Sunday, November 29, 2009

What do we have to be thankful for? (other than the fact that we're not from West Virginia)

Before Thanksgiving weekend ends, I just want to say a quick thank you for (and to) this year's crop of true Rutgers freshmen.
No matter what happens with Tom Savage and Mohamed Sanu (and De'Antwan Williams and Mark Harrison and Antwan Lowery and the others) in the last two games of the season against the West Virginia Mountaineers and the bowl opponent to be named later, we have seen what looks like the beginning of a bright future for Rutgers football in 2009.
Next Saturday is Senior Day. The freshmen will see the tradition they have to live up to, and what they should try to surpass in their next three years On the Banks. (And though we wish him continued success in the NFL, it's just too bad that Kenny Britt couldn't have been celebrating his Senior Day against West Virginia next Saturday at noon.)

The Steve Kragthorpe and Charlie Weis Memorial BlogPoll Ballot

As always, you can click on the thumbnail to your right to read my scribbled notes for this week's ballot. It's strange to see all the green highlighting disappear with the second losses dealt out to Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech this week in their annual rivalry games. It's hard to imagine which is stranger at this late point in the season, to have zero one-loss teams, or to have six undefeated teams. Both feel like they could be unprecedented (though those who enjoy that sort of trivial research will be sure to tell me which seasons provided precedents), and the combination looks and feels extremely unique.
I, like any good Yankee ("Yankee" as in northerner, not as in pinstriped indentured bat-wielding servant of the Steinbrenner family) was hoping for anarchy in the South this weekend, but Alabama and Florida and Texas continued on their boring path toward a National Championship game that could have been scheduled by preseason pollsters back in August. A Horned Frog vs Bearcat matchup for the great crystal football tchotchke is looking pretty unlikely at this point and the chances for any other major surprises are fading.

Here are my picks for this week.

1 Texas
2 Florida 1
3 Alabama 1
4 Cincinnati 1
5 TCU 1
6 Boise State
7 Ohio State 2
8 Oregon 2
9 Iowa 2
10 Penn State 2
11 Pittsburgh 4
12 Georgia Tech 4
13 Virginia Tech 1
14 Oregon State 2
15 LSU 4
16 Brigham Young 2
17 Miami (Florida) 4
18 Southern Cal 4
19 Houston 6
20 California 3
21 West Virginia
22 Utah 7
23 Nebraska
24 Oklahoma State 11
25 Central Michigan
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Mississippi (#17), Clemson (#20), Temple (#24).

I was sorry to see Temple fall to the Bobcats of Ohio; they were the only surprise team that I was pleased to add to my ballot every week.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Fakest of the @FakeBigEastCoaches

@SteveKragthorpe and @Kragthorpe have been given their walking papers by the University of Louisville today after their Cardinals were kragthorped by the Scarlet Knights for the second year in a row yesterday, so the question becomes: Who is now the funniest fake Twitter football coach in the Big East? This tweet from the person who takes the identity of Mountaineer Coach Bill Stewart earlier today may just show who is the funniest imposter of all.Sorry @FakeGregSchiano, @CoachBrianKelly, and @NotDougMarrone, but the fragmented fake folksiness dreamed up by the Twitter team behind @CoachStewart seems sometimes, like today, to have been drafted by the same comedy writers posing as the former Alaskan sports reporter known as @SarahPalinUSA.
But by quoting (without attribution) the Maréchal of France Ferdinand Foch: "Mon centre cède, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j'attaque," is he (are they) trying to compare our Scarlet Knights to Foch's German enemies? Is he calling us Krauts?? Them's fightin' words (as they say in the few mountains and hollers of West Virginia that haven't yet been leveled to yield piles of combustible coal and poisonous sludge)!

It's not really a question, is it?

