national championship," in its lead sentence.

    Is this attitude of our WAC opponents a confidence that will lead them to victory over our Scarlet Knights? Or is it a hubris presaging defeat?

    It seems clear now (despite the current hometown responses to the sidebar poll) that a consensus is developing, and that only one of the two teams meeting on Labor Day in Piscataway will be ranked in the AP's preseason top 25. It won't be the Scarlet Knights. It's interesting to see that some fans of the Bulldogs are already riding their expected toehold in the bottom of the rankings to a trip to the absolute top. It's funny, but some of us wearing Scarlet can well remember that feeling about a team that entered the fall of 2007 with a preseason ranking of 16 and climbed as high as 10. I like Rutgers' chances more this year if they have to play their way into the rankings with convincing wins against Fresno State and North Carolina on September 1st and 11th. That will be a much better start than last year's coasting through Buffalo and Norfolk State that did nothing at all to prepare the Knights for the real competition of the Big East (and Maryland).

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    With Only 52 Days Until Life Begins Again at R House, use this tool to spread the news

    If you want to place this on your own page to spread the good news around the "internets", just click here to get the code. I'll try to create countdown clocks for all of this season's games.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    OK. We're all Manchester United fans now (and not just because they're another red team)

    There are photos of football (the kind that doesn't have helmets) superstar Wayne Rooney all over the internet wearing not one, but two, different Block R Rutgers caps.
    Check it out here, here, and here.
    And check out these Manchester United song and chant lyrics here. Here's a sample:

    "If you want to go to heaven when you die; you must keep the Red Flag flying high; Get yourself a red bonnet; and put 'F*** the Scousers' on it; If you want to go to heaven when you die"

    Or, in place of "F*** the Scousers", you can just put a Block R on your red bonnet.

    Rutgers Enters the Top Ten (for its 2009 recruiting class)

    Click here to read about how Rutgers' nineteen verbal commitments have earned them a number nine ranking from Tom Luginbill on today. The others on the list are Texas, USC, Ohio State, LSU, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State, and Tennessee, which certainly sounds more like a list of the usual suspects.

    "It is amazing what winning and national television exposure can do for a program and now all the fruits of Rutgers' labor are starting to pay dividends as it enters into our top 10 for the first time ever. Its class is extremely strong on defense with speed and playmakers, and the most important piece of the puzzle might be its quarterback of the future Tom Savage (Philadelphia/Cardinal O'Hara)."

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Vote for the "Face of Rutgers Football" at

    ESPN has chosen the "1869 Photo[sic]" of the Rutgers-Princeton game as "'s Face" of the Rutgers football program. You can help choose "SportsNation's Pick" for that honor by clicking here. You can choose the "photo" or Ray Rice or Greg Schiano or Brian Leonard. What, no Paul Robeson? No representation at all from the 20th Century??
    There were no cameras that could freeze sports action in 1869 of course, so "the photo" is actually a cropped and decolorized reproduction of the Arnold Friberg painting that was commissioned by Chevrolet for the 100th anniversary of the game in 1969. You can see it, and a little bit of its history, here and here.
    [ESPN's inexact use of the written language continues on their Rutgers Team Page, where their ad for the ESPN Shop still (after at least a month) shouts: "RUTIGERS FANS, GEAR UP NOW!".
    They also have a problem with their possessive case on the Comments page with the heading "Rutger's Face of the Program"; Rutger Who? Rutger Hauer?]

    Another Day, Another List of 2009 Recruits : Welcome Duron, Robert, and Malcolm!

    And again, another four-star player (a fifth, if you're counting) has decided that Rutgers Stadium is the place to play his college games. Click here for more details from The Star-Ledger's website about today's newest list of verbal commitments for 2009, especially about the one received from Duron Harmon.

    Harmon, a 6-2, 192-pounder from Wyoming, Del., has been timed in 4.52 for the 40. He is a two-way star at Caesar Rodney High School, rushing for 701 yards and 12 touchdowns as a running back while playing safety on defense.
    Iowa, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Temple, Connecticut and Virginia were on Harmon's list of potential college choices before he declared for Rutgers.

    Welcome to Rutgers Duron Harmon, Robert Joseph, and Malcolm Bush!

