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B1G 2016 // Rutgers Potluck, Part 5: Time for a Treat

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Saltwater Taffy is a Jersey Shore classic. Rutgers had a lot of time to become a "classic" football team, but never did. Can we fix our mistakes and look forward to a future of truly earning our contribution to college football as "The Birthplace"?

"The Birthplace of College Football" (this sign has actually moved to the student endzone)
"The Birthplace of College Football" (this sign has actually moved to the student endzone)
User tfs27

Jersey Shore Saltwater Taffy (so many flavors) is true treat for all visitors to a Jersey Shore town.  Saltwater Taffy is almost always found in a classic, early 1900’s style candy shoppe. They’re vintage, quaint, and have stood the test of time. A very famous one is Shriver's in Ocean City, NJ (their fudge is also amazing!!!).

Since Rutgers played in the first college football game, it hasn’t really maintained itself the same way these old candy shoppes have … Renovations are commencing, however, and one of the most important tools for the job is high school talent in New Jersey. Do you think Rutgers will be able to gather all the tools necessary to play great football and reconnect with its awesome football history (to which you all owe so much)? Can we finally earn the title of "The Birthplace"?

LPW: I like "the Birthplace" way better than "High Point Solutions Stadium". You guys have that title by default, it's nothing you need to earn.

Rutgers needs to lock down the New Jersey talent and have good coaches. That's all it will take. It's not going to be easy…

AK: Is there more to the history than being the first place the game was played, though? Being old doesn't make you Notre Dame or Ohio State or Michigan. Recruits these days don't have much sense of history more than 10 years ago, so maintain your plaque on campus and put it in the booster mailers, but don't try to make it your identity. You're in a major conference, trying to win at the highest levels for what's really the first time for you. Don't call too much attention to how long it took you to put yourselves in this position.

C4B: College football has brought me nothing but heartache, so you can take "The Birthplace" and shove it right up….well, you know where.

WSR: I’m all for calling Rutgers "The Birthplace" if it’s in regards to a place that’s just an absolute mess full of sadness and bodily fluids and disappointment and debt. But we’re B1G. We’ve all got claims to fame that are older than most people’s grandparents, like when Minnesota was a powerhouse, or when wisconsin had a team that was an accurate representation of it’s fans, university, and state, or when Michigan won a whole national title all by themselves.

Jesse: Renovations are nice. You do realize they need to get you to at least even with your B1G peers, right? I know I’ve said this in other questions, but you’re now competing with 13(ish) of the richest schools, not only in revenue, but also in alumni. Each year, these schools are putting $100 MM into something neat and shiny and cool. From waterfalls to locker rooms with pool tables shaped like the stadium to the fact that five schools are 90k or more, there is a reality that it will take more than a few nicer things. You need state of the art, and that will take a lot of time. I do like that Ash is trying to lock down Jersey, but you need to have inroads in more areas than that to compete at a high level. You also need to show some form of legitimate growth and development. It can get there, and honestly, do whatever you want with the title of "the Birthplace" to make it happen, but if you want to be part of the football blue bloods (as this question implies), it will take a lot more than what you’ve been doing.

MNW: But Jesse, have you seen Northwestern’s facilities? [Will probably be the response to either the hate piece or this potluck whenever I say something negative about Rutgers.]

As for Rutgers, you already have the fucking title of "The Birthplace of College Football." We get it! We’re proud of you! But this tradition of "playing great football"... Even when you invented the fucking sport, you went 1-1 that season. The very goddamn definition of average. Let’s not kid ourselves that there’s some long-lost tradition of excellence in Piscataway.

The short answer is no. The long answer is fuck no.

babaoreally: Rutgers currently has a better football program than Princeton, so they are the current champs of the Birthplace of Football showdown. So you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.

Townie: I grew up going down the shore. Ocean City, Brigantine, Sea Isle City...I learned to loathe salt water taffy...and Rutgers fans.

Even if you do everything right...if Chris Ash is the next incarnation of Pop Warner...If Laviano suddenly turns into Peyton Manning...it will take years to cleanse the stink of umpteen decades of sub-mediocrity from Rutgers football.

Stew: First, there is no "awesome history" in with Buttgers football.  Buttgers has been pretty bad for it’s entire history, even if it was one of the first two teams to play.  But to the main point, can Rutgers actually tap into the local talent and translate that to success?  Well, they’ve got a long way to go to get there.  They are way, way behind in history, money, facilities, and fan/school support.  Also, they happen to be in a very hard division to make up ground.  They are going to be bringing in more money now, in the B1G, but it will take many years just to catch up.  It will have to be bring in money, to update facilities, to hopefully bring in a few more local recruits, and hope that translates into incremental success, and then hoping that feeds on itself.  This will all also depend on finding the right coach, or two, or three to avoid setbacks.  So, really, no.

Ray: Salt Water Taffy and Rutgers football. Two things that are criminally underrated.

Look, how is this still a question? The reason Rutgers was added to the Big Ten was because of the potential in our home state; our talent, our infrastructure, our fans, our location and our media access. Delaney doesn't make bad acquisitions and this one is no exception. The future is bright for Rutgers and my fellow conference brothers and sisters, you should feel two things:

Gratitude. Yeah, you love to make your Buttgers jokes and jabs at the little guy working his way up the ranks, but I didn’t see anyone complaining about the checks you're cashing, the recruits you’re nabbing, or the exposure your teams are getting in the biggest, most important media market in the world. Yes, we are New York’s team. AND New Jersey’s team. That’s a powerful statement that you all can take to the bank. Look, we’re happy to be here - 100 fucking percent - but how about a little thanks for helping your programs get a leg up on the rest of the football world?

Fear. Yes, fear. The Big Ten collectively just woke the Sleeping Giant. You snuck into the Giant’s den, made off with the treasure, and now the behemoth has taken notice. You cash your checks now. You enjoy a few easy wins here and there (except Indiana, of course). Just know that deep in the verdant wood of Central New Jersey, a beast stirs. You may not know the trembles in the earth portend a coming monstrosity, but heed this warning friends. The Sleeping Giant has awoken...and he is hungry.

Aaron Yorke: If Ash or the coach who comes after him can somehow stem the endless flow of high-profile recruits going outside of New Jersey, then Rutgers can develop into a big-time program. That flow of talent has been going on for decades, though, and will take more than one victory in a minor bowl game to reverse. That’s what makes college football so great. You don’t get rewarded for poor play with sexy draft picks. The bad programs have to figure out how to improve on their own. Rutgers has done that before, but not on a level that has proved sustainable. I think the next step is making it to a bowl game every year with the same coach and system in place. After that, we can talk about Rutgers moving into the top tier of the East Division. Until that happens, though, it’s kind of annoying that RU fans think their program is soooooo much better than Indiana and Illinois.

I had fun writing for you all this week. Zuzu out.