And so Rutgers winds up undefeated, untied and, to its sorrow, uninvited to any of the established bowls. (The team voted to reject overtures from the Independence Bowl in Baton Rouge, La., where its opponent would have been McNeese State.) How good are the Scarlet Knights? The team's detractors point to the undemanding schedule, which included four Division II opponents, but Rutgers beat Louisville 34-0, while Pitt defeated the Cardinals 27-6 and Alabama beat them 24-3. Nonetheless, it seems a shame that the Tangerine Bowl, for instance, did not choose to pair Rutgers with Oklahoma State.
— Know who else turned down the Independence Bowl besides Louisiana Tech this year?
Undefeated Rutgers in 1976, that's who. As the article notes among other historical details, Rutgers had also rejected
the Gotham Bowl
in 1960, and bids to the Sun and Aviation bowls
in 1961, as bowls did not gain much cachet until the past few decades, and Rutgers was historically an academic school that did not emphasize big-time athletics
. The strangest part of this story may be the 1961 rumor
that Rutgers was under consideration for the Rose Bowl.
Ironically, Rutgers was denied an Independence Bowl bid
in 1992, leading to a long bowl-less streak that did not end until 2005.
I briefly recalled this earlier, but got the details wrong and lost track of the thread before it started being discussed on the boards - Rutgers was in the mix for the Cherry Bowl in 1984, but lost it to an Army team it had beaten
. In 1976, another article also mentions
the Peach, Tangerine, and Sun Bowls. It also appears
that Rutgers rejected the Tangerine and Bluegrass Bowls in 1958 as well.