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    A Fourth Four-Star Recruit for RU's 2009 Class: Welcome Aaron Hayward

    Click to read "Rutgers Lands South Jersey Star" from today's New York Post about the verbal commitment of rising senior Aaron Hayward of Penns Grove High School.

    The Carneys Point native was tabbed the country's 15th-ranked running back by, rushing for 1,363 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. But he could well end up as a wide receiver, or even in the secondary, after he had 48 tackles, three interceptions and forced two fumbles last season.

    Four of RU's 12 verbals for the fall of '09 are now from four-star-rated players. Aaron joins future classmates quarterback Tom Savage , running back Desmond Scott, and center Mark Brazinski, in adding stars to the strong foundation built by Greg Schiano and the current Scarlet Knights.

    Welcome to Rutgers Aaron!!

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    The Green Knight Strikes Again, or Sol Iustitiae et Occidentem Illustra gains a new literal meaning!

    The Rutgers Seal famously points out that "The Sun of Righteousness Shines Also Upon the West". It was announced today that all that bright occidental sun shining on the Livingston campus is going to be put to practical use supplying 10% of the campus's electricity (with half the 10 million dollar cost of the solar energy facility coming from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities).

    ... the solar energy project will save Rutgers more than $200,000 in its first year of operation, rising to more than $300,000 in annual savings by the end of the 15-year program. In addition, the annual 1,350 ton reduction of CO2 emissions from the university is equivalent to saving more than 28 hundred barrels of oil, or 640 tons of coal [helping to save a West Virginia mountaintop!].

    Construction of the solar farm is expected to begin this fall and to be in operation in spring 2009. The facility will be located on an open parcel of land at the northeast corner of the Livingston Campus in Piscataway, bordered by Berrue Circle, Road 2 and Suttons Lane. The ground-mounted array will comprise more than 7,000 solar panels about four-feet high.

    The Green Knight (not the green knight known as "Sparty" who was last chased out of Piscataway with his tail between his legs in 2005) raises his sword once again.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Rutgers Academics Tip the Scales for another 2009 four-star recruit : Welcome Mark Brazinski

    "Every kid dreams of holding that crystal bowl trophy [presented to the national champion]. For me, however, academics come first."
    --Mark Brazinski
    Rutgers has received another verbal commitment from a highly-recruited junior -- the third from a four-star recruit. Center Mark Brazinski should be entering our favorite school in the fall of 2009 with quarterback Tom Savage and running back Desmond Scott.
    Considered the state's top offensive lineman, this Immaculata High School star was not only weighing offers from Bowl Division schools like BC and FSU, but he considered following in his brother Brian's footsteps (Brian was an All-Ivy center at the University of Pennsylvania).

    "I wasn't sure what I was going to do until I found out I can get into the school of business as a freshman at Rutgers," said Brazinski. "Before this year, it was only available to you in your junior year and if you had a 3.3 GPA. Now they're taking a select group of scholars and allowing them to enroll in the school as freshman."
    Being able to choose his major area of study early is one thing, and I know I've said it before, but I have to believe that Rutgers' stellar APR numbers are also influencing the decisions of these student athletes who stand out in the classroom as well as on the field. And if academically-gifted players continue to choose RU, then those numbers should stay in the stratosphere for years to come.


    Saturday, June 7, 2008

    30 minutes closer to the season kickoff!

    The kickoff time for the Rutgers / Fresno State game has been moved from 4:30 to 4:00 on Labor Day, September 1, so I've adjusted the countdown clock that appears in the sidebar.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    How To Play College Football (via Disney 1944), or Upstream Red Team!, or Go Taxidermy Tech!

    Here's a little off-season distraction for you.

    I had a friend overseas who was a little mystified by the rules of baseball this morning, so she had found the Disney "How to Play Baseball (1942)" film on YouTube. I don't think it helped much, but she sent me the link and I stumbled upon the "How to Play Football (1944)" film, which I don't ever remember seeing as a kid.
    As a Rutgers fan, it's hard not to take a rooting interest in the team dressed in red.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Welcome Desmond Scott!

    "Desmond Scott of Durham, N.C., rated the No. 2 all-purpose running back in the country by, verbally committed to Rutgers today," reports Tom Luicci of the Star-Ledger this afternoon.

