This is a quick primer for any Iowa State fans that may stumble across this site over the coming days in weeks, with a Pinstripe Bowl bid against Rutgers looming.
1. Why are Rutgers fans disappointed to play Iowa State?
It's nothing personal. ISU should be able to empathize with the feeling; Rutgers is a fledging program fighting for respect. Iowa State played a tough schedule this year, but for 99% of casual observers or the media, all anyone will look at is their 6-6 record, or the history of Iowa State football. The best thing for Rutgers would have been to have a chance to earn prestige against a peer or a bigger name. This is doubly frustrating considering that Rutgers seemingly never gets to play a decent bowl opponent due to the Big East conference's horrible tie-ins. To see Missouri jumped by a team with a worse conference record just feels like a kick in the gut. There is no disrespect intended, however unavoidable it may be. This is solely about perception.
You know how Texas runs everything in the Big XII? Imagine if Baylor ran the conference with an iron fist, only they also didn't field a football team, and actively tried to destroy the sport at every single term. That's pretty much the Big East in a nutshell. Hence, why West Virginia happily and eagerly signed up for Longhorn hegemony.
2. "But we beat Oklahoma State! We beat UConn!"
Meh. Kansas State beat Texas in 2006. As for UConn, they're pretty crummy. And yet, Rutgers lost to them badly - it happens. Some times games just get away from you in a flurry of turnovers and bad luck. Rutgers usually does well in its bowl games.
3. How are football games in Yankee Stadium?
Pretty bad. The tickets are overpriced, and the sight lines are predictably awful. Speaking of sticker shock, the New York City metropolitan area is quite expensive in general if you decide to trek out to New York City.
4. What can I expect in New York City?
Well, it is the biggest city in the country after all. Rutgers has the most support of any college football team in the New York City market, but relatively speaking, that isn't saying much. Most Rutgers fans live on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. The university itself is located in New Brunswick (a mid-size city on the Raritan River) and Piscataway (pretty much your traditional sprawling suburb), which are close to halfway between New York City and Philadelphia (a little closer to New York though.) By all means, do the tourist-y thing, but for better or worse it probably won't be anything like any traditional bowl experience.
5. "New Jersey? Isn't that like the show on MTV?"
These sorts of comments will go over about as well as if one of us visited Sioux City and refused to stop cracking jokes about husking corn and tractor pulls. By rule, many residents generally do adore The Sopranos, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, etc... (Bon Jovi is a talent-less hack), but that's no excuse to stereotype. New Jersey is a highly diverse area in terms of socioeconomic groups. There are inner cities with sky high poverty, and there are outrageous concentrations of wealth that concentrated not ten miles away from those urban centers. As you move south and west, and get closer to Pennsylvania, there are even genuinely rural areas that haven't been packed to the brim with over development. On average, New Jersey is wealthy and educated, and bristles any implications otherwise.
But hey, if you want to try real pizza, or authentic curry, be our guests. Pretty much all that we ask is that visitors be courteous guests. Be respectful, keep your heads down, and don't carry a chip on your shoulders - because the one that we collectively are holding is big enough to crush the Empire State Building. Iowa State/Iowa have their way of doing things, Rutgers/New Jersey has its way, and with any luck never the twain shall meet. If that's your thing, great. If not, if our yankee ways cannot be tolerated in any form, there's always cable.