Rutgers-NC State: Headed to Bowl

Jonathan SzenicsCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2008

The all-important college football bowl schedule has been released for this upcoming postseason in college football. 

Some teams got higher placements than they deserved as usual, and some teams got the short end of the stick, again, as usual. 

Rutgers, though, was treated fairly, and they got into a bowl that they truly deserved. 

The bowl will pit the team against NC State from Birmingham, Alabama on Dec. 29 at 3:00 pm on ESPN. 

While not being the dream bowl that Rutgers was probably imagining appearing in during training camp, this bowl suits them very well for the work that they put in throughout the entire season. 

We all know that Rutgers started the season off in a way that makes the recent fall of Notre Dame pale in comparison. We also all know that since they woke up and started to actually play football again, that they have been almost unbeatable during the last two months or so. 

Did they get the short end of the stick with their bowl placement? The answer here is: No, they did not. 

The team went 7-5 overall, and 5-2 in conference play. While stellar on both ends, they still did need a miracle streak to even get to this point. 

In addition, the teams ahead of them in the standings, such as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh (who they beat), and West Virginia, all got placed higher. Frankly, they deserved it. 

Cincinnati is in the Orange Bowl based off of winning the conference. West Virginia is off to the Meineke Bowl based off of a season's worth of good play. Finally, Pittsburgh is off to the Sun Bowl. 

The only argument Rutgers could possibly have at all is that they should have been placed over Pittsburgh, and possibly been put into this game, because of their blowout of Pittsburgh earlier during their huge winning streak. 

Let's look at the facts, though.  Rutgers looked as if they were going back to their losing roots of years past the first half of the season. 

Pittsburgh, though, went back and forth from being ranked to not being ranked almost every week of the season, and Rutgers cannot claim that they did this. 

While fighting tooth and nail just to get into the bowl discussion, Pittsburgh was just fighting for placement for most of their season. The placements were right here as a result. 

Yes, if Rutgers beat Cincinnati instead of losing by a heartbreaking three points, they would be going to the Orange Bowl. One cannot turn back the clock, though.  The game was already played, and nothing is based off of "what ifs?".

Since this is the case, Rutgers was placed into a bowl that they were very worthy of. 

Just like NC State, they had to go on a huge run just to get into the bowl picture. Just like NC State, they played their best football later on in the season. As a result, they are now facing each other towards the end of the month. 

This will be a very entertaining game to watch, and only one thing is certain looking at this matchup right now. 

Rutgers does not want to play NC State, and NC State certainly does not want to play Rutgers. Who will win?  Only time will tell. 

Regardless, this will be a very close football game. It may very well be one of the best games to watch during the entire bowl season when all is said and done.