November 11 - Scarlet Fever
Someday girl I don't know when we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
Baby we were born to run
If luck truly is when practice meets opportunity then this weekend the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers
seized their moment. In the land of Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Tony Soprano……in the land that inspired
one of the truly great websites of all-time (www.njguido.com) college football’s best Cinderella story
is being written. For a win over Louisville and losses by Auburn, Texas and California has elevated
The State University of New Jersey close to a place that Mr. George Mason currently resides. David is
once again tapping on the door of Goliath.
I’m a big fan of picking out a sleeper at the beginning of every college football and basketball season
so when I read some positive press about Rutgers in a few preseason magazines, I made sure to
tune in for their game against Pittsburgh. After being heavily impressed, I watched them play on a
Sunday night against UConn. Seeing the way they play and the way they dictate tempo was the
reason why I picked Rutgers last week on the Sportscolumn Blog to beat Louisville. You see the
Scarlet Knights are not winning with a gimmick offense. The Scarlet Knights line up, they run the
football and they play defense.
To say that the Scarlet Knights are a reflection of Greg Schiano is an understatement. This team, their
style and their success is all due to the dream Schiano had when he arrived on campus. From the
moment the ex-University of Miami Defensive Coordinator took the job he talked national
championship. That he would utter that while taking a job at a school that hadn’t made a bowl game
since the late 1970s was something that casual observers scoffed at. However, Schiano kept
chasing this goal and recruited hard in Florida, New York, and New Jersey. He built a team that could
compete with the big boys by constructing a defense that lacked size but contained speed.
Essentially he built a poor man’s version of what he coached at Miami. Then on offense he went out
and got two backs that will both play on Sunday. The first is fifth-year senior Brian Leonard. The
fullback has gone from all everything to settling into a role of clearing holes for their exceptional
sophomore Ray Rice. The former star linebacker at Bucknell has a team that isn’t the biggest dog in
the park but they sure might be the scrappiest. When the University of Miami comes calling it will be
for good reason. I personally hope Schiano remains a Scarlet Knight but I’ll admit that turning down
Miami to stay at Rutgers would be like turning down drinks with Maria Sharapova because you
already have Tara Reid naked in your bed.
If Rutgers runs the table then they will have beaten two Top Ten teams in Louisville and West Virginia
with the West Virginia win being a road one in Morgantown. They also would have beaten South
Florida and Pittsburgh who are above .500. Most importantly they would have won the Big East. A
conference that was included when the plans were drawn up for this BCS party. Not letting the Big
East champion into the BCS Title game would be the equivalent of paying $5 to get into a keg party
and being allowed to drink out of the Bud Light, Budweiser, and Miller Lite kegs but not the Yuengling
one as that is reserved for VIP guests.
The biggest criticism of Rutgers is their nonconference schedule. First off, these schedules are
generally set in years in advance so it isn’t like Rutgers intentionally tried to soften it up. Secondly, I
guarantee when they were putting their slate together they thought that North Carolina and Illinois
would be better than the bottom feeders they are in their respective conferences. Secondly, one of the
teams on their schedule was a Navy squad that currently stands at 7-3. Finally, and this if you are into
comparing scores of games, Rutgers beat Ilinois 33-0 and this same Illinois team played The Ohio
State University to a 17-10 score on November 4th.
I scoff at the elitists like Lee Corso who mock Rutgers and say that they do not deserve to play for the
national championship should they run the table. If college football is too stubborn to set up a “Dirty
December” playoff system then they have to sleep in the BCS bed that they made. If the only unbeaten
team from a BCS conference aside from the winner of Ohio State and Michigan at the end of the
season is Rutgers, then they deserve to play for the national championship. It is as simple as that. If
the BCS installs a one-loss team ahead of them it would be the absolute height of hypocrisy.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.