Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote of the Day About Quarterback Number 7

He really does remind you of John Elway, No. 7 on his back, blond, big arm and growing pains. Elway lined up behind the guard waiting for the snap in one of his early pro games.
As good as Elway was at the collegiate level, the next step was too much for a while. As good as Barkley was in high school, no reason to think the next step won't also be too big for a while.

So the quote isn't about our freshman quarterback wearing the number 7, Tom Savage, but it's interesting to see how many parallels there are between the two highly touted true freshmen at Rutgers and USC. I was tempted to remove Barkley's name and the LA Times tag up above; every Rutgers fan would then have thought that the quote on a Rutgers football blog about the blond quarterback with the big arm wearing the number 7 who has been widely compared to John Elway was in reference to our freshman Wunderkind, and not USC's.

Pete Carroll and USC have set themselves up for lots of media criticism and discussion with their early announcement of freshman Matt Barkley as their opening-game starter (even if it was at least partially motivated by an injury to another QB). I love that Greg Schiano is keeping the final quarterback decision under his hat until the last possible moment, as reported yesterday:

“Well, neither of them are captains so I don’t have to tell them until they’re in the tunnel, ‘Hey, you’re the guy.’ ” Schiano said, grinning only slightly. “I’m only kidding. The guy’s going to know who’s starting. I probably won’t tell you guys [i.e., the press]. That’s why I probably won’t make it public.” [ . . . ] “They’ll know soon enough,” Schiano said, referring to Cincinnati’s coaching staff. “The (quarterback) will come trotting out first series – that’s who they got.”

--Keith Sargeant, Scarlet Scuttlebutt, 29 August 2009

It may sound heretical to those who remember only Mike Teel's last seven games in Scarlet in 2008, but if I were Brian Kelly preparing the Cincinnati Bearcats for the Labor Day opener, I'd much rather be doing my game planning against Mike Teel (against whom the Bearcats defense had no small success) than against the unknown mix of Natale, Lovelace & Savage. Hell, with Greg Schiano's desire to pull out all stops in order to win this important first game in a autumn full of one-game seasons, Brian better be prepared to see D.C. Jefferson under center for the first play of 2009, or for Tim Brown running the Wild Knight, or . . .

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Saturday Sidebar News

Aditi Kinkhabwala's new Big East Sportsblog has been added to the sidebar links. I'm expecting unique stories and links from that source and it's great to see her name back among the active sportswriters following the Scarlet Knights as the football season approaches.

And in the sidebar poll question that will be running until the kickoff on Labor Day, "Who will be the Rutgers Quarterback for the LAST game of the 2009 season?", there has been a dramatic shift in the last few days. Domenic Natale got off to a fast start, but now Tom Savage is given an even chance with Dom to be starting the West Virgina game on December 5th (and D.C. Jefferson, Steve Shimko, and Jabu Lovelace are getting no love from the voters). You still have nine days to register your opinion.

With a little over a week until kickoff and only two days to September's start, we'd like to ask two little things of every Rutgers season-ticket holder.
  1. Please get at least one of those magnetic red "R"s that you've received over the years onto the back of your car by September 1. Let everyone see where your heart lies and let everyone on the roads of New Jersey know that there's a game - and a great football season - coming to their state.
  2. When we get to the game on September 7th, let's make sure that we're all out of the parking lots and into our seats by 3:30 or 3:45 at the latest. We don't want national television coverage of ANY empty seats in the expanded Stadium. Think of the people you will piss off by being part of a raucous sold-out crowd. Nothing that you and your buddies can be doing around the grill and cooler could be more important or exciting than watching the 2009 Knights come through the tunnel for the first time this year.
And for those of you who read this blog and don't have season tickets to Rutgers Football? Well, for the first time since 2006 you might be able to buy single game tickets by clicking here. But hurry if you want to see the Labor Day opener against the Bearcats. And if Rutgers turns the current seven-game win streak into an eight, nine, ten, or eleven game streak, you can forget about getting any single game seats at all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"...scarlet begonias tucked into her curls..." --The Song of the Day

Yesterday we showed you a 1977 song of the day from The Ramones, but if you were on the Rutgers campus in 1977, punk and new wave hadn't yet taken the place of Springsteen and Led Zeppelin and these guys (my guys) The Grateful Dead, blasting out of dorm-room windows. There were certainly a lot of my fellow Rutgers students at this show at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic in April 1977, listening to this song that Garcia and Hunter wrote about a girl they met while walking around Grosvenor Square in London.

So what does this have to do with Rutgers football?

She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes,
And I knew without askin' she was into the blues
She wore Scarlet Begonias tucked into her curls
I knew right away she was not like other girls--other girls
No, she wasn't like other girls at all. She was obviously a Rutgers girl.

Enjoy your weekend everybody.
Next weekend it all begins again!

