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.