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The Yellowhammer State

The Scarlet Knights are in Alabama.

Rutgers showed up Thursday evening at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover after taking Christmas Eve off.

"Traveling on Christmas is not unusual for college football programs," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We're used to it. The excitement of being able to play in a postseason game more than makes up for traveling on Christmas."

Isn't the internet great? There are all sorts of communities out there. Yesterday, a thread on Rivals linked to one that happens to be dedicated to tracking flights. users seemed to be interested in why a commercial airliner was flying from Newark to Birmingham on Christmas, and one of them even went to the airport and snapped a picture of the football team departing their plane? Strange, perhaps. Mostly harmless though.

Nothing yet on Vidal Hazelton.

Former USC wide receiver Vidal Hazelton continues to look at Missouri and Rutgers as his frontrunners for a transfer. A decision was delayed because USC's compliance department did not fax the release to schools interested in Hazelton, so he could speak to them under NCAA rules.

The latest on bowl ticket sales: Bowl officials expect about 10,000 North Carolina State fans and between 6,000 and 7,000 Rutgers fans in attendance for the game's third edition.

From their allotments of 10,000 tickets, Rutgers has returned 3,000 to the bowl and N.C. State plans to send back 1,500 for the Dec. 29 game at Legion Field.

"I think the response we got from N.C. State is equal to anything we've seen in the three-year history of the game," said Bo Kerr, the bowl's manager of sales and marketing. "We've been very pleased with N.C. State, and given the distance for Rutgers, we think 7,000 would be a good crowd."

You know it's a rough economy when a team like Wisconsin, known as another Big Ten team that travels very well, only uses 3,000 tickets from its allotment. Even with the Badgers having a relative down year, that's a horrible number. You can't really criticize UConn or Pitt for poor ticket sales if a team like Wisconsin is struggling.

Thank you, Jack Britt.

Britt's considerable abilities were camouflaged at Bayonne, whose I-formation offense was geared to running the ball through the option-style quarterback and great tailback. "I think I had maybe 12, 13 catches my senior year," he said. "Most of my touchdowns came from punt returns."

That that did not stop new Illinois coach Ron Zook, who was in the process of putting together a top-five recruiting class, from make a strong pitch for Britt. Britt visited Champaign and might have gone to Illinois if it hadn't been for his father Jack, who graduated from Rutgers, is a teacher at Bayonne and is perhaps his son's closest friend. "He had the biggest influence on me of anybody on this planet," Britt said. "People talk about kids being a mama's boy. I was a father's boy.

"He taught both day school and night school. The only time I got to see him was in the morning when he gave me a ride to school and worked security for our home games. He had a lot of influence over where I went to college. He went to Rutgers and turned out to be a great guy."

Russell Wilson is a coach's dream.

With Gary Gibson going on injured reserve, the Carolina Panthers filled their quota of Rutgers DTs by signing J'Vonne Parker off Atlanta's practice squad. That means there are currently 15 Rutgers alumni in the NFL, with an additional 3 on practice squads.


I'll counter with Terry Shea at Rutgers. I've always heard that whatever thoughts [AD] Fred Gruninger had about hiring someone flew out the window the minute that Bill Walsh called and recommended Shea. Never mind that Shea had no experience on the East Coast. Gruninger had stars in his eyes. Bill. Walsh. Called. Me!

Chris Carlin will be keeping his Rutgers gig, but will no longer be employed at WFAN. He is joining SNY full time.