More New Stadium Photos Have Been Posted

I love how wonderfully green central New Jersey looks in all the photos of Rutgers Stadium taken from this angle. The most recent official slideshow of Stadium expansion pictures went up online yesterday showing more scarlet paint and all the benches in place.
I've included one sample from ScarletKnights.com so you can compare the same corner of the Stadium to my earlier screen captures posted on April 8th , May 22nd , June 15th, June 25th, July 8th, July 31st, and August 13th to see (much to the dismay of Rutgers 1000 & friends) the steady progress being made.
As always, click here to go to the Rutgers Stadium Expansion page, scroll down to the "Construction Photo Gallery" and you can see yesterday's entire August 27th slide show (or flip through any one of the earlier photo galleries).
With 10 days, 5 hours, 13 minutes, and 20 seconds to go until kickoff, these may be the last pictures we see before we see the new endzone in person.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"gotta keep it beatin for all the hoppin cretins" -- The Song of the Day

Not to keep beating a dead horse, but I can't get the bitter last line of the last entry on the Rutgers 1000 blog out of my head --"... in our eyes, cretinism has triumphed."-- especially since it immediately brought to mind this catchy little number from my college years on the banks, The Ramones' "Cretin Hop". This 1'46" video of the song was recorded at CBGBs in New York City (home of the Syracuse Orange) in 1977.
Enjoy the nostalgia.
I don't know where he's going to have his equipment set up, or how the expanded Rutgers Stadium is going to be arranged for pregame activities on September 7, but DJ Yoshi has announced on Twitter that he'll be DJing Rutgers football games again this year. I think he might get some of us cretins hoppin' and celebrating our triumph with this ditty cranking through the scoreboard's new sound system. Consider that a formal request.

The Knights Who Say Nay seem strangely silent

Over at MGOBLOG today, there's an update about the construction going on at Michigan Stadium with notes about a group called Save the Big House, which had opposed the current expansion going on there.
Sound familiar?

The state of the new endzone on August 13th (from ScarletKnights.com)

Now that the South Endzone seats at Rutgers Stadium are obviously going to be finished and filled with fans on Labor Day for the opener against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, where are our naysayers and prophets of doom?

Where is the Stop Rutgers Stadium Expansion blog, which called the Stadium expansion plans "Panglossian to the point of hallucination" on January 31, 2008? Well, you can still find it on the web by clicking the link in this paragraph, but it posted its last entry at the end of February 2008.

And where, oh where, is Rutgers 1000? This is the group that famously opposed every expansion of the sports programs at Rutgers and gleefully started a "Stadium Expansion Death Watch" on April 25, 2008: "Keep reading this space. The obit for this foolhardy and reckless plan already is being drafted." Again, you can find the lifeless hulk of their blog by clicking the links in this paragraph, but they posted their own obituary on December 12, 2008.

Couldn't they even stick around long enough for us say "We told you so"?

(If the opponents of the Stadium want to announce their continued existence, they are welcome to do so in the Comments here. Unlike both the blogs mentioned above, the comments on Beat Visitor are not moderated, i.e., censored, and they do not require names or registration.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the Day (speaking of preseason balloteers)

"... Jim Leavitt is barking madness in a visor and Dockers." http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2009/08/26/jim-leavitts-ballot-fears-not-even-logic/

The 2009 Preseason BlogPoll has been compiled and published.

The BlogPoll, of which my vote constitutes .99009% (1 of 101) of the total result, has been published this afternoon. As with the Coaches and AP Polls, there is no Big East football team in the top 25, but the top 5 teams are closely clustered in the thirties: Pittsburgh 32, Rutgers 33, Cincinnati 35, West Virginia 36, and South Florida at 37. As in the other polls, UConn, Louisville, and Syracuse were not among those receiving votes. Click Here for Brian Cook's detailed analysis of the opening poll.
The bunching of the top five Big East teams shows the perceived parity among these teams, but it is just a perception at this point and it could change radically and quickly once the pigskins start flying. I'd also like to point out that I have seen this parity referred to on two websites (non-Rutgers websites) as the "parody within the Big East," which is a perfect example of someone who is getting their language skills verbally through radio and television and hoping that his or her (OK, his) spellchecker will bail him out (in these cases it just made him look silly, or a parody of a sports journalist).

The Rolling R ... a new tradition for a new Rutgers Stadium?

Yesterday I wrote about the traditional Rutgers football cheers and back in June I suggested that the best way to celebrate the closing of the oval at Rutgers Stadium might be with a wave. Spectating purists -- those who like to enjoy baseball games with a scorecard and a pencil, or sit with their radio headphones and binoculars at football games -- see the wave as a travesty that ruins the true pure sports spectating experience (the same way that some at UConn see their Husky cheerleaders).


video
This wave occurred at Rutgers Stadium on September 1, 2008.


The real problem with waves is that nobody is very good at them. The crest of the wave approaches and no one knows what to say, except for the anoraks with the radios and reading material who are shouting "Quiet!" and "Down in Front!". The rest of us stand and throw our arms up in the air, but we sound like we are quoting Otto at an Octonion meeting: Whee! Yippee! Yeah! Lollipops'n'Twizzlers!

What if the only official accepted wave vocalization in R House were "R" (pronounced "ARRRRGH", like a pirate) drawn out in a long rolling wave around the Stadium. And it's no longer called "a wave" of course. It's now "The Rolling R" -- a new tradition in a new Rutgers Stadium.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rule #12, or Training Camp for the Rest of Us

