Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The End of the RU "dynasty"
(Fast forward to 3:30 for the signature call)
Let me take you, dear SUS reader, back to a wonderful time. November 9, 2006 was a typical Thursday night in November, except for one oddity: the Empire State Building was glowing Scarlet and Red. Why did the Empire State Building have such a glow? The Scarlet Knights of course! The Scarlet Knights came in to the game 9-0, their greatest start in the long, not-so-illustrious history of the program. RU was about to play its most important game in my lifetime: a Thursday night ESPN showdown in Piscataway against Brian Brohm, Bobby "Classy" Petrino, and the undefeated Louisville Cardinals.
And the damndest thing happened: Rutgers won! RU took down a Big East powerhouse and was suddenly a win against WV away from contending for the National Title! As The Continent exclaimed above, there was pandemonium in Piscataway! RU, the only D-1 NCAA football program in the Tri-State area, had arrived! Greg Schiano was on his way to becoming the biggest face associated with local football since Bill Parcells!
And then the rest of the season happened.
A loss to Cincinnati, the alma mater of Kenyon Martin and no other important athlete, followed by a heartbreaking loss to West Virginia set the stage for Rutgers to attend the not-so-glorious Texas Bowl. But it was ok, because RU had arrived, and they'd be back next year. Let's remember that this RU team had success with almost entirely underclassmen-Sophmore RB Ray Rice, Freshman QB Mike Teel, and Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood, a freshman and sophmore, respectively. Not only was this team good, but they were young. New coach Greg Schiano had finally done what no other Rutgers coach could do: he successfully recruited from the New York area. And using his Miami ties to bring up some South Florida talent didn't hurt either.
And then 2007 happened. The team returned everyone but beloved (see: White) fullback, Brian Leonard. With Ray Rice and the passing game having another year under their belt, they should be poised to compete for a BCS game, no? The NJ/NY area certainly thought so, as RU was no longer advertising for season tickets, but advertised for the season ticket waitlist. My, haven't we become cocky?
How would RU respond to the new expectations? With a 5 loss season of course! But hey, maybe Maryland and Cincinnati improved? Nope. And maybe the WVU 31-3 beatdown wasn't as lopsided as the score suggested? Bullshit. And maybe Louisville and UCONN were good? Seriously, stop making excuses. And Rutgers was rewarded accordingly, with a bowl game in TORONTO! Yup, that hotbed of football in CANADA.
Well ok, so 2007 was a disappointment, but this is 2008. This is Mike Teel's time to shine right? This is when the local Jersey kid steps up to the big time along with his possible NFL prospect WR's, Underwood and Britt.
And then Fresno State, North Carolina and Navy played the great RU, and all served RU like the State University of New Jersey was the Angels to their Red Sox. Even Navy, a school whose offensive and defensive lines are limited in size due to the fact that they need to be in shape to defend America took RU to the proverbial woodshed. But hey, at least the offense finally came together against Morgan State!
Hey Devo, where did it all go wrong?
Well, let's see. Teel sucks. The running game and offensive line suck. The defense? Yeah, that sucks too. And our kicker seems to injure himself every game. So we could blame the 6 different areas of the team. Or we could blame Schiano, the man responsible for recruiting these players and preparing them for Saturday. When one area of the football team is to blame, you can blame those players. But when there's one collective 3 game mindfart by the whole team? That's on you, Schiano.
And every year, it's mentioned that Schiano recruited one or two big names from New Jersey, like LT Anthony Davis, a sophmore. But the fact remains that while one or two guys come to Rutgers, it leaves that many other guys going elsewhere, either in the Big East to WVU or UConn, or to greener pastures in Baton Rouge or Gainesville. Apparently, RU has one of the best classes in the country coming in 2009. But I'm calling bullshit.
Well hey, at least RU can just fire him, right?
In a word, no. Well, they can, but he still has $10.5 million coming his way over the next 7 years. And the worst part is that while Rutgers is raising tuition and student fees while cutting other sports, this fraud is still getting paid much more than any head coach in RU history. Hell, since Rutgers is a state school, there's even an argument that my tax dollars (if i had a job and actually paid taxes on it) are going to finance this fraud. (Note: This can probably be disproven very easily by some quick research.)
But this fact remains: since the Louisville game, RU is 11-11. Greg Schiano, go to Miami, you fraud.