1869, Rutgers football was born with a 6-4 victory over in-state rival Princeton. If you took the time to read this article chances are you already knew that. The purpose of this article is not to examine what happened with Rutgers Football 144 years ago, but what has happened since. Sadly enough, the answer is not a whole lot.
Many sport fans know about the struggles of the Chicago Cubs. They have had the misfortune of not winning their perspective championship since 1908, 105 years. How many know about the drought that has stricken New Jersey’s state university for nearly 40 years longer? That’s right the last time the Scarlet Knights were considered national champions dates back to their maiden season, a season in which there were only two teams.
Of course many colleges have not been considered national champions, Missouri, South Carolina, and Oregon just to name a few. However, as a Rutgers fan it is not national championships that I am looking for (although it would be nice). I am simply looking for Rutgers to be a competitive program that does not have to look back to a 2006 victory to remember what it feels like to be winners. So what will it take?
Could it be money? Nope. The University of Miami(FL) has an endowment of $678.6 million compared to Rutgers’ $693.5 million. The football difference, Miami has 5 national championships in the past 32 years, Rutgers 0.
Perhaps it’s that there’s no fan base to cheer on Rutgers, even if they were good? Probably not, nearly 2/3’s of Rutgers Alumni live in New Jersey.
Now I’m sure there a lot of Rutgers fans that have been going to Rutgers games long before that oh so historic 2006 victory saying, "We should be so lucky that we might be going to a bowl this year." I say lucky, or worse off? The 1990’s produced 2 winning seasons, since the second millennium began Rutgers has had 7 winning seasons, and wait for it, a big Texas Bowl win!
So what has happened since that magical 2006 season? Rutgers has stalled, and now, we have begun to fall. The 2011 and 2012 seasons saw missed opportunity after missed opportunity. In 2013 we have seen what is sure to be the smothering of what could have been a real program.
I know I have not provided solutions to the state of Rutgers football, and in many instances have only brought up more questions. If I had the answers I probably would not have written this article in the first place. Instead I would be a coach, an AD, or an alumni president. I will leave off with what I said before, lucky, or worse off? Just like the old saying goes ‘you can’t miss what you never had’.