The players have been training hard for a while now but our training camp, as fans, is much easier. Your whole playbook fits into this one short blog post.
We have many fewer rules than the Freshmen of the Class of 1923 had in the Rutgers College Handbook Volume XXVI, 1919-1920 , but rule number 12 from that little book should be considered as true now as it was then (see the full Freshman Regulations with Beat Visitor's 2009 annotations by clicking here):
The first football game of the year against the Cincinnati Bearcats is less than two weeks away, and here are The Four Absolutely Necessary Songs and Yells at Rutgers Stadium:
1) R ... U ... R ... U ... etc. This one is idiot proof. If someone yells R at anytime on game day, you yell U. If you're on the bus from the parking lot at the RAC and someone yells R, you yell U (especially if there are fans with the opposing team's colors on board). If a handful of people on the opposite side of the Stadium yell R and point in your direction, you -- and all your neighbors -- yell U as loudly a possible. Like I said, idiot proof. But there are always some idiots who feel they are above yelling at a football game (they should reminded of Rule #12). If you and some of your leather-lunged friends are feeling ambitious, you can yell R yourself and start a chant in the parking lot or on a refreshment line or while walking into the mens' room. The line of fellow Scarlet Knights at the urinals with their backs to you are under an obligation to reply.
2) First Down! Touchdown! Go RU! After every Rutgers first down, you will hear the familiar voice of Joe Nolan proclaim over the loudspeakers : "And THAT is a Rutgers FIRST DOWN!" Your duty as a fan is to scream that along with him and point emphatically in the direction the Knights are traveling when you get to the words "first down." The band will immediately start to play a fanfare (a tune that will become very familiar with repetition as the Scarlet Knights march up and down the field at will). After the first repetition of the fanfare, you yell HEY. The second repetition will be in a higher key, you yell HEY at the end. The third, still higher, repetition of the theme will be followed by HEY, First Down! Touchdown! Go RU!. Like I said, you'll get a lot of practice in the first game. If you're in one of those sections where your neighbors like to sit quietly, and they give you a look, you can give them a look back, or make copies of Rule #12 to hand out in your section.
3) Here's the reason we come to the games rather than sitting at home listening to the radio: R U rah rah! R U rah rah! / Hoo-rah Hoo-rah Rutgers rah! / Upstream Red Team / Red Team Upstream / Rah Rah Rutgers Rah! Like the first down chant, this will become very familiar with repetition. You get a chance to practice once with the band as they play "The Bells Must Ring" before the National Anthem before the game, and then you will chant it over and over again after every Rutgers touchdown or field goal (you can see it in action at the 2:19 mark in this video -- you will also hear where to add "Fight Fight Fight" in "The Bells Must Ring".)
4) On the Banks of the Old Raritan. You have no excuse not to sing along with your beautiful Alma Mater (the nation's best Alma Mater) at the beginning of the game with the band (and sometimes glee club) and at the end of the game with the team. Not only do you only need to know the first verse, but the words are usually projected on the scoreboard and zippers. If your neighbors don't sing, you know which rule they are violating. Also, note in the illustration up above that there is also a page for the Class of 1923 entitled "A Word to the Wise." Note the second piece of advice: "While 'On the Banks' is being sung all Rutgers men rise and uncover." In other words, don't sit down and put your cap on after the National Anthem, you have another song to sing (we'll assume that you already sang The Star-Spangled Banner with feeling and are in the mood to sing some more).

Tomorrow's Fan Lesson: Something New for the New Stadium, "The Rolling R!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rutgers Quarterbacks. Number 7, Tom Savage

It's hard to imagine the presence of a high-school junior making more of an impression on a college football stadium full of people, but on April 17, 2008, the news broke that a highly-recruited quarterback from Pennsylvania had decided to play his college football on the Banks of the Old Raritan (here's a link from the New York Post of 4/17/08). One day later, on Saturday, April 18th, Tom Savage walked into Rutgers Stadium for the Scarlet-White Game.
Click on this and you can even read Tom Savage's nametag.

No announcement was made as he entered R House, but by the time he had made it halfway to his seat, the word had spread and everyone was looking at the kid in the Phillies cap and applauding. Click on the picture to see it full size. Look at the direction into which all of the sunglasses are pointed. Even the cheerleaders are shielding their eyes from the sun to see who has dared to direct the pre-game attention away from them.
Fast forward a year and four months and the talk about Tom Savage being redshirted in 2009 seems to have been replaced by talk about his bid for the starting quarterback job this year Check out these Star-Ledger articles from Tom Luicci yesterday, "Rutgers freshman quarterback Tom Savage draws comparisons to John Elway," and "Rutgers' second scrimmage: Freshman Tom Savage makes his bid to be the starting quarterback," from which the following quote is taken:
"Tom has a good level of composure for a young guy. More than I expected," Schiano said.
And everyone (including Coach Schiano) has expected a lot.
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Finally, I just have to say that "Tom Savage" still strikes me as an almost mythical name for a college football quarterback. It could be the name of a lead character in a series of inspirational books for boys in the 1930's: Tom Savage and the Stolen Cannon Caper, Tom Savage Tames the Wild Mountaineer, Tom Savage Cages the Bearcat . . . etc. And his number, Seven, they don't get any luckier.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This just makes the Labor Day opener even MORE important

The preseason AP football poll just came out and, as with the Coaches poll, not a single Big East team is in the top 25.
If you count down through the "Others Receiving Votes," you will see that the voters placed Pittsburgh Panthers at #28, Rutgers Scarlet Knights at #30, West Virginia Mountaineers at #32, Cincinnati Bearcats at #33, and South Florida at #45. Among the Big East football teams, only UConn, Louisville, and Syracuse are starting the season with no votes.
Not to put any pressure on the Scarlet Knights, but the Labor Day game is going to put Cincinnati or Rutgers into the top 25, and move the other down into the forties or worse.
Go Knights!

