On Thursday, we ran some comments from Maryland fans about the impending move to the Big Ten. Today, it's time for Rutgers fans to share their thoughts (spoiler alert: they're excited):
John from New Brunswick, N.J.: Hello, Big Ten fans. I am a senior at RU. I've been watching them since the dark days. I think I can say for most RU fans that we are ecstatic about the move. We know that a lot of you have your doubts, but we can be a fantastic addition to the league. We are already spending more on coaches than we ever have and are serious about contending. Drawing in local talent will be the easiest path to success, although we know out-recruiting Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, etc., is going to be a real challenge. I predict that we can contend within three years, although never expect us to be an easy win. I believe that visiting fans will enjoy the atmosphere of HighPoint Solutions Stadium (still Rutgers Stadium for most of us). We are extremely proud that we are the "Birthplace of College Football."
Bohdan P. from Southington, Conn.: This is the greatest moment in Rutgers sports history. The story goes that in the 1950s, Rutgers turned down an Ivy League invitation to become New Jersey's state university. In the 1980s, Rutgers turned down an invite to the original Big East to wait for an Eastern all-sports conference that never materialized. Now, finally, Rutgers has made the right move and joined the best conference it could imagine. There is commitment, determination and enthusiasm. Great days ahead for the Scarlet Knights. The question is how long will it take for Rutgers to become a contender? I am guessing five to 10 years.
Coray S. from Morristown, N.J.: RU adjunct and a huge Scarlet Knights Football fan here! I just have to say that besides the amazing on-the-field benefits of moving to the Big Ten (prestige, funding, recruiting, etc.), Rutgers is set for a social and cultural renaissance from both forces internal and external to the conference move. Internally, an influx of similarly-minded yet uniquely Midwestern sports fans, a chip-on-the-shoulder mentality, and a refactored communal self-identity is going to create a profoundly different on-campus experience. Externally, the revitalization of downtown New Brunswick, the re-addition of what will be one of the most powerful medical schools in the country and a re-dedication to competing in the upper echelon academically is going to create a new vision for what Rutgers University stands for, both within the state of New Jersey and around the world. One way or another, we'll look back at this moment in 20 years as a profound turning point for the state university of New Jersey. While we don't know exactly what this volatile future holds (prediction: 2025 national champs!), I, for one, am ecstatic to come along for the ride.
Ryan from Matawan, N.J.: Without a doubt, it's not going to be easy when we first join in to the Big Ten fun. We may have some bumps in the road to start, but a couple of years from now we will be up there with the best of 'em. As for places to visit when you come over here to New Brunswick? Hansel and Griddle for some good comfort food and Cinco de Mayo for some authentic Mexican. One more thing, us Rutgers fans have been waiting so long in so many sports to be competitive, so we are true fans. We have been through a lot, and we all pray for competitiveness soon. #CHOP
Jim from Hillsborough, N.J.: RU fans have been waiting for this move for 3-4 years since whispers got out that RU was making a push for the B1G, so yes we are excited. Expectations for immediate competitiveness definitely took a hit after last season. RU had one of its greatest teams in 2012 and lost seven starters to the NFL. The new coaching staff does improve my outlook for 2014 as "the Fridge" is definitely the best OC Rutgers has ever had. As far as traditions go, RU has a great deal of history. Everyone should know about the "Birthplace of College Football" and that Rutgers is 1 of 9 colonial colleges chartered in 1766. Because RU is a land-grant institution there is plenty of space and room for tailgating. I think many B1G fans will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of tailgates.
Paulie W. from New Jersey: Like most Rutgers fans, I'm thrilled to see the school compete athletically in the Big Ten. Rutgers hasn't even scratched the surface in terms of its potential, and I think that will be realized over the next 5-10 years with new revenues, increased commitment to athletics and greater alumni engagement a result of the new conference affiliation. In the meantime, I think RU is a total wild card in the 2014 B1G season. If their QB play improves, they can very well find themselves falling within the "second tier" of the conference overall, which I'm sure varies depending on who you ask. (If you're asking me, that means among Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska.) If they get the same poor production from the QB position as the last two seasons, it's very likely they end up being one of the two or three worst teams in the conference. Long term, whether RU can become an elite team in the conference naturally depends on their ability to keep the best high school players in New Jersey, and away from Ohio State and Michigan (among others, obviously).
Patrick D. from Los Angeles: Rutgers alumnus Class of '92 here. I think I speak for all Scarlet Knights fans in saying that we couldn't be more excited to be joining the Big Ten. We feel like we got called up from the minor leagues and are now in The Show. Now that things are getting closer, it's almost a little surreal. Being part of the Big Ten Blog is one of things that is making it sink in that this is no longer a dream! We recently added the B1G logo to our football field and when that picture was tweeted out, it was another of those eye opening moments. ... Where to eat in New Brunswick? The two obvious answers are the Grease Trucks for "Fat" sandwiches and Stuff Yer Face for strombolis (both were featured on "Man v. Food" on the Travel Channel). I know many Big Ten fans are not super thrilled with the addition, but come to visit us for a game and take in our great tailgating scene, and you'll see we fit right in!