    Yesterday we were "warned" that this announcement of another highly-ranked 2009 recruit might be coming today and it was suggested in that article that Scott may have been tipped in his decision by the fact that Rutgers was the school of Ray Rice, a very similar back in terms of size and style.

    I have another theory, found in an article that appeared in Yahoo Sports back on March 10 when Scott was starting his tour of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Duke, and others, including RU.

    “First of all I want to see how the academics are at the school. I want to major in education and be a social studies teacher and eventually a school principal. Secondly, I’ll look at the coaches and players and if I can get along with them and how I interact with them. Next, I’ll look at the city life and what I can do there and whether I can stay or leave after college. Finally, location doesn’t really matter as long as my family can come see me in a day’s drive.”

    Anyone who's saying "first of all I want to see how academics are at the school" has to have been impressed when the NCAA's Academic Progress Report numbers came out in early May with Rutgers trailing only Stanford and Navy -- leading the Big East, and all other state universities, once again. Of course, another of Desmond Scott's schools, Duke, was tied with RU at #3 in the APRs, but I don't think Duke is thinking about challenging for a BCS bowl in the next four or five years.

    Welcome to Rutgers Desmond!

    (Here's a short summary of the most recent 2009 commitments).

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Would you leave New Brunswick NJ for State College PA?

    Paul Salman has a post over at Bleacher Report today asking the age-old Nittany Lion question, "Penn State Succession Plan: Is Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano the right choice?"

    He asks every important question but one, for which he seems to take an affirmative answer for granted, "Would Greg Schiano leave R House for Happy Valley?"

    Anybody assuming that Greg Schiano would jump at the chance to coach at their school should remember that "everybody" thought that Greg Schiano would jump at the chance to take the Miami Hurricanes job when it was offered to him two years ago, and "anybody who knew anything about college football" knew that he would take the University of Michigan head coaching job when it was offered to him last year. Well, he's not living in among the palms of Florida or up in Ann Arbor. And while "everyone" seems to know that he's really been saving himself for the land of the whiteout because "Greg Schiano is a Penn State Man", I think he's truly bleeding a scarlet that's as deep as any bled by those of us who attended classes there many years ago.
    At Penn State he could never be more than Joe Paterno's successor. At Rutgers he can be bigger than Joe Paterno. He can create his own program rather than continuing a legacy. He can be the man who brought college football back to the New York metropolitan area. He can be the man whose name is forever attached to the oldest football program in the country. His place here is more solid every year, and the expanded stadium will always be known as "The House that Schiano Built." The real secret of his recruiting success is that the kids he talks to know that he is going to be a Scarlet Knight for the duration of their careers On the Banks, and far beyond.

    Read more discussion on Greg Schiano rumors here at Black Shoe Diaries.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Knights atop the Big East in 2008?

    At least one writer, Brock Murphy at Lindy's, has made that prediction. His placement of the West Virginia Mountaineers in fifth is stirring up a not insignificant amount of dissent in the comments section.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Rutgers Fans appear in a very idiosyncratic top ten list

    And the real question is, for which college football team does the compiler of this strange video list root?

    The strangest thing about the list is that you have no idea, from the video itself as embedded here, what the hell it's counting down. You would only know from the title on YouTube: "Top 10 Worst College Football Fanbases". The videographer's #1 choice makes me think he might be a Michigan fan, but that doesn't explain any of the other selections (a Wolverine would have placed #8 Notre Dame in the 2 or 3 slot, and would definitely have included the Michigan State Spartans on the list, and put them in the top three as well).

    The Site of the Day: FSFB (and other Fresno State Links)

    It's time to start learning (if you haven't already) about the first visitors to R House on Labor Day, the Bulldogs of Fresno State. I plan on keeping up with the following blog at
    They have big plans to challenge for the WAC title and a BCS bowl if everything goes their way in 2008, and that challenge begins for Fresno State not with success in the preseason polls, but with a game in New Jersey on September 1st. However, as we've said before, the Bulldogs' presence in the preseason polls could catapult the Scarlet Knights into the first regular season rankings if the Knights pull off the nationally-televised "upset" to start the season. Even though the Knights started at 16 in the AP poll last August and may very well be unranked this August, I have a much better feeling about 2008 with Rutgers playing a real threat in the first game. It was harmful to the 2007 team to begin with Buffalo and Norfolk State; they felt invincible by the time they met Maryland, when, at 3-0, they hadn't even been challenged yet. If the healthy passing game of Mike Teel to Britt, Underwood, Brown, Campbell et al. opens up the running game for Kordell Young, Mason Robinson and friends, we could find ourselves in a good mood leaving the Stadium on the first.

