Thursday, November 09, 2006

Five Reasons to Root for Rutgers

Thursday A.M. Quickie here.

Despite being unbeaten and playing in a BCS conference, Rutgers has been saddled with the college football equivalent of the "soft bigotry of low expectations."

When an unexpected, historically bad program makes a "dream-season" run – particularly when that team starts the season unranked – they are nicked twice: Not only do they have to overcome public perception, but they have to overcome voter bias.

If Rutgers had the exact same record, statistics and strength of schedule but its jersey said "Miami" or "Colorado" -- or even, say, "Pitt" -- they would be ranked in the Top 5 right now.

But because they are "RUTGERS," they entered the season at a severe disadvantage in the human polls that the team is still struggling to overcome: Pollsters can't believe that RUTGERS is any good.

I have first-hand experience with a situation very similar to this: In 1995, when Northwestern went through its dream Rose Bowl season, it took 8 weeks and a win at then-No. 7 Michigan for NU to climb to No. 17, despite being 4-1. (Off the top of my head, Wisconsin went through similar treatment during its Cinderella Rose Bowl season in 1993.)

But NU and Wisco even benefited from playing in the Big Ten. Rutgers is pinged for playing in the Big East (despite the fact that most computer polls rank the Big East ahead of the... wait for it... SEC. I'm not kidding.)

The fastest way for Rutgers to FINALLY earn the Top 5-10 ranking it deserves? Beat unbeaten No. 3 Louisville on ESPN tonight. (Whew, can you remember the last time that two unbeaten teams played this late in the season on BACK-TO-BACK weeks? These Thursday night games really have become the Monday Night Football of college football.)

Anyway, if Rutgers can pull off the upset and beat Louisville, I will replace Louisville with Rutgers as my No. 2-ranked team. End the bias against traditionally shitty programs having Cinderella seasons!

Now, Five Reasons to Root Like Hell for Rutgers:

(1) Would tilt the BCS: Vastly increases the likelihood that the Ohio St-Michigan winner would play one of the many qualified teams with one loss. (Which one? Hey: That's the "tilt" part.)

(2) No better Cinderella story in college football this season. (Or, in fact, the last 10 years. Rutgers is this decade's Northwestern.)

(3) Super superlative: It would be the BIGGEST win EVER for Rutgers football. Those kind of wins are precious and rare. (And it's AT Rutgers: Imagine the Jersey-style post-game mayhem!)

(4) Stick it to poll voters, as mentioned above. Expose the stupidity of those who continue to underrate Rutgers because they're Rutgers.

(5) Rutgers – RUTGERS!! – would have the inside track on the path to the national-title game. RUTGERS!! How can you NOT want to see that?

-- D.S.


Awful Announcing- said...

I know one reason not to root for Rutgers to get to the National Championship. THEY WILL GET KILLED!

Ingrid and Jim said...

As a Rutgers alum, I think I speak for most of my fellow Scarlet Knights when I say that we don't care where we get ranked or if we make the national championship. This excitement for RU football, undefeated late season matchups, bowl games... was all absolutely unfathomable during my time there from '99 to '02. My senior year we were 1-11.

So, unlike fans at my grad school alma mater (USC), we're really happy just to be here. For now.

Brian in Oxford said...

Rutgers wasn't ranked even in 1869, when they and Princeton INVENTED college football?

Wow, talk about no respect.

I think they lose 28-24 in a better game than last week's.

Kleinyy said...

Even if Rutger's runs the table they will NOT be in the national title game. Sadly enough it is all about the money and Rutger's will not draw the national audience that a one-loss Michigan, OSU, Florida, etc. would draw

Awful Announcing- said...

Well a fellow Michigan fan I would say that a Rutgers win would leave the possibility of Michigan making the Championship if they lose to OSU. Rutgers will lose to WVU, so everyone will be one loss besides OSU and MICH.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Its not all about the money, if Rutgers wins it's a great story. The program is VERY improved from the terrible years they've had. Yes going back to 1869 Rutgers has had only 20 or so winning seasons.

That being said it's Rutgers. I am not buying that they have come 30 years of no winning seasons which recently included a 4-7 record with a loss to New Hampshire (I-AA)in 2004 to the 2nd best team in the country in 2006. It just doesn't work that way.

Go Rutgers!

Joe (Dayton)

Steve said...

Michigan will not be in the national championship if they lose no matter how close it is.

Why should a Michigan alum care about tonight's game? It's a top 20 matchup and it's Thursday, what else are you going to do?

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Michigan?

They're going to lose big to the Buckeyes anyway. Their fans wouldn't be whining about the Big East if they thought they were going to win.

jhawkjjm said...

