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Field trip to Piscataway

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It appears that I still am not completely proficient with my cameraphone. While it's more than capable of taking decent pictures, I seem to have inadvertently reset down the resolution at some point prior to the game. My apologies.

Overall impressions:

  • There's a confusing new interface on NJ Transit. Why mess with what works?
  • Excellent crowd and and electric pregame atmosphere. The fans really outdid themselves; the whole thing goes to show what Rutgers football is capable of over the long haul. There's an undeniable hunger for quality college football in New Jersey. 54,000 were in attendance, but 60,000 wouldn't have been much of a stretch with the right set of circumstances. However upset anyone may be about how the opener played out, you have to be excited about the hunger for a good Scarlet Knight squad (not to mention, the freshmen class).
  • Looking around, you really wouldn't have thought that construction came as close to the wire for meeting the Monday deadline as it did.
  • The exterior stadium looks very sharp. A+ on the scoreboard, and the South Endzone looks beautiful.
  • Bathrooms are still a major, major problem. Expansion didn't quell ongoing issues here. Wonder if it has anything to do with doing everything on the cheap back in '92.
  • On that note did it look like a $100m upgrade? Things looked very nice, but that kind of eye-popping figure makes you think of unending luxuries. You do need to take account that everything is more expensive in New Jersey, and the program wasn't going to cut corners (i.e., limit possibilities for future expansion) this time. Everything was nice; not on the level of the new Cowboys stadium, but how many readers out there know the ins and outs about whether the bid was too high or not? Anyone else notice the not-so-subtle new corporate logos everywhere?
  • Really impeccable job with the game atmosphere, the total package between the PA, video system, and everything else. The text message polls are a small, but nice touch. Band sounded great, and looked better than ever. RU in the NFL video was very well done and gave me chills, even if it included many cuts that didn't make final rosters.

Is it bad that when this video was played, all I could think of were the sadistic ways that the internet would remix and recut it? Hope nobody's paying attention.

  • Similarly, props to D.J. Yoshi for including more variety in the music selections. There was a little less popular hip-hop and Dad-rock. Springsteen's fine, but playing Bon Jovi is an affront to good taste. I'd rather hear the Jonas Brothers. Lots of decent local options are available - P-Funk, Sinatra, Misfits, all of those indie bands. It's still very much more of a pro-style than a college atmosphere in RU stadium.
  • Stadium concessions still leave a lot to be desired. You can keep bottle caps now though.
  • I was walking around the tailgates for a bit...this is where my picture debacle hurts the most. Great scene in the Blue Lot as usual, and Yellow comes in at a close second. As many dejected faces as I saw as the game progressed, there was just so much enthusiasm earlier in the day that you couldn't help but be impressed.
  • Didn't notice all that much of a Bearcat contingent around in the stands, although they did have their section near the new end zone. Didn't stand out much either way.
  • Students are really into everything, and more-so every year. Great job, and keep it up.
  • Cannon placement/sound needs a LOT of work. Could barely hear it.

As I was alluding to yesterday, what the expansion brings, more than anything, is fully impression that football games are an event encompassing more than just the four quarters on the field. You're just in awe of the scope of it all. In our own way, that's what big time college football is supposed to be about. Between the scale and the logistics, what I saw Monday wasn't just a football game; it was an experience, the kind that I could imagine even casual fans and assorted locals getting caught up in even if they don't follow the football program that closely.

My first impressions are positive. Usual caveats apply; wait and see how everything goes from this point. But the step number one looked like a success. I previously had no interest in going to the Howard game because of (A) the poor opponent, but, and (B) time constraints, but now I'm considering trying to fit it in. It's not easy to get a good impression of much from the stands, but you can't replace the atmosphere, the way the place erupts on big plays, the way that everyone's spirits rose when #7 raced out from the sidelines.

I don't think it was ever going to be a sellout unless the team looked fantastic in the opener. Hitting revenue projections are important, but my preference is to fill the stands. There WILL be a walk-up crowd, but I think you invite a few more youth football teams, maybe do a few other promotions, because the place needs to be full for games. Gotta keep the momentum up.

Did I miss anything? Feels like I did, somewhere...