Saturday, November 24, 2012

Keep Calm and Chop Louisville

It would have been great if Rutgers and Louisville had entered this Thursday's game both 11-0 and highly ranked. It still would have been wonderful if they both went into the game 10-1.  With both of them losing today, there may be a possibility that they will both drop out of their top 25 BCS rankings, but the stakes are exactly the same between these two 9-2 teams as they would have been if they had both been 11-0.
If Rutgers wins, we'll be the sole Big East Champions and going to a BCS game. If Louisville wins, there will be a 3- or 4-way tie of 2-loss teams, including Rutgers, sharing the title, but Louisville will almost certainly go to the BCS game.
Get you own original image or pdf at

Use the #ChopLouisville hashtag this week if you're on Twitter.

Time for Rutgers to go 1-0 again this week.

Quite the scary mascot.

The Rutgers-Pittsburgh game at Ketchup Stadium is starting on ESPN 2 right now, and I'm tweeting with @BeatVisitor over on Twitter.

Halftime Update: Pittsburgh is looking like the team that was winning decisively against #1 Notre Dame a few weeks ago (before ultimately losing on a chip-shot field goal in overtime).  It's 21-0 Pitt at the half and Rutgers only has a handful of offensive yards on atrociously conservative play calling (PROVING ONCE AGAIN THAT CONSERVATISM IS ALWAYS WRONG AND EVIL!). This is a bigger hole than the one that the Scarlet Knights found themselves in after sleepwalking through the first half against Temple before exploding in the third quarter. I'm hoping that Dave Brock is getting fired at halftime and replaced at Offensive Coordinator with a kid who plays Madden aggressively.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27- Rutgers 6, and it wasn't that close.
It still all comes down to next Thursday against Louisville in Piscataway, just like we knew it always would.
Further Update: UConn beat Louisville in triple overtime a minute ago, so Rutgers clinches at least a share of the Big East title.  If they lose to the Cards they could end in a four-way tie of two-loss teams (Louisville, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Cincinnati), but if they win on Thursday, they will own the title and a trip to the Orange Bowl outright. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Official

 Rutgers will be joining the Big Ten as its 14th member, with a target date of 2014.  
Here's the picture that was tweeted by Athletic Director Tim Pernetti right before the official announcement at 2 this afternoon.
Here's the Official Announcement from Rutgers and the Big Ten.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Updated BCS Map for 18 November 2012

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-1, 5-0) are still the only team from the Northeast among the 25 colleges in the BCS rankings announced tonight. Ohio has gained color once again with the Kent State Golden Flashes moving into the BCS picture at number 23.

Geographical Distribution of the 25 ranked BCS football teams on 11/18/12.

Rutgers at 18 in the BCS Standings

As shown one minute ago on ESPN:
As seen on TV, 18 November 2012.

Keep Calm and Chop Pitt

The Scarlet Knight players and coaches need to keep only one thing on their minds this week, going one and oh against the Pitt Panthers, who may be the most unpredictably dangerous team around, looking hapless one week and dominating (though somehow losing to) the Number One Fighting Irish the next. 
Rutgers needs to expect to see the latter at a half-empty Ketchup Stadium in Pittsburgh at noon on Saturday. All thoughts of the Louisville matchup and  BCS Bowls and Big Ten invitations need to be erased.  All that matters this week is the need to Chop Pitt.  Here's your poster:
Original poster may be downloaded at

Lucky Member 13 of the Big Ten

Here are a few links about the reports today that Rutgers and Maryland may soon be invited to become the 13th and 14th members of the Big Ten [sic, of course, but no more ridiculous than the fact that the so-called "Big East" will soon include teams from San Diego, California and Boise, Idaho]:
  • "Maryland, Rutgers to Join Big Ten?" from, giving the basic AP story that is available all over the web this morning.
  • Video on on the possibility focusing more on Maryland than Rutgers, but bringing out important points about the Big Ten giving up on Notre Dame after the Dame picked the ACC. Also noting that Maryland and RU are both AAU academic institutions, Land Grant universities, in states contiguous to the current Big Ten, and in large TV markets the Big Ten Network would like to break into. The way Andy Katz descibes it in this video, you wonder why the Terrapins and the Knights aren't already playing the Wolverines, Buckeyes, and Nittany Lions.
  • "Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is mum on possible move to the Big Ten" from quotes Coach Flood, who echoes the feelings of all long-time Scarlet Knights fans: ``I’ve heard a lot of things over the last eight years and I’ve come to realize that the best thing for me to do is the not react to it. Those types of decisions I leave up to Tim Pernetti and the athletic department. I know they’re going to make sure that regardless of what happens, we’ll be in a good place.’’  He needs to concentrate on only one thing, making sure the 9-1 Knights are 1-0 again this week against Pitt.
  • Steve Politi's take on the change on puts the case for the change in its best light, and includes the following quote from former AD Bob Mulcahy: "The Big Ten is the dream scenario. That’s what I always felt. I felt the combination of land grant universities and research universities, plus athletics, Rutgers would fit right in.
Also, it's hard to imagine a more natural rivalry than the one that could develop between the state universities of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Keep Calm and Chop Cincy

Don't tell the players how big tomorrow's game at Nippert Stadium is -- that a win keeps the Scarlet Knights (8-1, 4-0) all alone in first place in the Big East and a loss creates a three-way tie between the Bearcats, Cardinals, and R Team.
Don't let them know.
Tell them to keep calm and try to go 1 and 0 again this week.

