Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Can They Be New Jersey and New York’s Team In 2014?

As Rutgers enters the Big 10 this fall, the big question surrounding the program is –can the program steal the spotlight from the major pro teams in the area? Most New York and New Jersey fans are not aware that the school will be entering a major conference this season (Big 10). The New York television market is flooded with pro teams such as the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils and Islanders. Fans in the area think football kicks off with the start of the NFL schedule in September. However, Rutgers has the ability to make some noise this football season by taking the Big 10 by storm and performing well.

The unfortunate part of living in New York and New Jersey, is that most sports fans are not aware of the pageantry of college football. Both states are immersed with fans wanting to talk baseball during the heart of the football season. Many sports talk shows in the area are flooded with hosts talking about off season baseball moves when college football matchups like Alabama vs LSU are taking place. Ask the common sports fan in New York where Eli Manning went to college and they couldn’t even tell you. What makes college football so special is the tradition that has marked this great game.  

Rutgers University happens to be the birth place of college football! On Nov. 6th 1869, Rutgers took on Princeton in the first college football game. Rutgers defeated Princeton 6-4 -under a rugby rules type of scoring system. Rutgers was the leader in bringing this great game to the forefront of collegiate athletics. This great story marks tradition that goes unnoticed in the New York and New Jersey market. However, with Rutgers entering the Big 10 this fall, the area might be subjected to an experience that has never before hit this “town”.

I am talking tradition with teams such as Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin all invading Piscataway, New Jersey this fall.

“New York” fans think they are rowdy and the best fans in the country, however, those are “professional” fans. I am not talking about knowing Derek Jeter’s stats from the time he entered the MLB or what makes Mo Rivera  the best all-time closer in MLB history.  I am not talking about throwing on your Giant or Jet jersey on gameday because the Kardashian’s are doing it in LA.

Take a look at the rabid fans in Ann Arbor, Columbus, Lincoln, Madison and East Lansing. Fans that bleed the colors of their respective institutions. In the Big 10, there is no off-season like baseball, hockey or basketball to divert the casual fans attention from sport to sport. College football is the talk of the town 24 hours a day 7 days a week in the Big 10.  I am talking tradition like the Big House, Memorial Stadium, Camp Randall and the Horseshoe to name a few. Former Big 10 standouts like Archie Griffin, Desmond Howard, Eddie George, Chuck Long, Lorenzo White, Tommy Frazier, Simeon Rice, Anthony Thompson, and Charles Woodson.

Rutgers is in a perfect position to steal the spotlight away from this professional market. College football is fun, entertaining and provides an experience that is like no other venue in the area. The regular season of college football is as special as there is in sports. Each week provides edge of your seat action that is better than any soap opera. 

Rutgers has the talent within the tri-state area to make it happen and become “the team” of the area. They have the facilities and the resources to lure the great athletes to stay in the New Jersey landscape to build a powerhouse in the Big 10.

If you want to catch a glimpse of what the Big 10 is all about, head out to Piscatway on September 13th as Penn State rolls into Highpoint Solutions Stadium. That will serve as a primer for the ultimate Big 10 experience on October 4th- as the Michigan Wolverines roar into Piscataway. 

Joseph Lisi is a former ABC Sports college football researcher. He is the owner of and www.GOFORTHE2.COM. Joseph has contributed as a writer for You can follow him on YOUTUBE at: MRJAL2230 or on Twitter @Goforthe2

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