Rutgers Quarterbacks. Number 10, D.C. Jefferson

This following short video from the Scarlet-White Game at Rutgers Stadium on April 18, 2009 is one of the reasons that I expect to see number 10 lining up behind team captain and Rimington watch-listed Ryan Blaszczyk at some point on September 7th.
video

D.C. Jefferson's 20-yard running play in this video may look very similar to a lot of what we've seen from the man wearing #15, Jabu Lovelace, over the past couple of years, but with an offensive line like ours, I think the Cincinnati Bearcats are going to be seeing the football carried by a wide variety of runners coming at them from a lot of angles, and at least two of those runners are going to be quarterbacks (or others in the Wild Knight formation) coming at them straight up the middle. Jefferson's ability to throw a very long ball might add to Cincinnati's defensive worries too.
I'll be shocked if we don't see at least three quarterbacks at some point in the opener.
Can't Wait.
Go Knights!
~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE 8/24/2009: With the news out of camp today that D.C. Jefferson may be moving to tight end, the real question is not the QB battle between Domenic, Tom, and Jabu, but whether or not Rutgers football has finally found its new Clark Harris!
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Beat Visitor's Final Preseason BlogPoll Contribution

Here's my updated preseason input to the BlogPoll. The changes that were made since my early first draft on August 8th all revolve around the ACL injury of Virginia Tech's Darren Evans.
RankTeam
1 Florida
2 Southern Cal
3 Texas
4 Oklahoma
5 Penn State
6 Alabama
7 Ohio State
8 Mississippi
9 LSU
10 Oklahoma State
11 California
12 Georgia
13 Virginia Tech
14 Oregon
15 Georgia Tech
16 Iowa
17 Boise State
18 Florida State
19 Nebraska
20 TCU
21 North Carolina
22 Texas Tech
23 Cincinnati
24 Utah
25 West Virginia


If you have comments (or abuse), feel free to leave them (or heap it) in the comments section. My comments section is unmoderated and allows anonymity, so feel free to tell me where I'm off the track (or full of shit). Otherwise, I'll be waiting for the first weekend of actual games to help me with the reshuffling of the top 25. A nationally-televised game on Labor Day will determine whether or not my favorite team begins its climb up the rankings.

Look for the first combined football BlogPoll of the 2009 season here at CBSSports.com next Monday afternoon and be amazed by the incredible prescience and wisdom of crowds (of bloggers).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Quote of the Day about Rutgers Football comes from Rutgers' first opponent (Let's get Gilyard a Hyundai for the long ride back to Ohio)

“We’re getting antsy. The coaches are running us into the ground. We knew the coaches were going to run us into the ground, so we had to adjust to that. It’s like if we win against Rutgers – when we win against Rutgers – we’re in the driver’s seat of the Big East. We’re driving a Maserati. I’d rather be driving a Maserati in front of the pack than trying to catch up to the rest of the Big East in a Hyundai.”


What? He's Anti-American too? He's too good to drive a new Pontiac or Plymouth or Oldsmobile?

But I Love Lo-Def Amateur Football Videos!!

Here's a fuller article from today's New York Times entitled "Leagues See Bloggers in the Bleachers as a Threat " about the threatened crackdown by the SEC on content posted online (at sites other than those owned by ESPN & CBS).
Will the day come when the Big East, in its desire to prove itself as big as the SEC, decides that I can't bring my cheap digital camera into Rutgers Stadium because I might decide to engage its video setting and post something like this on YouTube?

I have high hopes of doing the same thing on Labor Day 2009 that I did on Labor Day 2008 up above (with a different result in Rutgers' Win Loss column, of course).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just the links ma'am. Just the links.

I'm normally not a big fan of link lists, but today the news affecting Rutgers football just seems to be coming too fast.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Greg Schiano is more than hinting here at Scarlet Scuttlebutt there may be three (or more) quarterbacks seeing action on September 7:
“D.C., Tom and Jabu are all working (for the No. 2 position),” Schiano said. “Where we go is going to be determined a great deal by the two scrimmages. So we’re mixing up. Again, if you had idea where, you’d have a 1, you’d have a 2 and that would be it. But we’re going to make sure we utilize all their strengths and see if we can’t put together a plan that moves the ball and puts it in the end zone.”
I say you put Jabu in only for the long passes. I certainly expect some serious trickeration in the opening game along the lines of the Tiquan Underwood QB appearances against Pitt in 2005.
~~~~~~~~
We also like this story from the Star-Ledger's website about Jim Dumont's progress this summer and his strong family links to Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights.
"This is where I've always wanted to come, this is where I've always wanted to play," Dumont said. "Playing, it's such an honor to be here."
We love the fact that he can sing, "My father sent me to old Rutgers, and resolved that I should be a man . . ." with real feeling and meaning after every game.
~~~~~~~~
We don't like this story appearing here in the West Point area Times Herald-Record about Rutgers and Army playing the first college game at the new Meadowlands Stadium. Their source is very specific about the date (September 25, 2010) and the fact that Rutgers would be the home team (though we already knew that, because Army will be the home team at Yankees Stadium in 2011). We made our feelings plain yesterday about college teams playing in anodyne new pro parks, so we won't belabor the point here (but though it would be much better to play football in R House on the Raritan and Michie on the Hudson, at least both the Black Knights and the Scarlet Knights are giving up one home game).
~~~~~~~~~
In other not-so-good-news, this short story on ESPN.com tonight outlines how the Big East will be trading future appearances in the Gator and Sun Bowls for a bowl in Orlando, Florida named after a clothing store that you've probably seen in a mall near you. This poses a dilemma for the style guide of Beat Visitor dot com. We're under no obligation to mention brand names just because the owners of those brands have paid a fee to bowl organizers, and we try to avoid doing so if at all possible. So we can use Sugar, Rose, Orange, and Fiesta without mentioning the names of a large insurance company, bank, quick delivery service, and a salty faux-Mex snack food. We can say Pizza Bowl and Muffler Bowl and you know that we mean the bowls in Birmingham and Charlotte. But what should our shorthand name for the bowl in Orlando be? For now we'll just call it Orlando Bowl, or maybe Chumps.
You must read Bleed Scarlet's take on the Big East Bowl Fiasco in a little post entitled "Burn Providence to the Ground."
~~~~~~
And finally, in the tradition of saving the worst news for last. Ryan D'Imperio (leg) and Blair Bines (ankle) both suffered injuries in Tuesday's scrimmage.
“We’re getting some tests,” Schiano said of D’Imperio, a Bednarik Trophy candidate who Tuesday was named tri-captain. “I’m very concerned.”
The entire Rutgers family is wishing speedy recoveries to both Ryan and Blair.

