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Let's talk about what Rutgers brings to Big Ten football in 2014

Oh yeah, they're joining the Big Ten next season. Let's check up on what Rutgers is doing.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

So I was checking FBschedules this morning, doing some research, and I came across something disconcerting.

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. What is this Rutgers business doing below Purdue? And for that matter, what's Purdue doing there?

The latter is a question that we won't be able to answer in one article, but we can tackle Rutgers. Despite the lamentations of the fans and the pleas of bloggers, Rutgers is happening, so we might as well get used to it, and start to take a look at our future new conference foe.

When I asked our newsroom for Rutgers related questions they wanted answered, is first one I got was, "Why is Rutgers?"

A noble and profound question indeed.

Hmm! Those are actually all good questions. Let's investigate. And by investigate, I mean google.

Why is Rutgers called Rutgers?

It wasn't originally called Rutgers. The school, which dates all the way back to 1766, was actually originally called Queens College. They renamed it to Rutgers in 1825, after a fellow named Henry Rutgers, who fought in the Revolutionary War and was a major benefactor to the school. It became Rutgers University in 1924, and a state university in the 1940s.

Why is Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl?

Let's not talk about that again. It upsets your father and makes your mother cry. Rutgers, we're not so much angry as we are disappointed.

Also, Rutgers went 6-6 in the regular season last year, getting their asses kicked by Cincinnati and even losing to something called a UConn. They did however, beat Arkansas, which wasn't very B1G of them. They then lost to Notre Dame in one of the most unwatchable bowl games of last season, maybe ever.

Why is Rutgers a good school?

Well, this is a bit of a subjective question, no? If you're the sort who cares about the US News College Rankings, Rutgers is currently 68th, just a few spots below Ohio State. They are an AAU school, and their average freshman ACT scores are in the 25-30 range. So that's pretty good, right? Yay, school.

Also, Rutgers football has enjoyed a very high APR (Academic Progress Rate) over the past few years, so I guess you could say the Scarlet Knights are leaders on the field, AND in the classroom.

Quick, let's cut to Jim Delaney:



Why is Rutgers called Slutgers?

An interesting question!

*checks to make sure wife isn't home*

*opens up Incognito Mode*

*remembers this is a family website*

*punts on question*.

Tressel would be proud.

Why is Rutgers joining the Big Ten?

Oh, not this shit again.

Another question from the newsroom:

Why are Rutgers called the Scarlet Knights?

So that's actually a pretty cool nickname, if I do say so myself. However, it appears that wasn't the original name for their athletic teams. From the official Rutgers website:

Since its days when the school was officially known as Queen's College, the athletic teams were referred to as the Queensmen. Officially serving as the mascot figure for several football seasons beginning in 1925 was a giant, colorfully felt-covered, costumed representation of an earlier campus symbol, the "Chanticleer." Though a fighting bird of the kind which other colleges have found success, to some it bore the connotation of "chicken." It is also a little-known fact that the New Brunswick-based broadcast station, WCTC, which serves as the flagship station of Rutgers athletics, had its call letters derived from the word "ChanTiCleer." Chanticleer remained as the nickname for some 30 years.

In the early 1950's, in the hope of spurring both the all-around good athletic promise and RU fighting spirit, a campus-wide selection process changed the mascot to that of a Knight.

By 1955 , the Scarlet Knight had become the new Rutgers mascot.

Sure, if my school used to go by the Queensmen, or were named after a fancy chicken, I'd probably petition the student body for a vote, too. This information will be in no way ever used to make fun of Rutgers now or in the future.

What's going on right now with Rutgers spring practice?

That's a good question. Let's check in with On The Banks, which you should be incorporating into your B1G media diet no latter than July 1:

The QBs need a LOT of work. Perhaps it's a function of trying to get five or six guys practice reps, or maybe it has to do with normal early-spring rust, but all of the QBs were inconsistent. They all showed flashes of potential, but they were interrupted by lousy decisions and bad throws. Walk-on Sophomore Devin Ray (Bernards High School) may have been the most pleasant surprise - he throws a very nice ball with a lot of pop. Blake Rankin appeared to be the most fluid and mobile, but he struggled with accuracy. Perhaps most notable was what I did NOT see: Gary Nova's 33 games of experience did not noticeably set him apart from the pack. And the fans I spoke with were decidedly and uniformly anti-Nova, whatever that's worth.


Gary Nova is your incumbent, but he didn't exactly set the world on fire last year (18 TDs, 14 INTs, 54% completion percentage), and he apparently hasn't distanced himself from Blake Rankin, Chris Laviano, Mike Bimonte, and walk-on Devin Ray. So, that's a concern.

I asked Twitter if they had any Rutgers related questions. This was their response:

That's a good question, Ross. Originally, it was created to be a house of higher learning for the students of New Jersey. Later, it evolved into a place for young Bruce Springsteen to play. Now, it's seems to exist primarily as a risky financial vehicle.

Another question:

Thank you for your concern, Chris Haines, and for participating in our discussion on Twitter dot com.

Whoa, a real question:

So this is perhaps the most interesting question surrounding Rutgers this offseason, especially given the tasty subplot about how the ghosts of Maryland coach past could haunt the Terps next season (James Franklin, as you may recall, was previously on Maryland's staff). Rutgers should have some playmakers at wideout, and return their top rushers from last season so if they're able to get some consistency from their QB, they have the potential to be intriguing on offense.

My gut is that Rutgers will be more interesting schematically, but given the really tough defenses they're going to see on their schedule (their Big Ten slate is *murder*), I'm not expecting dramatic fireworks this season. Perhaps the most interesting question is what happens to the Fridge if the Knights falter this season and Kyle Flood is fired.

Thank you for joining us to answer Rutgers questions. Let's do it again sometime. Or never.