    Here are a few more Fresno State Bulldogs links for your pre-game (and long football-free summer) reading and research:

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Has the Big East hired any officials in the off season?, or Can you imagine this call being made IN Louisville?

    The folks over at Card Chronicle have named Larry Taylor of Connecticut the least cool person of 2007-2008 for the fair catch that he turned into a 74-yard return for a touchdown. Watching this replay on video is still unbelievable; if I were a Louisville Cardinals fan, I'd surely use a stronger word or two to describe my feelings about it.
    The real question is not about Taylor though. He didn't hear a whistle, so he ran; he was probably as surprised as anyone that he scored. The real question is whether or not the Big East has hired any officials to take the field in September.

    "Hello Cruel World!"

    After making what looked like a permanent departure from West Virgina sports blogging last September, I was glad to see the always entertaining Mountainlair showing new content when I ambled over there this morning. They're back in the sidebar list of Big East blogs (which is taking on a very Mountaineerish tint).

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Can we save big bucks by booking our late-December flights to Houston now??

    If it takes chutzpah to come up with a preseason top 25 in May, what's the Yiddish expression to describe what College Football News dot com did yesterday in predicting all the 2008-2009 Bowl Matchups??
    It seems the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be playing the University of Colorado Buffaloes in Houston at the Texas Bowl on December 28. Houston was a lot of fun in 2006, but I'm still hoping for a bowl game in Florida so that I can combine the game with a trip to see my parents for the holidays.
    That looks difficult though, because this same CFN prediction has Notre Dame passing the magical 6-6 threshold and stealing the Big East's spot in the Gator Bowl. And the new St. Petersburg Bowl is slated to be a local matchup between Route 4 rivals USF and UCF.

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Please Participate in Beat Visitor's Summer Sidebar Poll

    In the most recent ESPN preseason rankings from May 9th, the Fresno State Bulldogs are listed at #21. The only Big East teams on Mark Schlabach's post-Spring rankings are West Virginia (#9) and Pittsburgh (#19). The Knights do not make an appearance on his (or many other) preseason prognostications.
    So far, the only preseason ranking on which both the Bulldogs and our Scarlet Knights have simultaneously appeared is the top 25, in which the Dogs are #25 and the Knights are #22.
    Losing Ray Rice to the Baltimore Ravens has obviously introduced a question mark into the minds of many football writers, so I really have no idea at this point about whether our team will find enough support to be listed in the preseason coaches and AP polls.
    That widespread uncertainty leads directly to my question in the new sidebar poll, "Who Will Be in the AP Preseason Top 25? a) Rutgers, b) Fresno State, c) Both, or d) Neither." It will be interesting to see what visitors to this blog say between now and mid-August. Please add your vote (even if you, like me, are unsure).
    Here's my one firm prediction. No matter which of these teams appears on the preseason poll, the winner of their September 1st meeting will definitely appear on the first regular-season listing.

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    Attention Rutigers [sic] Fans! The ESPN Shop wants your money!

    The following advertisement has been on the Rutgers Team Page at for at least the last two days:

    Well, maybe it's better than the ESPN Shop of a few years ago, which didn't carry any Rutgers products at all.
    And it does look like Rutgers is spelled without the superfluous "i" on the merchandise.
    And it's not the first time a major sports money machine has dissed our alma mater with a typo.

    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Ray Rice (number 39?) on the Ravens

    It's strange to see a picture of Ray Rice wearing a number other than 27, and a helmet other than a scarlet one (he did wear a black jersey during one unmemorable game against West Virginia last November), but it's great to read in this article from today's Washington Post, "Small, Tough and 'Our Kind of Guy'," about how well he's impressing his coaches and teammates in the Baltimore Ravens' minicamp. There are glowing quotes about Ray from Ravens staffers Eric DeCosta, Craig Ver Steeg, Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh, who says, "I just think he's our kind of guy. . . . That's high character, and he's tough, rough, loves to play football. He's a playmaker, and he's not just a one-play playmaker. He's a durable playmaker." There's also one quote from Ray himself, "I would love to be a spark. I would love to be a guy who gets in the game, and there's not a letdown. I want to be in the game and oh shoot, the defense is on their heels." Those of us who remember seeing Ray come in as a freshman backup, have no doubt that he's capable of doing the same thing on the next level.
    There's also a quote from Ray on about the way he looks at the running back who's currently the star of the Ravens' rushing offense, Willis McGahee:

    "It's like a dream come true to have a guy like that in front of you," Rice said. "I'm definitely learning from him and watching the things that he does, from his footwork to how he carries himself."