Jefferson, Lovelace, Natale, Savage, or Shimko. Who's the QB gonna be on December 5th versus West Virginia?

It's been a long time since BeatVisitor dot com, like every other blog and news site on the interwebs, has run a meaningless poll in its sidebar. How could we possibly forget that there's nothing that your average internaut likes more than clicking radio buttons over and over again to drive a political or other point home to his or her (usually his) fellow internauts?

Rectifying this mystifying omission of ours became our task this afternoon, so after spending minutes of our valuable time, we have come up with the following question: Who will be the Rutgers Quarterback for the LAST game of the 2009 season?
You like the way we threw that little twist in there? As everyone else in the Rutgers football universe is watching reports from the August camp and scrimmage for hints as to which QB will be Greg Schiano's field general versus the Bearcats on September 7th, we're asking you for your opinion about the name of the quarterback who will face the Mountaineers on December 5th. Tom Savage? D.C. Jefferson? Jabu Lovelace? Domenic Natale? Steve Shimko?
You can vote until kickoff time (18 days and 23 hours from now) on Labor Day. Start clicking.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Quote of the Day about Rutgers Football (2007 edition)


"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

Let the rumors fly about which job Greg Schiano really wants. All we as fans of Rutgers football have is the evidence of 2006 (Sorry Miami!) and 2007 (see above) to tell us how our coach feels about staying On the Banks of the Raritan. We've been given no reason not to take him at his word about his plans, or his mission statement.

Go Knights.

As an alternate avenue to gain fans, maybe they could just start winning.

In their deep desire to be known as "New York's College Football Team," the Syracuse Orange have taken the drastic step of scheduling three of their upcoming home games in the Meadowlands (so maybe they're trying to become ""New Jersey's College Football Team"?).

In any case, the biggest losers are the Syracuse students. (I've seen a lot of comments about the pros and cons for Alumni and other old fogeys, but nothing about the sacred right of students to be able to stumble out of bed and into the bleachers.) If you were a student who could fly like a crow from Syracuse to New York City, you would have to fly 195 miles. As a Rutgers fan I can't imagine the students and season ticket holders being told that our "home" games were going to be played 195 miles away in Baltimore or Boston. The distances are similar, but at least there are direct fast trains from New Brunswick, New Jersey to both those locations.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Ever-Expanding Blogosphere and Twitterverse of Rutgers Football

I just stumbled upon another blog dedicated solely to Rutgers football -- Sons of Schiano -- and I added its link to the sidebar. You can never have to many Rutgers football blogs.

I promised in an earlier entry that I was also going to share my current crop of Rutgers Football Twitter links for those of you using that shortest of update forms. It seems especially relevant today with this story about the SEC proposing a ban on social media at their lucrative games (god forbid that a fan's YouTube video should draw a couple of eyeballs away from CBS or ESPN).

Anyway, here (in alphabetical order) are some Rutgers football twits whom I follow: @BeatVisitor, @ChrisCarlinSNY, @CornerTavern, @Daily_Targum, @DannyBresRU, @FakeGregSchiano, @NJ_RutgersFB, @NJ_StevePoliti, @RUAthletics, @RUscuttlebutt, @rutgersalumni, @RutgersBuzztap, @rutgersfootball, @Scarlet_Chop, @ScarletKnights, @SomersetKnight, @UpStreamRedTeam. You can click on any of these links to see the latest tweets without joining Twitter yourself; though if you join, you can take part in the conversation.
Some of these Twitterers are official twits (Tim Pernetti tweets at @RUAthletics), some are blogging twits (like @BeatVisitor and @UpStreamRedTeam), some you'll recognize as mainstream media twits ( @NJ_StevePoliti and@ChrisCarlinSNY), and others are just fans; but between them (and other Big East bloggers and media in the Twitterverse who are too numerous to mention), you start to get an interesting real-time picture of the state of our favorite team and its opponents. I imagine that the volume of the tweets will be increasing tremendously during the season, and especially during the games. I don't expect to be checking my BlackBerry too often while there's action on the field, but I'm sure that I will be checking and tweeting during TV timeouts and halftime.

If you have a favorite Rutgers Football Twitterer or Blogger whom I have not mentioned up above or in my sidebar lists, then please mention them in the comments (my comments sections are neither protected nor moderated, so feel free to add anything to any of these entries, anonymously or pseudonymously if you desire).

The Quote of the Day about Rutgers Football (1958 edition)


"Football at Rutgers has been a lot of fun. Even if I had dreamed that I might become a real good player at a big-time football school, this is where I would have gone. Here, football has been a part of college, not college a part of football. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way."


--Billy Austin


This is one of the more quoted remarks about Rutgers football, and it's been used by many to push an agenda. We just like the thought, and we've always thought that Billy Austin was the kind of player whom any team would want (and not just for his considerable gridiron skills). In some ways he created the mold into which other special Scarlet Knights like Brian Leonard have easily fit. He's a great model for any student athlete to live up to.

