For those who aren't familiar with it, the Fulmer Cup is a feature on the college football blog Every Day Should Be Saturday that tracks player arrests during the offseason. Watching the tail end of Tennessee and UCLA's game last Monday - I had a thought about one of the game's underlying subtexts. The "Fulmer Cup" earned its namesake from the lengthy rap sheet that Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer's players accumulated, while Rick Neuheisel's reputation is argubly much worse.
Say what you will about Rutgers football and Greg Schiano, but since Davon Clark's arrest in the summer of 2004, Rutgers has had one active player arrested, that being Justin Francis for his airsoft gun incident last spring. An incoming recruit (Des Wynn) was arrested for petty theft, an assistant coach (Chris Demarest) was charged with making a scene at a nightclub, and a former player that had given up the sport due to injury (Pat Nemorin) was also arrested earlier this year. Overall though, the players on the team do a good job of making the right kind of headlines.
Alabama finished at #1 in this year's Fulmer Cup standings. They are the team that shocked the college football world by defeating Clemson. #2 was Missouri, #3 was West Virginia, and #6 was Georgia, with the caveat that lowly Washington State ended up placing fifth. These rankings may indicate a string of luck, or they may indicate a set of criteria used to identify and admit potential players.
If Rutgers wants to take the proverbial "next step", do they need to shake up the team's carefully crafted chemistry? Or is it better that the program is represented by the likes of Shaun O'Hara, Gary Brackett, Brian Leonard, Ray Rice, Jeremy Zuttah, and Tiquan Underwood, who will always carry themselves as good representatives of Rutgers?