    It sounds a lot like the way that Ray Rice looked up to, learned from, and talked about Brian Leonard, doesn't it? It's a positive attitude that we fans of the Scarlet Knights know well, and it's one that should take him far. If I were Willis McGahee, I might be a little concerned for my job.


    The Ravens minicamp was also in the news this morning because of an on-field brawl between teammates during the minicamp, but Ray does not seem to be listed as one of those involved.

    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    "On the Banks of the Old Raritan" -- A Sing-A-Long Video

    Here's the one song that every fan at Rutgers Stadium should sing out loud with the band right after the national anthem, and with the players at the end of the game. And you won't have to sing all five of the verses in this video, just the first verse and the chorus.

    "On the Banks of the Old Raritan" was written by Howard Fullerton, a graduate of the Rutgers College class of 1874, in 1873. The version on this video with one voice and guitar replacing the traditional marching band and/or glee club, was played by a graduate of the Rutgers College class of 1978 on May 9, 2008. If this little ditty has one thing, it's longevity.
    • Here's another video of the song, showing the team singing the first verse and chorus on the road in North Carolina in September 2006 with great spirit (though it takes half the song before they begin to agree on a key).
    • Here's a video of New Brunswick street scenes after the Navy game in September 2007 backed by a rock version of "On the Banks...", with two verses, the chorus, and a long outro, played by Chris Batten and the Woods.
    • And this link has an mp3 of the Rutgers Glee Club singing the first and last verses and three choruses with great vocal skill (though it drives me crazy when they prounce "Man" and "Raritan" to rhyme with "John" rather than "Fan").

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    Rutgers Scarlet Knights at #3, in the Academic Progress Rates issued by the NCAA

    Behind only Stanford and Navy, and tied with Duke, Rutgers is not only #1 in the Big East, but #1 among state universities for the second year in a row.

    Number 22, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, revealed today at

    The Knights have received their first preseason ranking:

    Only four schools have been revealed on the Athlon Sports preseason top 25 so far, Rutgers at 22, Penn State at 23, Wake Forest at 24, and Fresno State at number 25. As mentioned earlier today, that nationally-televised battle between the Bulldogs and the Scarlet Knights on Labor Day is looking bigger and bigger -- as if it could set the tone for the 2008 season the way the televised Rutgers/UNC season opener set the right tone for 2006 (not to put any pressure on the guys in Scarlet or anything).

    A special section for the kind of people who yell "Down In Front!" and "Watch Your Language!"

    • "Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry."
      -- John Lennon on November 4, 1963 at a Beatles performance attended by the Queen and the Queen Mother. "John had intended to say 'fucking jewelry but was persuaded against doing so by Paul McCartney and the group's manager Brian Epstein" according to Wikiquote.

    To see the quote, watch at the one-minute mark of the following video. The Queen Mum's glittering wave at 1:10 is priceless:

    Why do we, on this Rutgers football blog, run this Beatles video about the folks sitting in the expensive box seats today?

    Read about the new club seats and loge boxes priced from $3,150 for a seat to $17,600 for a box (and why not round it up to a more Rutgersish number of $17,660??) here and here.

    These well-heeled Scarlet Knights fans are going to be sitting up above my cold backless aluminum bench in their heated club seats offering the comfort of a chair back, armrests, cup holder, added leg room and "premium seat width". If they get too comfortable up there with their private bathrooms, plasma TVs, and "all-you-can-eat, premium buffet menu", then maybe we should use the "rattle your jewelry" line on them when they're sitting on their hands and "premium width" asses during our opponents' third downs.

