Thank you, dear members of Off Tackle Empire for your questions! While we would have loved to answer each and every one of them, unfortunately, we made the tough decision to pick 15 questions to answer here in article form. However, if you had this absolute burning desire to have your Rutgers-related question answered, I understand completely. Ask it again in the comments below, and we shall give you an answer that you so desire. Anyway, onto the answers!
Are you as excited for the forward pass coming back as I am?
ZuzuRU: Me when I saw that huge pass from Sitkowski to Melton at the Spring Game.
Ray: Every year, no matter where I am, I make it a point to watch the Scarlet-White game. This year, it was sitting in a field in the one 5x5 square that got enough reception to stream the game. I remember that throw pausing mid-air to buffer for a sec. I looked around. In a field. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. Rutgers was attempting a throw of 20+ yards. The only that could have been better was if HOLY CRAP HE CAUGHT IT FOR A TOUCHDOWN.
So, yes. Yes we are.
If you could unleash one dinosaur of your choice
in one B1G football stadium of your choice, which dinosaur would it be, and who would Penn State be playing?
ZuzuRU: Yes, you are right that I would waste no opportunity in unleashing a dinosaur during a Penn State game. As for the other team and stadium? Definitely Beaver Stadium, and the opponent would be Maryland or Indiana. I would release the largest sauropod known, Argentinosaurus, a giant, probably gentle, plant eating dino because I don’t want anyone to die, but I want the biggest turd imaginable to be dropped in the middle of that field.
Ray: Velociraptors (the Jurassic Park flavor, not the real kind) at Penn State-Maryland, hopefully with the Indiana bus somehow being overrun as it was passing by. Now, if we could just lure them up to Syracuse next...
Who is Rutgers second greatest alum after Mr. Magoo (1928)?
ZuzuRU: This is a tough one as it’s subjective. I’d argue a few. As a few commenters pointed out there’s Selman Waksman a 1915 alum of Rutgers College, because he like... discovered antibiotics (while a professor at RU too). Paul Robeson, famous college football athlete and later political activist. But right now, I’d argue that it is Sebastian Stan, given the hype and global impact of the Marvel franchise. He’s the freakin’ Winter Soldier.
Ray: It’s a tough call and all of Zu’s answers are spot on. I’ll add Jimmy V to the list because...because...I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING.
Rate Chris Ash’s coaching job since he was hired
And what Rutgers plan is for overtaking Michigan for 4th Place in the Big Ten East
ZuzuRU: I’d give him a “B-” in the same way that a sympathetic college professor gives you a “B-” for showing upward progress and improvement towards the end of class. Ash did genuinely improve the team and I read somewhere recently that the overall quality of our classes has steadily increased in his two years. This should pay off on the field soon.
Ray: A+++ a la Ralphie’s dream in a Christmas Story. The guy turned around the tire fire after the failed Flood/Herman era and has Rutgers on a fantastic trajectory. In a few years, either 2018 or 2019 is going to look like a major inflection point, with RU Football back on the map in a very 2006-era way.
How rustled, on a scale of 1-10?
“I felt like a degree from Penn State University separated myself if I went to, say, a school like Rutgers or a school like Maryland. It’s no offense to those schools at all, but it’s just two different schools. Penn State is a well-known, prestigious school.”
ZuzuRU: My goodness it’s just adorable how Penn State alumni think their awkwardly state, but yet not ‘public’ Flagship school is somehow genuinely more prestigious than other state Flagship schools as if the mission of these schools somehow differs from state to state. [to provide a place for both capable students, as well as coasters who probably shouldn’t be in college to get as much out the school as they put in.]
Ray: I’d be salty too if I got pushed out of Heisman contention by the Rutgers run defense.
Give me one reason
That purdue or any west division team not playing rutgers this year should care about your team.
Will you beat a school we don’t like? Will your losses be entertaining? Will your coach act like a deranged lunatic? If the answer to all of these questions are no, I’ll catch back up with rutgers fans around the start of basketball season.
ZuzuRU: I think we’ll beat Indiana, soooo. Also, Chris Ash, though reserved, does seem to have a little rage in him every now and then. We may see more this year because it seems he is expecting the team to perform a lot better overall. Higher expectations means easier letdowns which may lead to Ash going volcano. I don’t know though.
Ray: The offense should be really exciting. It’s not going to be lights out yet, but it’s going to be a lot more risk-reward than what we’ve seen recently. The combination of a pro style, big play-oriented offensive scheme with a freshman quarterback who has shown a gunslingers disposition and the recipe for fireworks are there. This offense will lose Rutgers at least one game it should win - it catastrophic fashion - and will win at least one game it should lose.
