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Know your foe: Rutgers Football 2010

This is gonna be a BUSY weekend.....second on the list, a tussle in dirty Jersey in the land of grease trucks, otherwise known as Rutgers University.

 

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History: Only seven colleges in this country have a history more prestigious than Rutgers'.  The school was founded by members of the Dutch Reformed Church (remember, Apartheid in South Africa grew out of one of these churches.  I'm just trying to get you to bash Rutgers) in 1766 because they were jealous of the Presbyterians' new College of New Jersey (not to be confused with today's TCNJ; that school is now called Princeton) and wanted to have a place where ministers could be ordained.  They named the school Queens College in honor of King George III's Queen Consort.  They had a vote on whether to have the school in Hackensack or New Brunswick, and New Brunswick won out.  Around the time of the War of 1812, Queens College had to close down because it lost a lot of money, and reopened in 1825 as Rutgers College, named after Colonel Henry Rutgers, a Revolutionary War hero.  Of course, the man was still alive and donated a lot of money to the school.  In 1864, the state of New Jersey took over Rutgers as its land grand school and established the Rutgers Scientific School with engineering, chemistry, and agricultural departments.  Over time, these schools developed into their own sub-colleges in their own right, and Rutgers began a women's college and education college in the early 20th century.  In 1945, Rutgers was designated the official State University of New Jersey.  In the 1970s Rutgers became co-ed.

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey, although the athletic campus is in across-the-river Piscataway.  New Brunswick was originally inhabited by the Lenni Lenapes; Europeans first arrived in 1861 and called it Prigmore's Swamp, then Inian's Ferry.  In 1714 they named it New Brunswick after the German city of Braunchweig.  In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was read here for the third time, and around the turn of the 20th Century a lot of Hungarians began moving in.  Since, the city suffered from the usual urban decay in the 60s and 70s, and then recent renewal.  Bandaid maker Johnson & Johnson still has its headquarters there, and played a big part in the city's renewal.

Academics: Rutgers is enormous, with 38k plus undergrads and 13.5k grads.  It's a very unique school in that it's the only school that has a colonial charter, a land grant, AND is a big state school (another colonial state school, William & Mary, does not have a land grant).  Rutgers is one of the few members of the Big East that belongs to the AAU, and also belongs to Middle States.  US News ranks it 64th nationally, and it's considered one of the top 20 universities for producing rich people, aka sleezebags.  Rutgers is ranked second in the nation for its Philosophy program, 9th in Geology, 13th in Geography, 17th in Statistics and English, 19th in Math, 20th in History and Physics, and 25th in Materials Engineering.  It also ranks second nationally in food science, which makes the grease trucks seem a bit out of place.

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Notable Alumni: Lots, lots, lots.  I got no idea where to begin.  Let's start with government, I guess.  They gave us Jim Florio, governor of NJ.  In the field of microbiology, Rutgers produced Selman Watkinson, who discovered 22 antibiotics and won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.  Speaking of Nobel Prize winners, author Toni Morrison went there as well.  Charles Molnar, who inveneted the first Personal Computer (as IEEE says so), went to Rutgers.  Peter Schultz invented fiber optics.  Mario Batali went to Rutgers as well, fortunately his cuisine doesn't come from the grease trucks.  Cartoon characters Bender Bending Rodriguez and the Venture Bros. went to Rutgers, as did James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano.  Our busom babe is the VERY sexy Kristin Davis from Sex and the City (which I don't watch, and she's MUCH cuter than Sarah Jessica Parker).

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Pageantry: Rutgers has a long mascot history.  The first team name was the Queensmen, acknowledging the school's origin as Queens College.  In 1925 they changed it to a fighting bird called the Chanticleer, but that was deemed weak.  In 1955 they held a student poll for a new mascot, and the Scarlet Knight won out over options such as the Flying Dutchman.  Rutgers only has two colors in scarlet and white, and is the only school to use this color combo (many schools use scarlet with black or gray).  Hilariously, Rutgers wanted to use orange as its only color (something I think only WE do) because of the Dutch heritage of the school (the Dutch National Football team wears orange, as you remember from the World Cup).  However, in 1869 the newspapers wanted to use scarlet because scarlet ribbon was available.  For Rutgers' first college football game the players wore turbans made out of scarlet ribbon.  In 1900, scarlet became a school color.  Arcadia University (PA) is the only other school that calls its teams the Scarlet Knights.

 

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Rutgers has two styles of Scarlet Knight portrayal: let's call them the USC style and the Michigan State style; I think you can tell which is which from the pictures.  The first Scarlet Knight costume was bought in 1955 by football coach Harvey Harman.

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The helmets feature some interesting designs.  They used the numbers in the 60s, some form of knight logo in the 70s, helmets with "Rutgers" on them in the '80s, and the Rutgers with a sword through it in the '90s.  The current helmet has been in use in the 21st century.