You can read contemporary reports about this Rutgers star in this October 20, 1958 article from the Sports Illustrated Vault and in this November 24, 1958 article from Time, both of which include the famous quotation (in slightly different versions; the version above is from the last line of the SI article).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fun, but still a poor substitute for the real thing

I went to the preseason Jets-Rams game at the Meadowlands last night. Along with the Mark Sanchez coming in for one quick series that started on his own 7 with a 48-yard pass and ended a few plays later with a touchdown, the highlight was watching for numbers 55 and 47 on defense.

Jamaal Westerman (55) and Brandon Renkart (47) both got a lot of time at linebacker in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters and both looked good. Renkart, in his second preseason with the Jets, was in almost constantly in the second half and looked especially strong (and left with a team-leading 5 tackles on the night), but when Westerman and Renkart shared a tackle on a relatively routine play at the line of scrimmage, there was noticeable cheer that went up from scattered groups around the thin preseason crowd. One guy at the end of my row pointed at me and asked, "Rutgers?" I nodded, and we both ended up agreeing that we can't wait for the real season to start (in only 23 days!).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Quote of the Day ...and more!

The quote of the day comes from the book I was reading on my way home from work on the North Jersey Coast Line tonight. The book is Rocket Men by Craig Nelson (Viking 2009, page 226). The quote from the first man to set foot on the moon is not particularly about Rutgers football, but I love what it says about real football versus its inferior televised facsimile. These are words Neil Armstrong spoke as he orbited our planet's satellite for the first time.
Armstrong: The pictures and maps brought back by Apollos 8 and 10 have given us a very good preview of what to look at here--it looks very much like the pictures, but like the difference between watching a real football game and watching it on TV. There's no substitute for actually being here. [emphasis added]
And there's no substitute for actually being at Rutgers Stadium on the day of a game. So what a great coincidence that I found my tickets in the mailbox while I still had this quotation in my head.

It always feels like Christmas when the envelope with the season tickets and parking passes arrives, but I especially love the design this year for the 140th anniversary of football at Rutgers from the drawing of College Field in the 1869 season on the Cincinnati ticket to the architect's drawing of the new south entrance to the 2009 stadium on the West Virginia ticket, with photos of Neilson Field in 1932 and Rutgers Stadium in 1961, 1985, 1994, and 2006 on the tickets for games 2 through 6. The designer did a great job.

The New Stadium Expansion Photos Posted



What a screen! Students are asked to remember the new rule about not turning around to look at themselves. Keep your eyes on the field.

It's also nice to see that some scarlet paint is finally being applied to the cement.

As always, click here to go to the Rutgers Stadium Expansion page, scroll down to the "Construction Photo Gallery" and you can see today's entire slide show (or flip through any one of the earlier photo galleries to see the quick progress that's being made).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quote of the Day about Rutgers Football

One should also look at O-lines when identifying potential surprise teams flying under the radar. Even without longtime starting quarterback Mike Teel, Rutgers is my pick to win the watered-down Big East due in large part to its five returning starters on the line.
--Stewart Mandel, SI.com College Football Mailbag, August 12, 2009

Don't wait until the last minute to reserve your flight!

The first 2009-2010 bowl predictions are coming in and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are getting some respectable early-season picks from the mainstream football press (if anything, the Rutgers fans and bloggers themselves are being a lot more conservative, at least publicly).

ESPN has Rutgers playing in Charlotte on December 26th in the Muffler Bowl (the Beat Visitor style guide calls for no brand names whenever possible, and you know which bowl we mean) against either Clemson or North Carolina.

Sports Illustrated has the Scarlet Knights meeting Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl on January 1. Like ESPN, SI also has Rutgers ranked at #27 in their first Power Rankings, the highest of the Big East teams (just ahead of West Virginia at #28).

Brian Bennett, the Big East blogger for ESPN, also has the Knights playing football in New Orleans on New Years Day.

Is it too early to check Orbitz for flights to Louisiana and hotel rooms in the French Quarter?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Tweet of Few Words to Start Rutgers' Football Camp

From @rutgersfootball on August 11, 2009:

Refreshing the Sidebar

A few days ago we cleared some deadwood from the sidebar, so this afternoon I added some fresh blood.

It seems you can never read too much about the Rutgers Scarlet Knights or our upcoming Big East football opponents as the 2009 season quickly approaches (or, at least, I can't). If you know of other Rutgers or Big East football links that you check regularly, or if anyone knows of an independent Cincinnati Bearcat blogger, please let me know in the comments. Next up? A list of my most frequently visited Rutgers football Twits (or Twitterers or Tweeters, or whatever it is we are calling ourselves these days).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Scarlet Knights at 27 (with a bullet) on the ESPN Power Rankings

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are getting more preseason respect than I expected from the ESPN Power Rankings. As with many other preseason college football polls, there are no Big East teams in the top 25, but the Scarlet Knights are on the cusp, at 27 (with Pitt at 30, Cincy at 35, USF at 39, and WVU not receiving any votes).

Looking at the individual voters, Rutgers was placed in the top 25 by 5 of the 15 ESPN voters, specifically by Rece Davis (at 15), Pat Forde (at 19), Ivan Maisel (at 23), Joe Schad (at 24), and Mark Schlabach (at 24). Surprisingly, Brian Bennett, the ESPN Big East blogger who picked Rutgers at the top of his Big East Power Rankings earlier today, did not put Rutgers (or any other Big East teams) in his top 25.
At the risk of being accused of "embarrassing, poll-credibility-damaging homerdom," I'm tempted to put my Scarlet Knights in my preseason BlogPoll top 25 too, but I probably won't. Though my gut places them in that company, I'll wait to move them up after the Labor Day game (you can safely assume that I have them no lower than 26 right now, lurking, waiting for anyone in the top 25 to lose in week one).