    More very early preseason polls for this lull before the football season known as "spring & summer"

    Here's one from from January that has only two Big East teams, West Virginia (7) and South Florida (22), ranked in the top 25.
    Here's a January list from Mr. College Football that also has only two of our teams, WVU (6) and UConn (24).
    In his January rankings, had only one Big East team -- West Virginia (8) -- in his first 25, but his list had 34 places, leaving space to include three others -- Pitt (26), USF (31), and Cincinnati (33). Most interestingly, he also had the Fresno State Bulldogs in position number 27 (and Rutgers unlisted, even among the "other teams to watch out for").
    This early list from doesn't stop at 25, or 34, but lists all the Bowl Subdivision schools. Again, there's only one from our conference in the top 25 -- WVU (9), but then there's a cluster of schools in the next 25 -- Cincinnati (26), UConn (27), Rutgers [finally!](30), USF (31), and Pitt (34). The Big East is rounded out with Louisville at 59 and Syracuse at 87. Our first opponents from Fresno State are ranked just below Notre Dame at 46.
    Finally, this January list from continues the theme of giving short shrift to the Big East Conference with the inclusion of just two teams, West Virginia (14) and the Pitt Panthers (22), but it's interesting in that it put the Fresno State Bulldogs at number 25.
    Is is possible that our Knights will be underdogs to the Bulldogs on Labor Day?

    Saturday, May 3, 2008

    Have you seen Stewart Mandel's Spring Picks over at

    There are three Big East teams listed in the lower half of his first top 25 for the Spring and one team in position 26, and none of them are the Scarlet Knights. Maybe he feels burned about putting the Knights at #12 in his 2007 Spring power rankings, or picking us to go to the Rose Bowl last year.

    He has the Mountaineers down at 14, the Cincinnati Bearcats at 22, the Pitt Panthers at 25, and the Connecticut Huskies as the first of five teams "On the cusp". He doesn't mention in this first ranking how the four Big East teams in the bottom of the conference -- Rutgers, USF, Louisville, and Syracuse -- are ranked in his mind at this point in the preseason, but the Scarlet Knights look like they're going to need some big wins, with style points, to make an impression on the pollsters this fall.

    Friday, May 2, 2008

    Don't expect any elbow room at the Stadium yet.

    Despite predictions from Rutgers 1000 and other naysayers, the Rutgers faithful are remaining faithful for now. With the deadline for season-ticket renewal passing yesterday, only 1% of the season tickets at Rutgers Stadium went unrenewed.

    In addition to the 99 percent renewal rate, MacConnell said the season-ticket waiting list has grown to 11,241. He said he did not know of any people on the waiting list who have been able to purchase season tickets yet.
    "So far, we haven't been able to get anyone off the waiting list," he said.

    Keeping in mind that it costs money to put your name on the waiting list, it doesn't look like there's much chance that the new seats in the expanded stadium will go unfilled either.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Ron Girault is a Kansas City Chief, Sosa a Viking, Renkart a Jet, and Ito a Saint (though we all knew that)

    Click here for a short article on the latest free agent signings of this year's Scarlet Knight seniors.

    Eric Foster is an Indianapolis Colt

    All-American Eric Foster will be joining a defense led by former Scarlet Knight Gary Brackett. It's still a crime that he wasn't chosen in the draft, but the Indianapolis Colts showed their good sense and taste by signing Eric as a free agent.
    Congratulations to Eric and to the Colts!

    Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    Eric Foster & Pedro Sosa

    Which undrafted star surprised you more? I'm expecting the news that numbers 56 and number 77 have both been picked up as free agents, but I'm still a little shocked that neither one of these Knights heard his name called over the weekend.
    It's too bad they can't come back to play on the Banks of the Raritan. Because no matter where they're playing on Sundays, they'll never be appreciated more than they were on Saturdays (and a few memorable Thursdays) at Rutgers.

    Chris Paul-Etienne to Shamar Graves: Another Short Video from the 2008 Scarlet-White Game

    On a dreary Tuesday after a rainy Monday, here's another opportunity to recall that sunny warm Saturday at Rutgers Stadium on the 19th:

    It's also a chance to feature a quarterback other than Teel or Lovelace, and a receiver other than Britt, Underwood, Brown, Brock, or Campbell.
    As the players use Spring to hone their skills and style, I'm still trying to find a style that I can use for my reports on the coming season, so this is done with a slightly retro veneer that I may (or may not) adopt for BeatVisitor videos.
    See my first, longer, Scarlet-White Game video by clicking here.

