Driving the Rutgers Football Bandwagon

By GoMac  |   Tuesday, August 11, 2009  |  Comments( 0 )

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
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Long ago in 2006, when I started college, Rutgers Football was futile. Actually, Rutgers itself was kind of futile. Not in actuality, but definitely in perception. I remember watching the Bottom Line on ESPN and seeing that we had beaten UNC 7-6 in our first game of the season. It was an away game so no one really seemed to notice. The next week we had our first home game and I decided to go. See, my high school's football team had won a total of 8 games in my four years there, so I didn't really care if my team won or lost. I just figured I could say "Hey, I went to the game". Surprisingly we won. By a lot. Now, it was against Illinois...so I wasn't really sure what to expect...but it was cool to see them win. Although, in a stadium that held about 40,000 people, there may have been a fourth of that. My friend and I actually sat the entire game. Everyone did. It was almost like watching a Pop Warner game on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Over the next few weeks something strange happened... We beat Ohio. Then Howard. Then South Florida. With Navy, Pitt, and UConn to follow. In a mere two months Rutgers went from being the Birthplace of College Football to having relevance for the first time since. At 8-0 we were on a collision course with the #3 team in the country. That Thursday night game against Louisville was one I'll never forget. Whether it was the trick plays, or bad calls, unbelievable comeback, or rushing the field...it was a once in a lifetime experience. We ended up losing the next week to Cinci, but you can tell the guys played their Superbowl the week before. After an 11-2 finish which included losing out on the Big East Championship in a triple overtime finish to West Virginia and a BCS game...everyone assumed Rutgers Football would take off.

The next two years saw the team finish 8-5, but with very different feelings towards them. After the initial 11-2 season, applications to the school doubled. The standards rose on who was admitted and Rutgers went from something you said under your breath to something to be proud of. All because the football team started winning. 8-5 was a disappointment sure, but what upset me more was the willingness of "fans" to jump off the bandwagon after a tough loss. People expected a USC-like performance from the team every week. Instead of understanding your teams place in the league or the rankings, people just thought we were supposed to win every game.

When the team started a miserable 1-5 in 2008, the stands were empty. No one cared. The same people that applied to Rutgers because it was cool to go there with a winning team, didn't even bother to show up when they were struggling. They went on to win 7 straight including coming within a field goal of winning the Big East and another bowl game win.

With so many key components of the offense gone for the NFL this year is something that no one is really sure what to expect. With what seems like 15 guys vying for the starting quarterback position, and question marks on who they'll be throwing to once the games start...we could be looking at a 11-2 season, a 2-11 season, or another 8-5. Regardless of what the record looks like, or the scoreboard says, I just hope to see people at the games.
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