The results of the game didn't matter. Sure, it was a wildly entertaining back and forth affair, full of the type of drama that makes college football such a compelling thing to be a part of. When it comes down to it though, Rutgers was going to have the best day in college sports, no matter what Temple did against BROSEC.
The mood was different. The pride was always there, but now magnified. The sense of place; the sense of being was more concrete than ever.
We were B1G.
Note the relative density of Scarlet, thousands of miles from home
We were travelling cross-country to represent our proud conference against a longtime conference rival; the hated/respected (hatespected?) Pac 12. While we've had our moments, this was a feeling of gravitas never felt by Rutgers fans before. Sure the Big East had its moments, but the Miami's and Connecticuts of the world just never felt like peer institutions. Not the same way that the current B1G lineup does.
Walking through the Newark airport wearing a Rutgers shirt, seeing all the "RUTGERS IS B1G" signs - it felt different. The cotton felt more steady. The logos felt more legitimate. The bright red of our shirts said "Fuck you, we're part of the biggest, baddest group of football teams in the land. #Dealwithit". Yes, the Big Ten influence is so profound, that we're mentally verbalizing hashtags #MetaB1G
Stumbling into a bar halfway around the world from New Brunswick, it was barely a surprise to see the lobby bar bathed in scarlet. Seeing people walking down the streets in Seattle in the days following the game, you felt proud to yell "Go Rutgers!" While this might seem second nature to many B1G fans, this is a new sense of pride for us Scarlet Knights. Grabbing a drink with complete strangers made perfect sense, just based on the color of your shirt.
We like to talk smack round these parts. We chirp a lot about ttfp. We get defensive when folks overlook us (seriously, you have been informed thusly). When it comes down to it though, we're damn proud to be a part of this great conference. We love the history, the intensity, the collegial rivalry. We love flying across the country to take on a Pac 12 team with a hundred years of great football pushing us forward.
We'll keep talking smack, we'll keep chirping and we'll keep getting defensive. Those things will probably never change. Know that through it all we're damn happy to be here and damn happy to call you our brothers and sisters.
GO B1G BABY!
Also, I love you guys.