Make no mistake: Rutgers will be the No. 2-ranked team on my Top 25 ballot on Sunday.
(Talking more realistically, someone needs to explain why Rutgers SHOULDN'T replace Louisville at No. 3. If you watched the game, I defy you to pick out a more impressive defensive showing -- particularly given what a juggernaut the L'ville offense is/was -- this season. If Louisville was the third-best team in the country, where do you possibly rank the still-unbeaten team that just beat them, if NOT No. 3? Anything else is complete b.s.)
This confirms that poll voters have been GROSSLY underrating Rutgers -- I'm quite sure because of Rutgers' rep -- by ranking them in the mid- to high teens.
That was one of the most amazing CFB games -- and especially one of the most amazing CFB halves -- I've seen in a long time. Particularly factoring in the stage of the season, the records of the two teams and the national-TV solo spotlight, I'd rank it as the best team performance of the season, ahead of Ohio St beating Texas, Arkansas beating Auburn, Louisville beating West Virginia or Michigan beating Notre Dame.
Consequently, I would like to think that poll voters, self-proclaimed media "experts" and fans will finally believe in the strength and talent of this Rutgers team and accept them -- if they win out, which would include a win over West Virginia -- as a legitimate pick for the BCS title game.
(Hell, given the defense I just saw dominate Louisville's X-Box offense, I'm quite sure that Rutgers would give Ohio State or Michigan a hell of a game. Although given the realities of the BCS formula and what I'm sure will be a continued PC- and human-poll bias against Rutgers that will spike their BCS rankings, I can imagine there are a fair number of happy fans of Florida, Texas, Cal, USC and Auburn. Oh, and people everywhere who hate the BCS.)
My upshot: It's totally fair to join me in jumping on the Rutgers bandwagon and root like crazy for a team that has historically sucked so horribly, but it's totally unfair to continue to hold that legacy against them in the polls or the BCS rankings. I'm so serious: Rutgers as No. 2 (though I'll happily agree with any/all who want to rank them at No. 3), and an utterly worthy BCS title-game team.*
By the way, after tonight I'd put Rutgers RB Ray Rice -- who had 75 yards IN THE FOURTH QUARTER ALONE -- at the TOP of my Heisman list. (Yes, ahead of Troy Smith, who -- let's all admit it -- is given preferential treatment mostly for being the QB on the No. 1 team in the country. But, hey, he's my clear-cut No. 2. So stop griping, OSU fans.)
Wow, I'm SO freaking ecstatic about this Rutgers result. Hell, you can't be a college football fan (well, maybe outside of Louisville) and NOT be happy about it. My close college buddy called me just as Rutgers was finishing off their winning drive and said, "Now I know what it must have felt like for the rest of the country to watch Northwestern in 1995." Amen to that. You know I can digest it into my standard catchy slogan:
We're all Rutgers fans.
* - For now... who knows what will happen when Rutgers plays at West Virginia on Dec. 2 in what could very likely be Rutgers' play-in game for the national title. Think West Virginia isn't going to kill themselves at home trying to play the spoiler? And for the record, the Big East tie-breaker for the league's automatic BCS bowl bid is by highest final BCS ranking.
So what we're looking at is the very real possibility that even if Rutgers climbs up to that deserving No. 3 spot NOW, if they lose at West Virginia on 12/02, we end up with the delightful proposition of having the BCS formula implode while sorting through the remaining BCS-favored one-loss teams to determine an opponent for the winner of the Ohio St-Michigan game. Currently, that list could include any/all of the following: Florida, Texas, USC/Cal winner, USC/Notre Dame winner (if USC beats Cal), Auburn (amazingly, without making the SEC title game), Arkansas and the Ohio St-Michigan loser. Ah, screw it: Just win out, Rutgers!