NOTE: There is a contest connected to this hate piece. Quiz questions and further details are interspersed throughout, but here’s the leadoff:
Question 1: Who is the be-suited gentleman in the photo above and what is his Rutgers-related claim to fame?
Before we commence with the hatin’, let’s take a moment to celebrate the three greatest moments in Rutgers football history.
- November 9, 2006
2. November 6, 1869
3. Gotta happen sometime, right?
The Ash years have been picked over such that the buzzards are long gone. The jokes about being the birthplace of college football make themselves (see above), but are pretty easy (see above). Let’s up the degree of difficulty a bit, and aim for Rutgers’s strength:* Schiano’s first tenure as coach. Because, the reality is pretty simple: Greg Schiano’s first run at Rutgers is lionized to the extent that it is ONLY because Rutgers has been so awful for so long. At
almost every other major school, it would be remembered fondly, but distantly. For all intents and purposes, it is completely overrated.
*Relatively speaking, obviously.
In 2006, Rutgers went 11-2, finished tied for 2nd in the Big East, and ended the season ranked #12. That SAME YEAR, Wake Forest won the ACC and finished in the top 20 as well, but is there a cult of personality built around Jim Grobe?
Think of any other school that credibly could have been viewed as the “worst major school in D1” or “graveyard for coaches” and they’ve all had seasons that exceed Rutgers in 2006. Bill Snyder at KSU. Matt Campbell at Iowa State. Northwestern, Oregon State, Baylor. The ONLY possible exception would be Vanderbilt, and you, Rutgers fan, are free to argue that you’d rather have Schiano than James Franklin. Just don’t dwell too long on things putting Greg Schiano and Penn State in the same sentence, okay?
[For a little non-Schiano PSU-Rutgers awkwardness, check this out:
Jump to 1:40 or so if you don’t care about the context.]
But when you scratch beneath the surface, the upset of #3 Louisville on a Thursday night in 2006 is really about 80% of the whole Schiano legend. Everything else is, at best, less impressive at second glance or, at worst, not fit for a Gopher ring factoid.
For example, Rutgers will note that in 2007, they upped the ante by taking down the #2 team team in the country. It is unlikely that they will mention that 2007 was one of the craziest years in CFB history, nobody took South Florida seriously when they were ranked #2, and everybody was vindicated when USF went from 6-0 to 9-4, finishing their year with a 56-21 loss in the Sun Bowl to an Oregon team playing their backup QB. USF, to state the obvious, finished the season unranked. In fact, finishing the season unranked was the fate of EVERY ranked team Rutgers beat under Schiano with the exception of 2006 Louisville.
What is more, we’re only talking about FOUR victories over ranked teams. That’s right, in 11 years at the helm of Rutgers (in his first go round), Schiano notched four wins over ranked teams. Two were over USF and the other was over Dave Wannestedt-helmed Pitt. When you really drill down, you realize the win over Louisville was less about “choppin’” and more about “conjurin’,” as in the Jersey Devil must have had something to do with that victory.
Question #2: Prior to the 2006 upset over Louisville, when was the last time Rutgers defeated a ranked team that was actually good enough to end the season ranked?
I’m starting to get bored, let’s do this next thing as a poll:
What’s the "greatest" bowl victory in Rutgers history?
This poll is closed
2006 Texas Bowl: 37-10 over 7-5 Kansas State (Hi head coach who wasn’t Bill Snyder!)
2007 International Bowl: 52-30 over 7-5 Ball State (Hi Brady Hoke!)
2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl: 29-23 over 6-6 N.C. State (Hi freshman starting QB Russell Wilson!)
2009 St. Petersburg Bowl: 45-24 over 8-4 Central Florida (Blake Bortles was NOT on this team!)
2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl: 27-13 over 6-6 Iowa State (Hi Iowa State OC Tom Herman!)
2014 Quick Lane Bowl: 40-21 over 6-6 North Carolina (Tar Heel D: 119th of 128 FBS teams)
In your school’s history, you have one bowl victory over a P5 school that finished the season over .500. Truly a sleeping giant.
Hey! Did you know that Rutgers built on the ‘76 Final Four run with an 11-0 football season in the fall of 1976 [43rd in SRS!!]? That’s right! 4-0 vs. non D-1; 3-0 vs. Ivy League schools (then, technically D1), and “marquee” wins over Louisville, Tulane, Navy, and, um Colgate (all D1 independents then). Clearly Rutgers had a good thing going and had a bright future as “perennial C-USA contender.” Good thing you’re near NYC, though, huh?
The other two times Rutgers finished a season ranked (1961 and 1958) also feature multiple wins over teams that weren’t D1 AT THE TIME (1961: 9-0 overall, 5-0 vs non-D1; 1958: 8-1 overall, 4-1 vs. non-D1...in Rutgers’s defense the Quantico Marines did go 9-3-1 against whatever their 1958 schedule was).
Clearly this is a program ready to treat mediocrity as greatness. Much to Greg Schiano’s benefit.
Question #3: What is Penn State’s combined record in seasons where they’ve lost to Rutgers in football?
If you’ve played along with the contest, well, here’s what you’re playing for: a Rutgers Student Life t-shirt (XL) that I, and a few hundred other people, were dumb enough to take home from a rainy, windy, cold day at the stadium a few years back. As the fold marks make clear, this shirt was washed, folded and stuck in the bottom of a box. No wear and tear on this baby. Vintage!!!
You, Rutgers fan, deserve credit for sticking with such a shitty team and taking so much crap here at OTE. You DESERVE a seven year-old t-shirt that was free at the time!!
First one to put the correct answers in the comments wins! Hell, first person to decide that they actually want this thing “wins”. I will pay for postage if anybody wants it as a token of my pity for you as a Rutgers fan. And when you wear it, think of all the glorious moments in Rutgers football history. Then realize it’s still 7:32 a.m. and do something actually productive with your day.