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!