Rutgers FB: Why I'm Excited About the International Bowl
As I sit down to write this article, I can't wait to get myself to sleep so I can wake up for my AM flight to Toronto.
Did I know I'd be going to Toronto in January before the season started?
Of course not.
As a loyal Scarlet Knight fan and season-ticket holder since my graduation from Rutgers in 2004, I bought into the hype and believed I'd be spending this week in Florida at the Orange Bowl, or maybe even in New Orleans for the BCS title game.
Well, maybe I knew in my heart of hearts that we weren't good enough to win it all—but I did dream.
In any case, off I go to Toronto.
For the third straight year (and only the fourth time in our "illustrious" history), Rutgers is going bowling. Still, many of my fellow fans are complaining; they've even gone so far as to call the season "awful."
How far we have come.
I remember sitting in the stands with a few thousand people wondering if the Knights would even get on the scoreboard, wondering if I'd get to hear the "The Bells Must Ring" for any kind of score—a field goal, a safety, maybe even (dare I dream?) a touchdown.
Some games, we didn't even cross midfield. And some people have forgotten from whence we came.
As my girlfriend can attest, I've told the "2002 Temple game in the rain" story one too many times. We were literally able to follow a Temple 99-yard drive down the field, stopping in every section to yell at then-Temple quarterback Mike McGann and running back Tanardo Sharps as they broke our hearts.
There were so few fans in the stands that the public address announcer was able to say, "Young man, please close your umbrella," as a driving rain fell on the players and fans.
I took a bus to Temple in 2003 to watch Rutgers win its first Big East game in 26 tries. And all Rutgers fans know what I'm talking about when I say 80-7—the thrashing we took at WVU in 2000.
We sell out game after game, and there's a freaking waiting list for RU season tickets. In back-to-back seasons, we've upset the No. 3 and No. 2 teams in the country. Sure, USF was a paper tiger—but who cares? It still counts!
We not only win Big East games, we now win several Big East games. We went from hoping to win some games to winning 18 games in two years—and will hopefully add our 19th on Saturday.
People say there are too many bowl games, that Division I-A needs a playoff system. Well I submit to you that, at least for some fans, bowl games are still special.
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