    Monday, April 28, 2008

    The Paper of Record attacks the "Fighting" Irish


    I thought I was tough on the Dames a few days ago when I asked the road to rise up and hit them in their drunken faces. I had nothing on Harvey Araton in tomorrow's New York Times, "Notre Dame Plays Holier Than Thou With Rutgers":
    For self-importance on the grandest of delusional scales, there is no entity in sports quite like Notre Dame football, winner of three games last season, routinely whacked like a piñata in recent bowl games and not a national championship to its name in 20 years, or since the Gipper was about to hand off the presidency of the United States to George H.W. Bush.
    And that's just the opening paragraph.
    Not only does the attack on Notre Dame's arrogance continue in that grain throughout, but the praise of Rutgers not only includes respect for RU's standing up to ND on the recent scheduling question, but it ends by mentioning our favorite football program's stellar Academic Progress Report last week...
    ... as one of six Bowl Subdivision colleges to be rated in the top 10 percent of the study’s four-year cycle. The other ones, all private, were Duke, Stanford, Rice, Air Force and Navy.
    “Good company,” Mulcahy said.
    Notre Dame excluded.
    Read the whole thing, you'll love it.


    Rutgers Football and Bob Mulcahy are getting respect from around the web for standing up to Notre Dame's bullying tactics. Here's another example from, but there are many more.

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Watch Where You Step if You Park in the Yellow Lot

    This was our greeting as we looked for a place to toss the ball around before the Scarlet-White Game along the side of Sutphen Road:

    Jeremy Zuttah is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer

    The third round of the NFL Draft just ended, and the one Scarlet Knight chosen was offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah.
    Congratulations to the Buccaneers and to Jeremy. We look forward to applauding when they show your picture with all the other pro Knights on the scoreboard before each home game! Thanks for all your great play with the Knights during the last four years.

    Friday, April 25, 2008

    Rutgers Football standing out academically once again

    Just like last year, it looks like Rutgers football will be number one in the Big East yet again . . . in Academic Performance Rankings (APRs).
    According to this article in USA Today today, only seven major-conference college football programs were cited by the NCAA on Thursday for their high academic scores:
    Duke, Rice, Rutgers, Stanford, Air Force, Army, & Navy.
    Not only is our alma mater one of only four non-service academies on this list, and the only Big East university, but it's also the only state university on this list from a sport that is dominated by state universities.
    Congratulations to all the students, coaches, faculty, and staff who make this happen!

    No Battles Between Scarlet Knights & Prancing Leprechauns in 2010

    The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, being afraid to play in R (expanded) House in Piscataway, or maybe just afraid to play against a Scarlet Knights team then led by Tom Savage or D.C. Jefferson, have scuttled negotiations for the two teams to play starting in 2010. The breakdown supposedly came because of the Dame's insistence on playing the Rutgers "home" games at that 80,000-seat NFL stadium in East Rutherford which they could half-fill with a sea of green.
    Here's the full statement from Bob Mulcahy:

    "Rutgers entered discussions about a possible long-term series with Notre Dame, but at the end of the day both schools could not agree about the site of the games. We feel Rutgers' home games should be played on-campus in Rutgers Stadium."

    Good for you Bob!

    Is there any other football team that would, or could, demand that their away games be played at a neutral site? I guess we should be glad that the Irish were willing to let Rutgers play home games in our own state; they want the University of Connecticut Huskies to play their "home" games in the pro stadiums of Massachusetts and New Jersey.

    May, as they say in the old country, the road rise up to meet your faces as you fall down drunk on the way to mass with Touchdown Jesus. (I'm a little vague on my homespun Irish sayings, but I think I got that one right.) Oh, and keep losing. It makes the entire country happy.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Rutgers Celebrates Earth Day by Winning Environmental Awards

    Rutgers beat out 400 other colleges and universities to win this year's Gorilla Award for recycling as part of RecycleMania 2008. RU won the same prize in 2007.
    Remember to use the right container for your tailgating refuse starting on September 1st, and we can help to win again in 2009 (man, are the noughties that close to being over?).