I think the Big Least talk needs to quiet down. Louisville's one of the only BCS conference teams to NOT schedule a 1-AA softie. I can look at the schedules of Michigan and OSU and find games just as soft as teams Rutgers and Louisville have played.

OSU fans and Michigan fans need to face the facts that the Big 10 is a fricken joke. Illinios? sucks. Iowa? sucks. NW? sucks. Mich St? ugh. Indiana? Need I go on? Fact is that Mich and OSU played 1 game each. OSU played Texas with a freshman quarterback and Michigan beat a no defense, no run ND team. I'll give them some credit for Wisconsin, but that's it. The top 3 of the Big 10 are good, the rest is pretty much crap. So Big 10 lovers need to stop praising their conference as the ultimate.

Ohio State's non-conference scehdule: Northern Illinios (h), Texas, Bowling Green (h), Cincinati (h) (a "Big Least" school)

Michigan's non-confernce schedule: Vanderbuilt (h), Central Michigan (h), Notre Dame, Ball State (h)

Louisville's schedule: Kentucky (h), Temple, Miami (h), Kansas State, Mid Tenn St. (5th non-conference game because big east only has 8 teams)

Rutger's Schedule: North Carolina, Illinios (h), Ohio (h), Howard (h), Navy. 5th non-conference game because big east only has 8 teams)

I'd say advantage there goes to Louisville's schedule. When the powerhouse schools (all of them, not just Mich and OSU) start going on the road more than once during the non-conference part of the schedule then I'll take it seriously.

Mikepcfl said...

Why the fuck should we care about Michigan? Everyone knows they will choke on their own dicks like every year.

Trey (formerly TF) said...


I'll agree Louisville's out of conference schedule was well done and I applaud them for that. However, he reason that schedule had to be set is because their conference isn't great.

You can go through the Big 10, SEC, or any conference and find the dud teams. And the Big 10 is very down this year.

However, you're going to have a hard time convincing me the 4th best team in the Big East (currently South Florida) is even in the same LEAGUE as Penn State/Tennessee/Nebraska/Oregon State

The diffence between the leagues is the fact that: 1st - The Big East has ONE extra game to schedule, leaving them with NO excuse not to have at least two BCS schools as out of conference games and 2nd - The Big East has some good teams on top, but you're going to have to give me (a Florida native) a lot of convincing to have me believe a school who didn't have football 10 years ago is good enough to be the 4th best team in any other league

If Louisville goes undefeated they will probably be in the title game and they earned it because they ran the table. However, I will not buy in top to bottom that the Big East is better than the any of the other 5 conferences.

Joe (Dayton)

Worldwide Reader said...

If Rutgers makes the National Championship Game, there is no way I'll be watching. It will be worse than this year's World Series.

When does that BCS contract run out again so we can possibly institute a playoff system? Settling the debates on the field - what a concept.

Sheldiz said...

"your an idiot" ...priceless.

Trey (formerly TF) said...


You serious? USF lost to Kansas and Cincinnati. Yes they beat Pitt, but where did you even see me mention Pitt was good? And Yes, they beat Louisville last year, but they also got it handed to them by Penn State and Miami, then lost to a bad UConn team near the end of the season.

Didn't that Grothe kid come in during the 1st game of the season? Not to take anything away from the kid,because I believe he's gonna be special, but he did start when they lost to Kansas.

I never said they couldn't beat those schools, they have shown the propensity to beat schools you think they shouldn't. I said they are NOT in the same LEAGUE. Consistency is a staple of a solid team, those teams have shown the ability to play consistently, whereas for every Louisville win USF has they have always had a Cincinnati or a UConn loss to counter it.

I am familiar with the program, I lived in Tampa after I graduated from UF and even attended their program breaking game over I-AA #1 ranked Troy State in 2000. USF has come a long way since starting their program.

However, they have a few years and more than 1 win, to prove to me they're in the same LEAGUE as Nebraska, Penn State, Tennessee.

slaskaris said...

"There's too much useless banter in this dialogue. WHY THE FUCK SHOULD A WOLVERINE CARE ABOUT THIS GAME????"

- Give it a rest, Manningham lover!! This isn't a fuckin' Michigan blog!! Useless banter!?! Since when is talking about a huge Thursday night game between undefeated teams useless banter?

Dan Shanoff said...

I have very little patience for the complaints of fans of a particular college team who don't appreciate college football's national scene.

Of any sport -- including the NFL, the NBA and baseball -- college football fans are, on the whole, the most aware and interested in the rest of the teams in their sport...

...At least when it comes to nationally televised games that involve two unbeaten teams in the Top 15 in the final month of the season.

Unknown said...

Clearly the two Manningham posters are 18 yo roomies at UM (or, more likely, mid-30s balding white guys in an office cubicle farm) who have not yet learned to integrate into the greater fandom sphere.