Get your copy of the poster from

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Updated BCS Map as of November 12

The Northeastern United States still has only one representative in this week's updated map of the 25 teams included in BCS rankings of November 12, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights:

Geographic distribution of 25 BCS-ranked teams on November 12, 2012.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The 1869 Targum Article About America's First College Football Game

Today's the 143rd anniversary of the first intercollegiate football game between Rutgers and Princeton (and Notre Dame is making a big fucking deal about their 125th anniversary this year).

About a dozen years ago I was lucky enough to receive as a present the book that you see to your right. If the gift-giver who stumbled on it in a used book store had been a loyal son of Rutgers rather than a graduate of Boston University, he never would have passed this treasure along to to me. It's long out of print (it doesn't even have an ISBN number); it was published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Rutgers in 1966. This little (250-page) book consists of about 40 short chapters or anecdotes about our alma mater (including the one retyped below). Rutgers University Press also published a larger, more official title, Rutgers: A Bicentennial History, by Richard P. McCormick, chairman of the History Department in 1966 and a professor of mine in 1973 (and the father of the former President McCormick).

The details of the game reprinted below are a little like reading the details of a cricket match (if, like me, you don't know all the rules of cricket), but here's the first-hand report of the first intercollegiate game of "foot-ball" played on American soil; here it is exactly as reported first in the Targum in 1869, and as reprinted in Aloud to Alma Mater, edited by George Lukac, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1966, pages 67-69.

Enjoy! But remember, there will be a pop quiz on this information later this year.

The Birth of Intercollegiate Football
On Saturday, November 6, Princeton sent twenty-five picked men to play our twenty-five a match game of foot-ball. The strangers came up in the ten o’clock train, and brought a good number of backers with them. After dinner, and a stroll around the town, during which stroll billiards received a good deal of attention, the crowd began to assemble at the ball ground, which, for the benefit of the ignorant, we would say, is a lot about a hundred yards wide, extending from College Avenue to Sicard Street. Previous to calling the game, the ground presented an animated picture. Grim looking players were silently stripping, each one surrounded by sympathizing friends, while around each of the captains was a little crowd, intent upon giving advice, and saying as much as possible. The appearance of the Princeton men was very different from that of our own players. They were almost without exception tall and muscular, while the majority of our twenty-five are small and light, but possess the merit of being up to much more than they look.
Very few were the preliminaries, and they were quickly agreed upon. The Princeton captain, for some reason or other, gave up every point to our men without contesting one. The only material points were that Princeton gave up “free kicks,” whereby a player, when he catches the ball in the air, is allowed to kick it without hindrance. On the other hand, our practice of “babying” the ball on the start was discarded, and the ball was mounted, in every instance, by a vigorous “long kick.”
Princeton won the toss, and chose the first mount, rather oddly, since it had been agreed to start the ball against the wind. At three p.m. the game was called. The Princetonians suffered from making a bad “mount” or “buck” as they call it; the effects of which were not remedied before the sides closed, and after a brief struggle, Rutgers drove it home, and won, amid great applause from the crowd. The sides were changed, Rutgers started the ball, and after a somewhat longer fight Princeton made it a tie by a well directed kick, from a gentleman whose name we don’t know, but who did the best kicking on the Princeton side.
To describe the varying fortunes of the match, game by game, would be a waste of labor, for every game was like the one before. There was the same headlong running, wild shouting, and frantic kicking. In every game the cool goal-tenders saved the Rutgers goal half a dozen times; in every game the heavy charger of the Princeton side overthrew everything he came in contact with; and in every game, just when the interest in one of those delightful rushes at the fence was culminating, the persecuted ball would fly for refuge into the next lot, and produce a cessation of hostilities until, after the invariable “foul,” it was put in straight.
Well, at last we won the match, having won the first, third, fifth, sixth, ninth, and tenth games; leaving Princeton the second, fourth, seventh, and eighth. The seventh game would probably have been added to our score but for one of our players, who, in his ardor, forgot which way he was kicking, a mistake for which he fully atoned afterward.
To sum up: Princeton had the most muscle, but didn’t kick very well, and wanted organization. They evidently don’t like to kick the ball on the ground. Our men, on the other hand, though comparatively weak, ran well, and kicked well throughout. But their great point was their organization, for which great praise is due to the Captain, Leggett ’72. The right men were always in the right place.
After the match, the players had an amicable “feed” together, and at eight o’clock our guests went home, in high good spirits, but thirsting to beat us next time, if they can.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Northeast Again Has a Representative on the BCS Map

Rutgers has again brought the Northeast back onto the BCS map this week, without running a single play.
Geographic Representation of the 25 ranked BCS teams, 4 November 2012.
Idaho, West Virginia, and Arizona dropped off the map this week, replaced by New Jersey, Illinois (Northwestern), and Ohio (Toledo is the third representative from this battleground state to rise onto the BCS rankings in 2012, after Cincinnati and Ohio).

Rutgers Back in the BCS Top 25

At number 23:
As Seen on ESPN at 8:30 on 11/4/2012.

Rutgers in the Polls

On this off week, The 7-1 Scarlet Knights (4-0 Big East) rose back up to 20 in the Coaches Poll and 24 in the AP Poll.

It's also interesting to see that the 8-1 Kent State Golden Flashes (5-0 MAC), the one team to beat the Scarlet Knights, won again and are very close to being ranked in both polls themselves.