Friday, November 10, 2006

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey Football Report for 11/09/06

[Editor's note: The horrors besetting the University of Alabama during/due to Mike Shula's coaching tenure and their subsequent coke-fueled reflections will continue next week. For now, we seek joy and have found it.]

Many ills plague college football in the 21st century. As one member of the recently jobless might say, college football is "little understood" to the majority of people. The BCS offers a pot of gold without the rainbow. The NCAA loves the sin but hates the sinner. The networks offer free viewing of the sport (for a price). Yes, there is much wrong with the state of college football, but Rutgers beating third-ranked Louisville isn't one of them.

Rutgers, which is in New Jersey, played a smart, physical, disciplined game -- in other words, football -- to beat network TV's and armchair coaching search committee members' (ahem) favorite flavor of the month -- the Urban du jour, if you will -- Bobby Petrino and his high-octane pass attack.

Rutgers, whose mascot is a Scarlet Knight, deserved to win the game even if it took a second-chance chip shot field goal to make it happen. Sometimes college football is all about second chances. Ask UTEP.

Rutgers, who played in the very first college football game to beat Princeton 6-4, is a program on the rise. And if there's any sensible topography to the football landscape (there is not), Rutgers will land in the top ten next week.

Rutgers, which is not a joke and plays real football and should be respected, deserves every bit of love they get for this win, no matter how much it screws up ESPN's lovely narrative of Ohio State and Michigan slapping each other with their respective dead fishes of destiny.

If you watched the game, you saw the pre-packaged comedy bits of bewildered New Yorkers asking, "what's a Rutgers?" Ask Louisville, or any of the other eight teams Rutgers has played this season and beaten. Ask any of the one-loss teams in the top ten, eyes on one of the lead-in BCS bowls, whose defense they'd rather line up against: Rutgers or Notre Dame? Ask Ray Rice where he plans on being the weekend the Heisman trophey winner's announced?

Who's laughing now?

R U... Rah Rah.