Rutgers fans have waited a long time for this. Last season was hell for all of us, suffering through one debacle after another. And as if god answered our prayers, a clean slate with a fresh, but experienced coach was on the banks before the calendar turned to 2016. In eight months, Chris Ash has completely fundamentally transformed Rutgers Football in a way that has universally impressed everyone involved or exposed to the program. The real test begins Saturday. There is so much to be hopeful about the Ash era, now and in the future.
In a cruel twist of fate, courtesy of the Pac-12 Network, most Rutgers fans cannot watch their Scarlet Knights open the season against Washington in Seattle on Saturday. The game is being aired exclusively on the Pac-12 Network, which is only carried by Comcast and the Dish Network on the east coast. This excludes more than half the state of New Jersey. If your cable provider is not one of these two, I’m sorry to say there is no other way to watch the game at home. We live in America, watching your favorite college football team on Labor weekend should be a right of every citizen. It’s ridiculous.
The aspect that makes it even worse is that I estimate roughly 80%-90% of Jersey bars carry DirectTV and not the Dish Network. Which means bar options for the game are so much more limited. Call me high maintenance, but there only a handful of bars I ever feel comfortable watching one of my teams play. Heck, I’m almost 40 and there are only a handful of bars I even want to walk into. I literally live in the town that has the most bars per mileage in the entire country, Hoboken, and I’m still not sure if there is a bar I will reasonably be happy being in to watch the debut of the Ash Era.
But enough about me. This stinks for everyone. Rutgers fans have suffered enough, this is just insult to injury at this point. I know the Pac-12’s rights eliminate the possibility of simulcasting on a local channel. I don’t know the in’s and out’s and what have you’s of the television business, but I can’t believe the Pac-12 Network can’t figure out a way to make money by doing that. It’s crazy. I mean, the first lady of Rutgers Football can’t even tape her husband’s first game as a head coach at home.
@Pac12Network please release rights to Rutgers/UW game. I can't even record our game because our cable company doesn't have your network— Doreen Ash (@DoreenAsh14) August 31, 2016
Thankfully, NJ Advance Media put together a list of Jersey bars that are showing the game and hosting watch parties. You can see the list here. Check the comments section, as lots of fans are sharing information on bars they know are showing the game. Times like these mean fans need to stick together. There is also the watch party at Yard, where a massive big screen is installed and will show the game.
So keep sharing, in this comment section, and on social media. It’s a new day for Rutgers Football and I’ll be damned if a backwards power five conference television network is going to ruin it for us. And if all else fails, listen to the great Chris Carlin and Ray Lucas on the radio. If the community of Rutgers football fans come together to celebrate the start of this new era, then maybe all of this nonsense was worth it.