Track record does matter a bit. Teams like Michigan and Ohio State have been consistently good over decades. So it is easier to agree that those teams are strong this year. Louisville does not have that cred.

jhawkjjm said...

Ok I'm going to stick up a bit for Kansas, somewhat, since saying USF lost to them and therefore means nothing. yes Kansas plays in the Big 12 north which is down and has been for a few years. Kansas right now sits at 5-5 with the following losses:

1. Toledo in double overtime when the starting QB got hurt in the 4th quarter and didn't tell the coaches. Two overtime possessions=two turnovers by the QB

2. Nebraska in overtime in Lincoln. If the backup QB doesn't turn the ball over twice in the red zone completely different story.

3. Texas A&M... lead the entire game until A&M scored with 34 secs left.

4. Oklahoma St... lead 17-0 before imploding and allowing someone 300 yards recieving.

5. Baylor... lead by 19 with 9 mins left before imploding.

Had they not had 8-9 new starters on defense you're talking a team that is probably sitting at 8-2 and already booking a trip to KC for the Big 12 title.

And don't forget the whole Vince Young legend started when he came back to beat KU after a BS offensive pass interference call. KU had them beat. Texas loses that game, there is no Vince Young show in the Rose bowl against Michigan (who he singlehandedly beat).

In no way is Kansas great, but they aren't bad either. And yes I'd put them up against the the number 4 team in the Big 10 and wouldn't be surprised when they won.

Mega said...

Rutgers has beaten as many ranked opponents this year as Notre Dame has.

Yet I see Irish fans whining about disrepect. Its laughable.

Brian in Oxford said...

Yeah, let's see how the Jersey in Charlie Weis reacts to Rutgers passing Notre Dame in the polls, if RU were to win tonight.

Steve said...

Dan Mega said...
Rutgers has beaten as many ranked opponents this year as Notre Dame has.

Notre Dame 14
Georgia Tech 10

Note that Georgia Tech is 18 in the BCS standings.

Rutgers has defeated exactly zero ranked BCS teams.

Maybe do a little research next time Dan Mega.

Allen Wedge said...

Plain and simple, OSU and Michigan are not MORE proven right now than Rutgers or Louisville. Why? Because THEY HAVEN'T PLAYED EACH OTHER. People seem to forget this is the ONLY way to find out who is better, the conference or past competition has nothing to do with it, Rivalry games and ranked vs unranked upsets prove this every year. Its obvious we just need a playoff as the only solution to nonsense arguments about who people "think" is better without being able to just put them up against each other.

I think its hilarious that everyone out there always love to tell you how their conference/school is awesome and the reason is because (insert conference they don't like or the one who has a chance of knocking their school out of contention) sucks because their conference sucks or has easy schedules. Please realize every school out there has horrible teams on their schedule, the power schools do it on purpose and refuse mid-majors cause they don't wanna be upset and ruin their season while mid-majors do it because its all thats left. I think everyone just needs to realize we are all homers (espically when it comes to college), and that every conference has sucky teams not to mention none of these teams share any common opponents.

the only way to find out what teams are better is to have them play each other, relating things by the notion of A beat B beat C beat D NEVER works because its theoretical.

Steve said...

Or if what you were going for is teams that were ranked at the time they played them....

09/09 #19 Penn State W 41-17

Either way you're wrong.

jhawkjjm said...

PLAYOFF!!! Only way to actually determine who the best is.

Kevin said...

Here's another reason: If Rugters wins, they're not going to play for the national title game. They might deserve a chance, but they're not gonna get it. But who's currently #4 behind L'ville? That's right, Texas. So the scenario I forsee is: Michigan loses to OSU, by two TDs or 17 points. This will drop them down to probably #4 or 5. If neither of the SEC teams are super-impressive, guess who's going to end up at #2? The Longhorns.

So you'd end up with this completely ridiculous scenario: Texas lost to OSU by 21 at home, while Michigan lost to OSU by 14 on the road...and UT gets the edge simply because they lost earlier. This scenario could help the NCAA realize what a dumb system this is and get us one step closer to a playoff.

Mega said...

"Maybe do a little research next time Dan Mega."

Uh, what poll are you looking at? Last time I checked, PSU isn't ranked.

Steve said...

Look, if you can't even read I can't help you much Dan Mega. Georgia Tech is currently ranked in all polls and Notre Dame won at Georgia Tech 14-10 as I stated previously in the exact post that said do a little research next time.

Steve said...

Florida St. is practically on par with Miami for being a 'thug school'. I've lost count of all the arrests they've had in the last few years.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Dan -

Maybe I sound like a bitch right now, but I really want to distance myself from the more unsavory characters that one might associate me with.