"Which means more to you as a Rutgers fan, winning a fourth straight bowl game or beating West Virginia?"
It's not really a question is it? If you're a true follower of the Scarlet Knights, beating the Mountaineers has to mean more to you than beating an ACC or C-USA or MAC team, but maybe I'll add it to the sidebar as my question of the week anyway just to see if I'm wrong.Yesterday I was out of state for the holidays and didn't catch a single second of Rutgers sports news on Thursday or Friday. So what happened over those two days?
  • The football team beat Louisville 34-14 and put the final nail into Steve Kragthorpe's coffin on Friday morning and afternoon.
  • The men's basketball team beat UMass yesterday 83-75.
  • The women's basketball team beat Southern Cal by 66-51 on Thursday and Mississippi State by 62-54 yesterday.
So, should I continue to help the success of the Scarlet Knights by ignoring them? Should I keep my eyes closed while sitting on my bench at the Stadium next Saturday at noon?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The New BlogPoll Ballot of Beat Visitor dot com Is Posted for your Abuse

Nothing else really matters this week other than the fact that Rutgers has been dropped from my ballot with no signs of reappearing soon. It will take blowout wins in Louisville next week and in Piscataway on December 5th for the Scarlet Knights to have any chance of clawing their way back onto the bottom of the list.

Neither of the other Big East teams on the list was playing this week, so my interest in these other teams was admittedly minimal. I've jumped Texas above Alabama into the number one spot simply because they were the only one of the top six undefeated teams that managed to put a real team on their schedule this week. As always, you can check out the rest of my "logic" in making these rankings by clicking on my scribbled thumbnail at the upper right.

1 Texas 1
2 Alabama 1
3 Florida
5 Cincinnati
6 Boise State
7 Pittsburgh
8 Georgia Tech
9 Ohio State
10 Oregon 1
11 Iowa 1
12 Penn State 1
13 Oklahoma State 1
14 Virginia Tech 3
15 Utah 3
16 Oregon State
17 Mississippi
18 Brigham Young 2
19 LSU 9
20 Clemson 1
21 Miami (Florida) 1
22 Southern Cal 1
23 California
24 Temple
25 Houston
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#15), Stanford (#16), Rutgers (#19). I should have ranked Notre Dame last week so I could have dropped them out again after their very satisfying loss to UConn yesterday. Congratulations to the Huskies!

There's no doubt about who "New York's College Team" was this weekend

It started on Friday night when I found it pleasant to root for the basketball Orange over the boys in Baby Blue from North Carolina after work in Madison Square Garden. I was supporting the Big East over the ACC as I joined in the "Let's Go Orange" chants with the vast majority of the crowd there at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic final. And I was sure the Orange were going to lose to the Scarlet in the sport that I really cared about the next day.
Even when I climbed into the car and turned on 710 WOR to listen to the game after the Orange were already up by two touchdowns yesterday afternoon, I wasn't really worried about the final results. Wasn't it the third year in a row that Rutgers had spotted Syracuse 14 points to start the game? Wasn't Syracuse making it a habit of losing heartbreakers in 2009? And didn't Joe Lefeged block a punt a minute after I turned on the radio as an omen of Rutgers' inevitable comeback?
I guess now we're going to have to change that strategy of giving away the first two touchdowns whenever we see orange. I guess now I'm going to have to stop rooting for Syracuse in any sport, because now the war for New York City is officially on, and Syracuse won a major battle this weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

West Virginia looks like it will be sold out soon

Out of curiosity, I just went to see what kind of tickets were still available for the last home game against the Mountaineers. I went online at and clicked "Best Available" and was offered two in section 214, the last section of the upper deck. So buy them quickly if you don't have them already.