When Nebraska visits next, whats it going to take for the old guys to load the cannon with an actual cannonball so they can destroy Lil Red?
ZuzuRU: Lil’ Red strikes me as the type of supernatural being to not only consume the cannonball, but spit it back with 2x the force. We ain’t touching him.
Ray: Deliver us the head of that weird inbred Lion thing that Penn State likes to parade around and then we’ll talk.
Given its notable lack of successes in the revenue-generating sports, do Rutgers’ fans regret joining the B1G?
ZuzuRU: No. Although, having had lots of friends in the non-revenue sports, I did feel bad for them because no one likes losing all the time. Though I think Rutgers is improving slowly, but surely across the board.
Ray: You’d have to be completely nuts or hold a degree from a lower tier Pennsylvania farming school (cough cough Penn State cough cough) to think anyone in the Rutgers sports community regrets the move. We’re still competing against full-revenue members with years of institutional support, so the wins aren’t coming yet, and won’t be coming for a while. All that said, the long term for Rutgers remains as rosy as anywhere in the country.
As a Rutgers fan
What single facet of your program most excites you for the coming season?
ZuzuRU: I’m excited to once again have an offense where the ball leaves our quarterback’s hand in vertical and horizontal fashion, flies multiple yards, and is caught by a receiver for either a first down or touchdown. Yay for return of the passing game! Haven’t seen that since Gary Nova graduated.
Ray: We heart Art. That dude looks legit.
The underrated and spicy Rutgers-Maryland rivalry stands deadlocked at 2-2 since both teams joined the conference
With the pivotal game 5 taking place this year, how will OTB celebrate with a victory and a recent history series lead over their heated rivals?
ZuzuRU: So I’m genuinely all for the Rutgers-Maryland rivalry. I posted a victory video of my ecstatic excitement on Twitter last year after our win. Not sure about OTB- they may celebrate with a well deserved “we made it/we belong,” article or two, but I know I will be getting very drunk on Rumple Minze.
Ray: Can I just say I really like “underrated and spicy” as a descriptor of the RU-MD rivalry. Couldn’t say it any better.
OTB will probably have a very professional write-up along with an in-depth email discussion of what to publish next. Like Zu, imma get drunk...and spicy.
Best chance for an upset in football and why?
ZuzuRU: Not sure which teams will be favored over us aside from the obvious, but I think we have a good chance to beat Northwestern, Indiana, and Maryland. I don’t think this is our year for a BIG upset, but it is coming.
Ray: Indiana is a favorite? Go home Vegas, you’re drunk. WAIT WE’RE DOGS TO MARYLAND?!?
Who is rutger?
ZuzuRU: Assuming you mean the namesake of Rutgers, that would be Colonel Henry Rutgers, a super Dutch-y Revolutionary hero.
Ray: I’m all for fun and memes, but I really don’t like this one. Buttgers is funny. Whatever BSD calls us (Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers I think) is funny. This is taking one of the damn heroes of the founding of our country and screwing with his name. Don’t like it.
tl;dr prepare for buttgers.
Which thing happens first New Jersey?
Rutgers winning the B1G East or Lauryn Hill dropping another album?
ZuzuRU: No idea who Lauryn Hill is, didn’t Google it either, so I’m gonna say Rutgers winning the B1G East.
Ray: We won the Big East a few years back. Does that count?
Zuzu, do you enjoy Jurassic Park movies?
Or does knowing real dinosaur science take all the fun out if it?
ZuzuRU: I saw Jurassic World in theaters 9 times. I intend to break 10 viewings with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. While I do mentally criticize certain egregious things, that’s not what I go to the movies for (but there are many nitpicky scientists that do this).
Ray: I know I’m not invited to this party but my household has enjoyed probably 300+ viewings of the Jurassic Park movies and loved every one. Super pumped for JWFK!
Where have y’all been?
ZuzuRU: I have been dealing with the worst of the worst in human society (working as a server in an awful restaurant chain). And I was securing a spot in a Paleontology PhD program. I'm legit now guyz [and a soon to be Trojan]) . Ray has apparently been in a dumpster... Ray?
Ray: WAIT WHAT HAPPENED I WAS DAYDREAMING ABOUT D&D IS THERE A FOOTBALL HAPPENING?
In all seriousness, this is what I’ve been dropping all my time into. #shamelesspromotion
Rutgers Week 2018 Schedule
Monday: Preview and Mailbag
Wednesday: Traditions & Fans
Thursday: TBD and Mailbag Answers
Friday: Some hate piece (and a surprise)