Beat Vistor should be writing for the Gray Lady

In the New York Times' Quad Blog, Paul Myerberg has placed the Cincinnati Bearcats at #23 in his countdown from 120 to 1. I beat him to it in my Saturday BlogPoll picks.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Update: The ESPN Shop still wants the money of all you Rutigers [sic] fans out there

I first pointed this out in May of 2008 when I first noticed it, but the following advertisement directed at "Rutigers Fans" has now been on the Rutgers Team Page at ESPN.com for well over a year. If you're in the job market looking for a proofreading job, maybe you should contact the folks at ESPN (folks who obviously don't read Beat Visitor, or look at their own online content too often either).

Well, maybe it's better than the ESPN Shop of a few years ago, which didn't carry any Rutgers (or "Rutigers") products at all.

And it's not the first time a major sports money machine has dissed our alma mater with a typo.

Beat Visitor's Preseason Sidebar Cleanup

I'm finally getting around to starting some preseason cleaning of the Beat Visitor sidebar (maybe inspired by the BlogPoll cleanup mentioned yesterday). I've added and subtracted blogs in the sidebar on a one-by-one basis over the years, but this is the first time that I've gone through the whole list looking for dead wood that needs to be pushed out.
The following Rutgers football blogs have been removed because they haven't been updated in the past year (or their link is dead):
If you are the owner of one of these blogs and you decide to resurrect your creation, please let me know. And if you write, or know of, another blog that's dedicated primarily to Rutgers football and updated with some regularity, please suggest it for the list in the comments section.

The same goes for Big East blogs that you feel are worth reading. Here are the inactive blogs I removed this morning:
And if you've been inactive for months and haven't been cut yet, get busy (or at least write one blog entry a year).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Time for Beat Visitor to get serious -- and for you to tell me where I'm totally wrong with my first preseason BlogPoll

The BlogPoll is the invention of MGoBlog’s Brian Cook and is published on CBSSports.com. Though Brian Cook's obvious emotional connection is to the Michigan Wolverines, he solicits the opinion of college football bloggers from a wide representative selection of teams from all the conferences and independents.

This year I have been invited to participate in the BlogPoll. During the season I will create my contribution to the weekly poll on Sunday or Monday and post it here for feedback from the Beat Visitor readers before posting the final version on Wednesday morning. The preseason poll has a slightly different schedule and this year it can be adjusted up until the morning of August 24th when the combined preseason BlogPoll is going to be finalized.

In any case, here’s my very first preliminary preseason poll; I wanted to give myself extra time to make sure that I was comfortable with the process before the football season begins.

Let me know if you feel I've left anybody (other than the Scarlet Knights) out of this preliminary preseason top 25. Unlike a number of other preseason polls, I could not bring myself to totally ignore the Big East, so I have included Cincinnati (because they are our reigning champions and because they are the only Big East team not represented by a blogger in BlogPoll) and West Virginia (because they are West Freakin Virginia). Again, I'll try not to place the Rutgers Scarlet Knights where my emotions put them (above all), but where their record earns them a place (one 2008 blog, the Enlightened Spartan, was drummed out of the BlogPoll this year "for years of embarrassing, poll-credibility-damaging homerdom," so I'm not going to let that happen to Beat Visitor).

So, without further ado, here's a list that will be changing drastically after the first week of games anyway, but let me know where you feel I'm totally off base.

RankTeam
1Florida
2Southern Cal
3Texas
4Oklahoma
5Penn State
6Alabama
7Virginia Tech
8Ohio State
9Mississippi
10LSU
11Oklahoma State
12California
13Georgia
14Oregon
15Georgia Tech
16Iowa
17Boise State
18Florida State
19Nebraska
20TCU
21North Carolina
22Texas Tech
23Cincinnati
24Utah
25West Virginia

Welcome Back Ray!

Here's a photo of Ray Lucas standing up above our seats during the last game that Brian Leonard and Ray Rice played together, the Texas Bowl in Houston on December 28, 2006. Until Ray Rice came along, Ray Lucas was the most famous and successful Ray ever to play for both the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and in the NFL.

It's too bad that Ray never had a chance to quarterback a bowl victory himself, but now he'll be getting paid to go to every Rutgers football game. He's going to be the new color analyst for the Rutgers Football Radio Network. Chris Carlin will still be doing the play-by-play and Anthony Fucilli will still be the sideline reporter, but the previous color analyst, Tim Pernetti, got himself a another job in the off season that will be keeping him busy during the games (there might also be conflict of interest issues in being Athletic Director and color commentator).

Welcome Home Ray!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Don't Turn Around! (New Rule for 2009)


If you go to the Rutgers Stadium expansion page and scroll down to the Construction Photo Gallery, you'll see that they've added another slideshow today. There aren't any dramatic external structural changes from last screenshot I posted a week ago, but they are installing seats and the video screens above what will be the new student section. Rather than show someone else's new photos, I dragged out one of my own and pasted it up above. It shows the old screen with its familiar STS and PSE&G ads as the team sang a postgame "On the Banks of the Old Raritan" (you can tell the picture's from 2007 because you see the top of the temporary bleachers that were first installed for the 2006 Louisville game, but were removed for construction to begin before the 2008 season).
The students used to be able to watch themselves on screen when they were at the opposite end of the Stadium, but with the new larger video display directly above the new endzone seats where the students will be sitting, we're going to have to make sure that there's a new "Don't Turn Around to Watch Yourself" rule added to all the other rules that incoming Rutgers freshmen have to learn by heart.