And here's hoping that everyone who buys a ticket shows up at noon on the last Saturday of the season. I hope doesn't predict rain again like they did (incorrectly) for the South Florida game, scaring away all those fair-weather Scarlet Knight fans who are prone to melting in water.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't Let Greg Paulus See This Before Saturday

Why the Huskies need to massacre the Leprechauns on Saturday

In his most recent prediction of the 34 2009-2010 bowl matchups, Stewart Mandel presents the possibility of this outrage, a mediocre Notre Dame stealing the 2nd Big East bowl slot in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day. The "other" Big East teams are allocated to the following bowls:
  • Pittsburgh as Big East champs in the Sugar Bowl against Florida.
  • Cincinnati as the "3rd place" Big East team in the Muffler Repair Shop Bowl against North Carolina.
  • West Virginia in the Pizza Bowl of Birmingham against South Carolina.
  • Rutgers in the St. Petersburg Bowl against Southern Miss.
  • USF in the International Bowl against Temple.
  • UConn in the Pizza Bowl of Detroit against Central Michigan (because the Big Ten won't have enough bowl-eligible teams for all their bowl slots).
As much fun as it would be to see Notre Dame lose to Virginia Tech by five touchdowns in the Gator Bowl, I'd much rather see that bowl slot go to a worthier Big East team, and see the Dames blown out by the University of Connecticut this weekend. I hope the Huskies' football players get a cathartic release of every bit of frustration they have felt in this season's close losses to Pitt, UNC, Rutgers, and Cincinnati.

What a Difference a Month Makes

I don't pretend that Beat Visitor dot com and Protect R Turf have an identical readership, but I think it's safe to assume that we both have a readership that consists mostly of Rutgers football fans. A few days ago I noticed that we had asked our readers almost the same question.
The Protect R Turf question was asked before the Army game and the results were completed before the UConn game on Halloween (a Halloween that will induce nightmares in the little children of Storrs for years to come), when RU had yet to chalk up its first Big East victory. The question was "How many Big East games will Rutgers win?" As you can see from the graphic in the upper left, 2 wins was the winner with 27%, followed by 3, 4, and Zero wins with 24%, 24%,and 16% respectively. 5 wins received only 4% of the meaningless internet polling clicks.

So move forward a couple of games to the sidebar poll that I posted just before the UConn game and which ended earlier today, with the Knights' BE record standing at 2-2. In answer to my similar question, "What will Rutgers' 2009 Big East Record Be?" the results were much less equivocal. Now a full 62% of Beat Visitor readers are sure that the Orange, Cardinals, and Mountaineers will fall like wind-blown dominoes before the mighty Scarlet Knight juggernaut on its way to a 5-2 Big East (and 10-2 overall) record.
What a difference a month makes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A famous RU alum fondly remembers his daze On the Banks

I have to thank Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician for digging up this clip of Mr. Magoo nostalgically treasuring his happy Rutgers connections.

The big lie

Yeah, that's the only thing I hear anybody talking about on the streets of Manhattan : Syracuse Orange football!

I think they are lighting the Empire State Building in orange on November 21st in honor of Greg Paulus.

My favorite statistic

Not only are the Scarlet Knights leading the FBS schools in turnover margin for another week, but they are now officially leading by what is technically known among professional statisticians as "a shitload," with 29 gained and 8 lost for a margin of +2.33.

The Syracuse Orange (orange you glad you don't go there), tied for 97th with a turnover margin of negative .70, should liberally apply the Krazy Glue to their gloves before Saturday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Beat Visitor dot com BlogPoll Ballot Is Up for Your Comments

I watched the Rutgers - South Florida game on Thursday night from my aluminum bench in Piscataway, but as any other game would have been boring in comparison, my information about games played by non-Scarlet-Knight teams last weekend comes entirely from the internets after the fact. My in-depth analysis of the games I didn't see is reflected in the scribbled notes to your right and in the updated BlogPoll ballot posted below. You got a problem wit' that?

1 Alabama
2 Texas 1
3 Florida 1
4 TCU 1
5 Cincinnati 1
6 Boise State
7 Pittsburgh 1
8 Georgia Tech 1
9 Ohio State 2
10 LSU
11 Oregon 1
12 Iowa 3
13 Penn State 5
14 Oklahoma State 5
15 Wisconsin 6
16 Stanford
17 Virginia Tech 3
18 Utah 2
19 Rutgers 4
20 Brigham Young 4
21 Clemson
22 Miami (Florida) 5
23 Southern Cal 10
24 Temple 1
25 Houston 11
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Arizona (#15), South Florida (#22).