    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    The Scarlet beat the White 28 -14 in yesterday's game

    Here's a short compilation of video clips and stills from yesterday's Scarlet-White game at the Stadium. The place looks empty because half of Rutgers Stadium was closed due to construction, but the seats that were open were pretty full; a record Spring game attendance of 14,501 was recorded, they ran out of free t-shirts and a great time was had by all.
    Click on the video to see some shots of construction, the first play from scrimmage (Teel to Britt), Tom Savage taking his seat in the stands, Teddy Dellaganna's punting prowess, and people seeking autographs from Anthony Davis, Mike Teel, and the McCourty Brothers:

    It's always great to spend the afternoon in Rutgers Stadium.
    I can't wait until September 1st against Fresno State.

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    TBA has been replaced by the Morgan State Bears on September 27

    The Rutgers Scarlet Knights finally have 12 teams on the 2008 schedule with the addition of the Morgan State Bears (and the Morgan State Magnificent Marching Machine!) coming up from Baltimore on September 27.
    Replacing Howard University with Fresno State meant that we would be missing a repeat of the best halftime show ever performed at Rutgers Stadium, but I'm sure the Morgan State band will try to reach that same high level, blowing (with all due respect to "The Pride of New Jersey") the Marching Scarlet Knights off the field as easily as the folks from Norfolk State did last year.

    Mason Robinson on the front of ESPN's College Football page

    The real question at this Saturday's Scarlet-White Game at Rutgers Stadium will not be whether or not the Scarlet team beats the White team, but whether or not the rushing game will be quicker and more explosive than the quick and explosive Scarlet Knights passing game of Teel to Underwood, Britt, and Brown.

    Tailback Mason Robinson is featured on the front of today's College Football page at, but the accompanying article is not about him alone, but the the four-headed 2008 tailback of Mason Robinson, Jourdan Brooks, Joe Martinek, and "old" favorite Kordell Young.

    On the first play of Rutgers' intrasquad scrimmage last weekend, sophomore tailback Mason Robinson took a handoff and raced 70 yards for a touchdown. A few plays later, freshman Jourdan Brooks burst through the line and raced 65 yards for a score, covering the last 40 yards or so without one of his shoes.
    Kordell and Jabu Lovelace were the offensive stars of last year's Scarlet-White game (Ray Rice sat the game out with an injury), so it will be interesting to see who the star of this year's game will be and who will inevitably emerge as the "first among equals" among this potentially-explosive post-Ray-Rice tailback position.

    See you Saturday at R House! It's supposed to be 74° and sunny. There will be free t-shirts, the first tailgating since November 17, autographs after the game, and a guaranteed Rutgers win!

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    The Knights Who Say "Nay" Have Returned

    I stumbled upon what seems to be a month-old blog from the folks at Rutgers 1000, subtitled "Friends of Rutgers Academics". More than a pro-Academics site, the posts on this blog should be familiar to anyone who heard the anti-bigtime-college-sports arguments of William C. Dowling and Rutgers 1000 around the turn of the century.
    We are told in their mission statement that moving of the Rutgers football and basketball teams to the 1AA level with Rhode Island and UMass will help to improve the academic standing of our Alma Mater. In addition to this demand, their "About" page also praises my old President, Ed Bloustein, for wanting to make Rutgers "The Berkeley of the East," ignoring the fact that Berkeley has the California Golden Bears clawing for supremacy in the Pac-10 year after year.
    I sense a generally elitist attitude in this group -- an attitude that Rutgers should return to a mythical golden age when the entire campus was singularly devoted to the grinding of noses on academic sharpening stones. That golden age never existed. Rutgers always has been, and always should be, the place that Junot Díaz described in my post from yesterday morning, where "It felt like the world was given a university, not like the rich and the special and the privileged were given a university." A place where there's room for excellence in academics and athletics (and for the kids who are just trying to find themselves, or find a party, or get into medical/law school to please a parent, or impress a member of the opposite sex with their wonderfulness). Rutgers will never be Williams or Middlebury. It's a city, with a city's diversity. It's the State University of New Jersey, and those of us who won Phi Beta Kappa keys can appreciate those who work to win trophies instead. And on Saturday afternoons (and some Thursday nights) we can all wear red and feel like we're part of the same family. I'd wish the same good feeling for those writing for this new blue blog.