Although I graduated from a different New Jersey school — Ramapo College of NJ — I have always followed the football “exploits” of New Jersey’s state university, Rutgers. Let’s just say that upon my graduation from high school in 1976, the Scarlet Knights only gave me one season to be proud of before last year: the season Rutgers went 11-0 and finished 17th nationally. Unfortunately, that was also way back in 1976!
This year’s team is fun to watch. One season removed from its first bowl berth since 1978, Rutgers is a legitimate Top 25 member and undefeated. After rushing past the Pittsburgh Panthers last night, Rutgers has silenced some of its most vociferous critics who realize that there is something of substance happening on the banks of the Raritan River. Not only does Rutgers have a legitimate shot at winning 10 games this season, they are proving that both Louisville and West Virginia may want to consider that a third team could compete for the Big East title this year.
For long beleagured Rutgers fans this season is a dream come true. After years of many disappointments — who can forget the 80 to 7 drubbing by West Virginia a few years ago — this current iteration of the Scarlet Knights is likely the best R. U. team ever. Ray Rice and Brian Leonard are two standout players, Coach Schiano has developed a team that truly can play defense, and Rutgers Stadium is selling out game after game.
After years of being a patsy, it is nice to see that Rutgers — the team with Princeton that got college ball started in 1869 — is living up to its storied legacy.
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