New Jersey is here!!!
You're excited about Rutgers, right?
Ok, well, none of us are, really. But here they are, and we may as well try to find something to like about them. I've brainstormed a bit, and the pickings are slim, but I've come up with a few things to like about the newest outlier of that all-important Big Ten Footprint.
1. They aren't a part of the South.
Sure, we give Rutgers crap because their football team is not amazing. It's no secret the Big Ten isn't exactly gaining a crown jewel in terms of football. This may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, however. Picture it: the Big Ten incorporates a school that IS a prestigious football program. As we all know from ESPN, the only schools who are good at football are in the SEC--the rest of us can only look on and feebly mimic our overlords. Adding one of those schools would water down the Big Ten's academic reputation like a drink from an open bar at a wedding. Soon, a University of Michigan degree would only be so much detritus, and Northwestern grads would be working for their former butlers.
But Rutgers is not one of those "skools of larnin' an' football." It is a fine educational institution, at least the second or third best school in the state! It's the State University of New Jersey, for crying out loud, and that probably matters. They are tSUNJ, dammit! The rest of the Big Ten isn't going to have to deal with the shame of football players who can't read, or with the university being forced to publicly deny blatant, horrid lies (wink wink). In fact, Big Ten academic purists, you should rest easy: 90% of Rutgers football players are either accepted to medical school, law school, or high-paying jobs in New York City. 90%! Amazing. Gaze in wide-eyed wonder at our brilliant new addition!
Unfortunately, according to this map of New Jersey, they do have a section that is "Pretty Much Alabama," right next to "Swamps and Toxic Waste":
Ah well. Their university motto is in Latin, so that has to count for something.
2. Rutgers is not located in Camden.
Seriously, you guys are bragging up Scarlet Knights while you let CAMDEN have Scarlet Raptors? Swing and a miss, RU-P.
Oops. Well, ok, it actually is--but not the Rutgers we are talking about. The Rutgers we are talking about is 63.7 miles away from Camden. And that is something to celebrate, because Camden is out-Detroiting Detroit.
Camden's tragic story in some ways makes the New Jersey bunch a fitting addition to the Big Ten. Sharing similarities to well-respected Ohio State in a state with urban eyesore Cleveland, and the storied University of Michigan a hop and a skip from supremely blighted Detroit, Rutgers can't point fingers at other Big Ten schools for their Rust Belt locations and faded glamour. Should Rutgers fans attempt to wield East Coast elitism against the rest of the Big Ten, perhaps their proximity to their state's own post-industrial urban horrors will reign in the hubris. Camden's fate is not a matter for celebration--but it is, perhaps, a bit of an equalizer.
3. They made Bret Bielema cry.
Surely you remember this story, right? Bretter jilts Wisconsin and runs squealing to the SEC, where he's going to like, totally dominate, bro. A few weeks into the ensuing football season, Wisconsin fans watch in horror as one of the weirdest officiating decisions to ever occur outside of the state of Texas results in a late-night loss at Arizona State. Bretter's wife, who clearly won Bret with her brains, class, and media savvy:
then posted the tweet heard 'round the CFB world:
This went over about as well as expected. And then, the worst possible thing that could happen to Mr. and Mrs. Bielema happened: Arkansas lost every single game for the rest of the season, displaying some [redacted]-caliber futility. Of course, nearly all of those losses were in the mighty SEC, so they barely counted. But there was one loss that wasn't SEC, and it was the loss that started that glorious slide.
It was to Rutgers.
Yes, Rutgers--RUTGERS-- brought the vain and arrogant Bielemas to their knees. Rutgers incited the epic collapse that was beyond the hopes and dreams of everyone who dislikes Bretter (that is to say, everyone whose team chant does not involve shouting "Pig! Sooie!") Rutgers taught the world--or at least Jen Bielema--what karma actually means.
They also sprayed pepper spray in Bert's face.
Thank you, Rutgers.
4. They have adorable cultural blind spots.
Did you know that New Jersey has the highest per-capita usage of spray tan? It's true. New Jersey residents last year used 53.7 million quarts of spray tan product, by far the most in the United States. So common is this cosmetic treatment that many Rutgers fans do not even recognize touchstones of humor:
This classic episode of Friends went over poorly in New Jersey, as very few residents recognized why the visual punchline was humorous.
Additionally, the collective cultural blind spot prevents Rutgers fans from recognizing how very silly they sound for hating Syracuse, and knocking "The Orange."
Left: Syracuse Orange Right: Jersey Orange
5. You don't live there.
At last, we reach the truly most compelling, indisputably BEST part about New Jersey--I've never had to live there, and chances are, neither have most of you. It is the 11th most populous state in the United States, and 8,899,339 schmucks aren't lucky enough to be able to say that, but the rest of us? The rest of us are. The rest of us don't live in a state whose name instantly conjures images of toxic waste dumps, acres of toll booths, and something called "Snookie." You may have a football coach who looks like the governor of New Jersey, but at least you don't have a governor who looks like the football coach of Michigan. Count your blessings tonight before you go to sleep.
So, now that we've explored the reasons why we should welcome poor Rutgers into fold, let me know what you think! What's your favorite new thing to appreciate about Rutgers/New Jersey?