As the 2010 season dawns upon us there is 1 question that makes a lot of people curious as to what the answer is. That question that we frequently ask ourselves is, “Who is New York’s favorite college football team?” Growing up in Queens, I never had a team right there to follow. As I got older and started playing football and understanding the game more and more, I would walk through the city and see a wide variety of fan gear(obviously do to the alumni from big schools in NYC). Seeing Michigan fans, Notre Dame fans, Miami fans, it made me want something. It made me want a New York team, a home team and most of all a college team to root for. When I discovered where my fandom lied I never ever changed my heart, rooted for other teams like everyone else, but always kept that 1 team closest to my heart and soul. I decided to share with you all the answer to the football team of the Big Apple.
There are 3 FBS football schools in the state of New York. There are a total of 5 FBS teams in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut). All of them are vying for a piece of New York, by closing deals with major local networks to broadcast games and playing games in Yankee Stadium and in East Rutherford. Rutgers is closer than everything else, and Buffalo would be the farthest you would have to travel if you were a New York City Bulls fan. When it comes to basketball Syracuse is no doubt the Big Apple’s number 1 team, for the simple fact their second home is Madison Square Garden, but that crowd does not always go over to football unfortunately. During one of Rutgers football games the Empire State building was colored in scarlet red, an on many cabs you will see and ad for Syracuse reading “New York’s College Team”. We all know NY is not exactly a football state but there are many football fans as we see with the Jets and Giants in the NFL and there are many more looking for a college football home. So here it goes the countdown to New York City’s number 1, college football team.
Colors: Blue and White
Distance from NYC: 6hrs 50 min
The Bulls aren’t exactly a team a whole state would take on as there team. It’s kind of like the state of Washington having to choose between the Huskies or the Cougars (no brainer right?). The Bulls were first formed in the year 1894 and played all the way up to the year 1970 before cancelling its program. The program was revived in 1977 and played D3 ball for 15 years. In 1993 they moved up to D-1AA and remained there until 1998, and then finally returned to D-1 status in ’99. They had decent success at the D3 and D-1AA levels but once they hit the big time they pretty much stunk. When Turner Gill came on as the Head Coach he turned the program around somewhat only to audition for a better job. Sorry UB fans but with a 339-463-28 all-time record, Turner Gill showed that UB is nothing but a stepping stone. Sorry but I don’t believe New York would ever embrace a school with this history or futility.
Mascot: Black Knights
Colors: Black and Gold
Distance from NYC: 1hr 22 min
Ah, alas its Army football. Everybody loves Army, a military academy allowing young men who will serve our country, a chance to play football. We already know that the Army is heavily handicapped with the players they can recruit, but they still have a strong case to be New York’s team. Rich in history, the Black Knights have 3 Heisman trophy winners and 3 claimed national titles to their name. Albeit it was all done before 1960, none the less they are still history rich. After the year 1960 Army was steadily dropping its heavyweight belt to become only a lightweight contender in college football. There last bowl game was in 1996, and after that the line just went flat, becoming the laughing stock of college football. Under new coach Rich Ellerson, they have shown signs of life with a triple option offense, and going 5-7 this past season. Even with a 636-449-51 all-time record, Army was a team of the 40’s and 50’s. America loves you and roots for you, but not to the point to be anybody’s main team. God Bless America!
Mascot: Scarlet Knights
Distance from NYC: 47 min
Conference: Big East
Rutgers University, home of the first collegiate football game ever played in 1869. Rutgers is the closest in vicinity to New York City only taking a mere 47 min drive to get to Rutgers Stadium. They won a shared title with Princeton in 1869, which is about the only thing Rutgers has to its name, which honestly and truly is a shame. In 140 years of football you would think a program would have more than only 6 bowl appearances, but here that is not the case. Rutgers has never really been nothing more than either an average or futile team in its 140 year existence. Head coach Greg Schiano as came in and turned this program around little by little over his 9 year tenure. Rutgers has experienced success recently by its upsets over quite a few top 25 teams, winning its last 4 bowl games. Even though they have an all-time winning record being, 596-589-42, Rutgers is really just now being recognized and needs a solid 5 or 10 more years of consistency to even be considered New York’s team.
Colors: National Flag Blue and White
Distance from NYC: 2 hrs 30 min
Conference: Big East
Even thought the Huskies started playing in 1896, UConn football is relatively new to us being that the program only joined the FBS ranks in 2001. UConn is truly a fan favorite because they have showed true commitment to one coach, Randy Edsall ever since they knew they were moving up in the ranks to the FBS division. Coach Edsall has been with the program through thick and thin, which makes me honestly believe when he retires they will name the stadium after him. UConn has steadily been rising as a severely underrated football team. In my honest opinion they are quietly becoming a powerhouse. Heads have been turning in the state of New York when UConn plays a football game. In 2007 they won their first Big East title (shared with WVU) which would be considered one of the biggest moments for the school. Even though an all-time record 464-492-38 and FBS record of 66-65, shows not much of a team to even think about, UConn is turning a massive amount of heads. Especially after signing a deal with SNY which is home to the New York Mets. This was a tough one on picking who is really the team we call "ours", but the one dagger in this would be favorite for right now is the rivalry between UConn and Syracuse in basketball. As I stated before NY is fully behind Orange basketball, but like I also said heads are turning to watch UConn in football, and if Syracuse doesn’t start winning soon, then there will be no college color of Orange in the big apple.
Orang and Blue
Colors: Orange and Blue
Distance from NYC: 4 hrs 20 min
Conference: Big East
I know I said too bad the basketball fans don’t shift to football when the season comes around, the Orange still have a very strong New York City fan base. In my opinion Syracuse is New York’s College team, mainly because of basketball. Football will catch up with basketball once they start turning heads around again. I believe it is New York’s football team mainly because of the superstars that have rolled through this University (Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Donovan Mcnabb just to name a few). Don’t get me wrong, Syracuse had experienced a very bad stretch of futility under former coach Greg Robinson, but I don’t really think it’s enough to derail fans. By the looks of it Doug Marrone is turning heads as it appears he has the Orange on the right track to success. O and it also helps that Coach Marrone is a Bronx native. With a 678-479-49 all-time record, I believe Syracuse IS New York’s football team.