The Real Greg Schiano finally found a way to lash out at @FakeGregSchiano

Greg has used his powers to bring Twitter down around the world for hours this morning.
How many brilliant thoughts and precise 140-character aper├žus have been lost forever?!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pizza Pizza

Here is the number one reason that the Scarlet Knights need to win the Big East and go to a BCS Bowl this year. One Pizza Bowl is enough. Two Pizza Bowls just makes the whole lower tier of bowl games officially a joke.

Motivation Anyone?

In case the Scarlet Knight football players needed any more motivation to play as if their season depended upon it on September 7th against the Cincinnati Bearcats, or in case the Rutgers fans needed any reason to fill all the seats of the expanded Rutgers Stadium on Labor Day (and to make as much noise as possible -- your throat will have a few weeks to rest before the next important game), here it is, courtesy of today's preseason Big East media poll:

1) Pittsburgh Panthers
2) West Virginia Mountaineers
3) Cincinnati Bearcats
4) University of South Florida Bulls
5) Rutgers Scarlet Knights
6) Connecticut Huskies
7) Louisville Cardinals
8)Syracuse Orange
I don't make predictions here at BeatVisitor.com, but I love for my Knights to be underestimated at the beginning of the season (and for Wannstedt and the Panthers to be overestimated. How many years in a row do the Knights need to pummel them before we get respected by the pundits?).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Vote Early & Often. The Scarlet Knights Need Your Help

Pat Forde of ESPN (which stands for nothing) has given himself the job of remaking the top division of college football in a more television-friendly format, narrowing the elite group of teams from 120 to 40.

ESPN is asking for our help to pick the top forty teams. Click here and start placing the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the top group (right now they are hanging out in the high sixties, between Mississippi State and Air Force).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jamaal Westerman, New York Jet

Here's the quote in today's Jets Blog on the New York Post website from Jets' head coach Rex Ryan about Jamaal Westerman's skills in camp this week:
"The kid from Rutgers _ you know his name, No. 55 _ that guy right there I'll be shocked if he doesn't make a name for himself,'' Ryan said. "We're moving him all over the place. His natural position is outside, but we're moving him inside, too. He can pass rush and is a good blitzer. The fact that we got him from our back yard is a great thing.''
J!-E!-T!-S! Jets! Jets! Jets! The only time I'll have mixed feelings about Jamaal in his role on the Jets this season is if he's trying to stop new Bengal Brian Leonard.

The God of Thunder & The Prince of Darkness, or which deities and demigods help your football team get to the top?

There was more than a little controversy on Twitter at the end of last week about people using the names of coaches to post Tweets. The University of Louisville formally asked Twitter to get rid of the fake Steve Kragthorpe when the person tweeting under @SteveKragthorpe with the Louisville Cardinals coach's image starting making comments like "Whoa man saw that Erin Andrews video hubba hubba". So I started looking at all the twittering Big East football coaches with a sharper eye and I was struck not by any of Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt's inanities (which made him seem all too real), but by the great background image on @CoachWannstedt's Twitter page:
Here's a transcript of a Twitter conversation in 140-character bites that began between @BeatVisitor and @FakeGregSchiano last night and continued this morning:

BV: Hey @FakeGregSchiano ! Why don't you have a cool god-of-thunder-&-lightning Twitter background like the fake Wannstache at @CoachWannstedt ?
FGS: @BeatVisitor Simple: I have been too busy with my many other fake duties to change the background.
FGS:
@BeatVisitor Also, I'm pretty sure @CoachWannstedt is the real deal.
...
BV: @FakeGregSchiano The fact that @CoachWannstedt probably is the Echt Wannstedt makes the God of Thunder background even funnier.
FGS: @BeatVisitor Careful - laugh in the face of Zeustedt and prepare to be struck down.
BV: @FakeGregSchiano If Thor Zeusstedt controls lightning, then what superpowers do you use to beat him so consistently??
FGS: @BeatVisitor A quick-strike offense and/or opportunistic defense. I'm also an alchemist, but that doesn't help with the football stuff.
BV: @FakeGregSchiano You could also sell your soul to the original Scarlet Knight @TweetsFromHell if you haven't already..
BV: @FakeGregSchiano .... because a Prince of Darkness can always trump a God of Thunder (@CoachWannstedt) on the gridiron..
BV: @FakeGregSchiano .... and a National Championship (or 2 or 3) is worth one fake immortal soul, isn't it?
FGS: @BeatVisitor The original Scarlet Knight is the Prince of Darkness?! Whose side are you ON??
BV: @FakeGregSchiano. I'm just saying. He looks pretty scarlet to me, and we can't afford to turn down anyone's offer to help ...
BV: @FakeGregSchiano ... but of course we can assume that all the other coaches in the National Championship hunt have already sold their souls.

And really, how cool would it be if instead of pointing to the sky (or roof) and thanking Jesus for a victory and talking to the cameras about going to DisneyWorld, some jubilant Superbowl-winning quarterback of the future pointed down at the ground and yelled, "I'm GOING TO HELL!!!"? (Or is that a simple description of Michael Vick's comeback plan?)

Speaking of dialogues with much greater comic potential than the one reproduced above, it should be known that @NunesMagician made this promise on Twitter yesterday: "Consider yourselves warned...The Octonion cometh..." For those few of you who haven't been privy to previous meetings of The Octonion, please click here. I expect that the Scarlet Knight will once again provide the hearty liquid refreshments to the foul-mouthed USF Bull, the dim Mountaineer, the effeminate Husky, and, of course Otto the Orange ("Kisses for everyone!!!"). We can't wait.