As we do every year, the OTB staff offered up its predictions for the 2017 season. That post came on August 28. We want to be fully transparent; no fake news here. We gladly tell you when we’re right and grudgingly admit our mistakes.
For me, though, this became a bit more personal. And it is because a classmate of mine, a guy who had been very supportive of Rutgers athletics for decades, has basically walked away from Rutgers. He became disenchanted with a lot of what was going on, and particularly the hiring of and the actions of Chris Ash and Pat Hobbs.
He was so disgusted with Rutgers that he is now an Alabama fan. And for him I say.....
But I digress. My friend has pretty consistently this season hammered Rutgers whenever I wrote a post on attendance or we made predictions. Most of his comments have been on how people have bought into the hype and aren’t getting anything for it. Saying how we have a lot of “rah rah” stuff and how Dick Anderson, Doug Graber, and Schiano all beat Michigan State and at a lot less cost than Chris Ash. He’d be happy if we beat Sparty in front of a sellout home crowd; that to him would be progress. And when he referred to supporters - I’ll include me - as “bootlickers” for picking 6+ wins and a bowl game, I was bothered a bit.
Yeah, he’s not happy with Rutgers these days.
So, who on our staff picked 6+ wins?
No one. Nobody on the staff had us winning more than five games. Including me.
Oh, and for the record, Doug Graber did beat Michigan State on the road in 1991. He also lost to MSU at Giants Stadium in 1990, 34-10. And while Dick Anderson did beat MSU in East Lansing in the first game of 1988, he then lost to Vanderbilt the next week at Giants Stadium, 31-30. Vandy went 3-8 that year while the Knights went 5-6. Schiano also beat the Spartans in Piscataway to open the season in 2004. He then turned around and got embarrassed by Chip Kelly’s New Hampshire offense the next week. Just sayin’.
Six wins? Six wins?
Now, as for 6+ wins, there were a few readers who had very high hopes for 2017. In fact, there were 155 who thought Rutgers would be bowl-eligible. That accounted for about a quarter of those who voted in the poll. We’ve also made sure they are all well cared for in the home.
Most, though, were more realistic. Some 58% were in the same category as the OTB writers, choosing 4 or 5 wins. So while there were a bunch of “bootlickers” in the predictions, most people were pretty tame and realistic in their expectations. And yet they somehow still ended up being disappointed.
First, God bless vinman.
Yes, he wrote that...proudly. Clearly, he’s been on the left coast too long.
But predictions are for fun. They’re why we’re fans. We want to be a part of the action. But at the end of the day, it’s the young men who strap on the pads along with the coaches who make or break our predictions. Over the course of my life, I’ve tended to be overly optimistic; age and wisdom...and being a Rutgers (and Jets and Mets) fan has tempered that. I still wear the scarlet glasses. But I do take them off occasionally, squint at the numbers, and put my money on red....and black.