Rutgers' fight song is called "The Bells Must Ring."  The song was written in 1931 for a contest by WE Sanford and RIchard Hadden.  The song is five verses long, but typically only verses 3 and 4 are sung:

March, men of RutgersDown the field today.March to another score,Forward to the fray;Fight, men of RutgersAs in days gone byFight! For the Scarlet Flag over the rest must fly.
Keep Rutgers colors to the foreFor they must win so fight, fight, fight!And we'll advance some more to score,The Rutgers flag flies high tonight, alright, alrightWe'll fling the Scarlet Banner out,And Rutgers men will fight, fight, fight, fight, fight;The bells of Queens each victory shoutThe bells of Queens must ring tonight.
RU, Rah, Rah;RU, Rah, Rah,Whoo-Rah, Whoo-Rah;Rutgers Rah
RU, Rah, Rah;RU, Rah, Rah,Whoo-Rah, Whoo-Rah;Rutgers Rah
Keep Rutgers colors to the foreFor they must win so fight, fight, fight!And we'll advance some more to score,The Rutgers flag flies high tonight, alright, alrightWe'll fling the Scarlet Banner out,And Rutgers men will fight, fight, fight, fight, fight;The bells of Queens each victory shoutThe bells of Queens must ring tonight.

 

The bell in the song probably refers to "The Bell" donated by Colonel Rutgers in 1826, and is only rung on special occasions.

 

Athletics:  Rutgers, as one of the oldest schools in the country, has an interesting athletic tradition.  They were independent in all sports from 1866 to 1945.  In 1946 Rutgers began the Middle Three Conference, whose only other members were Lehigh and Lafayette, and remained in the conference for all sports until 1951.  From 1958 until 1961, all sports were in the Middle Atlantic Conference, and then became independent again.  In 1954, Rutgers was invited to join the Ivy League (they would have been the only public school in the Ivies), but they declined.  In 1976 Rutgers joined the Atlantic 10 in all sports except football and lacrosse, in which they remained an independent.  In 1991 Rutgers joined the Big East as a football-only member, and became a full member in 1995.  The lacrosse team remained an independent until 2000 when it founded the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Lacrosse League, and stayed in that conference until 2010 when they joined the Big East.

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Rutgers' proudest accomplishment on the football field is in that picture up there.  It was the first football game ever played on November 6th, 1869, beating Princeton 6-4.  Thus was college football invented.  The second football game ever was also between Rutgers and Princeton that same year, and Princeton shut Rutgers out 8-0, and thus was invented the Split National Championship problem that still has yet to elude us.  Rutgers has statues all over campus proclaiming itself as the birthplace of college football, although their history doesn't show that it is.  Their all time record is JUST over .500.  Rutgers had one period of success in the late 1970s, and in 1976 actually managed to put an undefeated season together, although they declined an invitation to play McNeese State in the Independence Bowl because they felt like they were snubbed by the bigger bowls (because they didn't want a team from New Jersey?).  They also had an undefeated season in 1961, but the school declined a Rose Bowl berth for whatever reason.  Their first bowl game was the 1978 Garden State Bowl against Arizona State, which they lost.  They also lost their second bowl game ever in the 2005 Insight Bowl, which they also lost to Arizona State.  They won their next four bowl games, beating Kansas State in the Texas Bowl, Ball State in the International Bowl, NC State in the PapaJohns.com Bowl, and UCF in the St. Petersburg Bowl.  Notable alumni include Shaun O'Hara, Ray Rice, L.J. Smith, and Jamaal Westerman.  The coach is Greg Schiano and the stadium is Rutgers Stadium.

 

Rutgers' basketball team has the dubious distinction of having the longest streak in the country of not being ranked, dating back to 1979.  Oregon State, #2, goes back to 1990.  Rutgers hasn't won an NCAA game since 1983, and hasn't played in an NCAA tournament since 1991.  The team has four Middle Three Conference titles, one Eastern Collegiate Title, one Eastern 8 title, and two Atlantic 10 titles (1983 and 1991).  They won two A-10 tournaments in 1979 and 1989, and have been to 6 NCAA tournaments (1975, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1989, and 1991), and only advanced passed the second round in 1976, when they made it all the way to the Final Four before losing to Michigan (when's the last time you've seen a Final Four featuring one of THOSE teams!?). The current coach is Fred Hill, the first game was played in 1906, and they play at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.

However, the WOMEN'S basketball team has a strong tradition as of late.  They made the 2007 NC game before losing to Pat Summitt's legendary Lady Vols.  They also went to the 2006 Elite Eight.

Rutgers began playing lacrosse in 1887, but the team only lasted for three years.  In 1920 the sport was restored, and won a pre-tournament era NC in 1928, sharing it with Maryland, Navy, and Hopkins.  The program was jump started by Syracuse all-American Fred Fitch, who went 106-71-8 before retiring in 1949.  In 1955, they even managed to beat a Syracuse team led by the great Jim Brown.  Rutgers played in the second NCAA tournament in 1972.  The Knights had a strong period in the '80s, going to five NCAA tournaments that decade under Tom Hayes.  They advanced for the first time in 1986.  They went to two NCAA tournaments this past decade under coach Jim Stagnitta.

Rival: Probably Rutgers' most meaningful rival is with the UConn women's basketball team, the two programs being the most successful in the Big East as of late.  In other sports it's far more difficult to figure out who Rutgers' rival is.  In football, ESPN says "well, we guess Princeton," but I have a lot of friends at Rutgers and they were there during the season when Rutgers went 11-2, and their big win against Louisville, so they decided their rival would be Louisville.  Hilariously, many at Rutgers consider Syracuse to be a rival (which makes sense in lacrosse, but not in anything else.  It would had Syracuse been closer to the Hudson River because normally NY-NJ rivalries have to cross the Hudson).  Oh, and then there's the Pat Forde Memorial Trophy.

Outlook: Rutgers is similar to Louisville in the way they play, and that's too bad because we lost to Louisville.  Hopefully our defense can get its act together and stop the run.  Otherwise we're done.  Go Orange!

 


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