Thursday, November 9, 2006


The Tri-State Area's favorite underdogs, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (#13 BCS) play the Louisville Cardinals (#3 BCS) tonight in Piscataway in what might be the most important football game in their 137 year history. This is the first time Rutgers has played a ranked team while also being ranked themselves, going to back when Ulysses S. Grant was still President and they played the first intercollegiate game against Princeton in 1869. Rutgers football has never been good, mainly because they could never attract the top local high school players, who would end up at Penn State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and the like. And before Miami and BC left the Big East, they would be consistently trounced on a weekly basis. So I'm happy to see them turn it around under head coach Greg Schiano, and it's great that the area has a quality college team. Even if things don't go quite as hoped tonight and their dream of being in a BCS bowl game is shattered, hopefully they can build on it and continue to recruit the top players and be competitive for years to come. Maybe they'll even get a corporation to pay big money for the stadium naming rights, and play before sold out crowds in Johnson & Johnson Stadium.

However, the excitement has apparently reached a fever pitch as it seems that suddenly everyone is a Rutgers fan. Thousands camped out for tickets to this game the other night, as 10,500 student tickets were given away for free. But even worse than a bandwagon jumper is an obnoxious one, especially those who are calling themselves members of the "Scarlet Knights Nation". Please, I beg you, this trend has to stop. There's "Queer Nation", and its much less respected bastard cousin "Red Sox Nation", and that's where it should end. If you go to the school, you can just say you're a Scarlet Knight, or if that sounds too weird, a Rutgers student. If you don't, just say that you're rooting for them, don't claim to be part of some fictitious "club". It's pathetic, and actually kind of creepy.

Personally, I never understood people who buy season tickets and go to college games without having any affiliation with the school whatsoever. Maybe people are looking to "be a part of something", and its hard to beat the sheer passion and (apparent) innocence of college sports. But unless you went to Rutgers, work there, sent your kids there, have had season tickets for 10 years, etc., there's really no reason for it. Yes, I admit that I'm officially rooting for them tonight, and even though I took a summer course at RU and my sister went there, I'm not going to claim to be part of a "nation". I'm thinking that all the fairweather Rutgers fans that have popped up will retreat back into the woodwork (?) if they lose to Louisville and West Virginia over the next month, and then we can see who's a real fan.

As for tonight's game, I hate to say it but I don't see them stopping this high scoring Louisville team. QB Brian Brohm led them to victory versus a stacked WVU team last week (354 yds/1 TD, in a 44-34 win), and completely torched RU last year (315 yds/3 TD, in a 56-5 win). Although they're much improved on defense and sophomore Raymell Rice is an excellent runningback, Rutgers has to play perfect football tonight and get some breaks to win. My blognostication is that Louisville (-6) will win 31-13. Of course, I hope they prove me wrong and there are some serious parties up and down Easton Avenue tonight. Knowing Rutgers, there probably will be anyway.

Go Scarlet Knights!

Louisville vs. Rutgers Preview [Daily Targum]
Rutgers supplying wins to meet demand [Daily Targum]

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