I have already expressed my excitement about this 2nd consecutive Thursday night football game worth watching. It's like... um, Christmas come early?

Don't mistake my slowness to accept Louisville and, last week/month, WVU as Top 3 teams for lack of interest. I just don't think they've made their case clear yet. I believe I was right about WVU, because I was watching ESPN last Thursday night as well.

Right now I think Rutgers and Louisville should be somewhere in the top ten, and Rutgers might very well be better than UL, if only because you have to play football both directions. We'll see if the Big East showdown of the week can prove me right again.

Boise State, by the way, gets very little respect from me. Too many "States" on that schedule that they are rolling through.

The Big Picture said...

a win for rutgers not only will get the team on the map, but it may be what Ray Rice needs to get a much-deserved trip to NYC as a Heisman finalist.

Jen said...

I can tell you that I am pumped for the Rutgers game tonight! I have been all week. I will be missing Grey's Anatomy to watch it.
My cousins are all alum from the State University of New Jersey and had sparked our interest in the Scarlet Knights back when they were the laughing stock.
I hope they spank UL tonight.
Manninghams...I am now convinced you are the same person!

BLUE said...

Oh dear. Are people seriously debating the scholastic merits of their schools. Seriously? Get one thing straight, unless you went to a school that has a reputation for being strong academically (i.e. ivy league, stanford, northwestern) then everyone got pretty much the same education. And it's not what education you have, it's what you do with that education.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jhawkjjm said...

Here's something to consider if Louisville loses opening the door to a 1-loss team in the NC. Would Texas actually be ahead of Florida in the BCS if Oklahoma didn't get hosed by the officials in Oregon? OU would only have 1 loss (to this point) which would bump them up in the standings, which in turn would bump Texas up in the standings.

BLUE said...

Boise State has a weak schedule this year. I agree with that whole heartedly. But that is through very little fault of theirs. The bigger conferences aren't letting them into their league, and they're in their 3rd league as a D-1 school. They beat whoever is on their schedule. They try and schedule bigger schools (Georgia last year) but is it fair that those bigger schools won't schedule a home/home series. You'll never see a big name school come into Boise.

Unknown said...


contenders (0 or 1 loss teams) strength of schedule, (number represents overall D1-A standing)

Florida - 4
Cal - 10
Michigan - 14
Texas - 20
Auburn - 24
USC - 26
Norte Dame - 28
Ohio St. - 30
Louisville - 37
West Virginia - 38
Wisconsin - 48
Arkansas - 56
Rutgers - 64
Boise St. - 82
Wake Forest - 106

so i guess that proves the bias against wake and boise because they are wake and boise wrong as well as the whole RUTGERS REALLY IS GOOD theory

this also may be the reason that if a 1 loss team goes to the championship it'll be florida (keep in mind that USC's SOS will go up though)


1. Make the Championship game BETTER
If rutgers wins it'll probobly make the game better. It eliminates Louisville, who stinks from what we saw last week and will stink even worse if they lose tonight, from contension.
EDGE: Rutgers

2. Bring Down the Retarded BCS once and for all
the prospect of Rutgers going undefeated and not making the Championship while playing in a BCS conference is tempting.
EDGE: Rutgers

3. Root for the Underdog
no comment
EDGE: Rutgers

so i'll be rooting for rutgers here

BLUE said...

Where did you get those SOS rankings? The Sagarin rankings are very different for SOS.

Cal 3
Florida 15
Tennessee 16
Notre Dame 26
Michigan 27
LSU 29
Ohio State 31
Auburn 39
Louisville 42
Texas 47
WVU 49
Wisconsin 61
Wake Forest 88
Arkansas 98
Rutgers 101
Boise State104

Did you just pull numbers out of a hat. The Sagarin rankings are at least a credible source.

BLUE said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BLUE said...

And by the by, people always bag on the Pac-10 as not a very strong conference, but at least those schools schedule tough non-conference games.

Jen said...

as opposed to the maize and blue homo team, manningham?

jhawkjjm said...

Here's the situation. Ohio State people and Michigan people are going to root for Louisville because they feel that Louisville is the easier game in the National Championship than say.. Florida. Most everyone else is going to pull for Rutgers because of the underdog thing and the "blow up the BCS" thing. Why do people love Cinderella's so much during March Madness... because it creates chaos and is a damn good story. Rutgers is that Cinderella.

And personally, if I were Michigan and Ohio State, I'd be begging for Rutgers to win to knock Louisville out. They're offense is much more explosive than Florida's. (Sorry Dan but its true.) OSU/Mich vs Florida is probably an easier game for OSU/Mich than Louisville's is.

Steve said...


What post from the manninghams ever have shown him to be sane?