No, you didn’t miss a late announcement. Rutgers football is not playing in any bowl game this year.
But, in an interesting twist of good public relations, Rutgers was very present at this year’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Through some good fortune, I was able to go to the game on some comp tickets from an officiating friend. Great seats....for baseball. Second level, behind the first base dugout. The view for football, not so much.
But the story. First, we all probably know that at one time Syracuse had a sign at the House that Jeter built that read “New York’s College Team”. Wait, I’m still giggling....I’ll refocus in a second. Okay, I’m back. So that sign is gone. And for the last two seasons, out in left field has been this:
The Syracuse sign at Yankee Stadium replaced by a Rutgers sign. "New York's College Team" takes another hit. pic.twitter.com/NMmdubkXJZ— Chris Iseman (@ChrisIseman) April 5, 2016
For the record, Chris Iseman is a Syracuse grad.
And people other than Rutgers fans took notice. Which brings me back to the Pinstripe Bowl. At the half, these two Boston College fans were talking near me and close enough for me to hear the details. Hey, they were loud talkers! Among the things said was, “Did you see the Rutgers sign out there? Wow, all season long. What did that cost?” Uh, the answer? I don’t know but it’s worth every penny. The fact that these BC fans were acknowledging that sign - seen on every long foul or homerun to left field - means it gets attention. Lots of attention for Rutgers.
Then there was the one and only Pinstripe Bowl Trivia question asked of some random fan. The question was which Pinstripe Bowl “alum” has the most yards in his NFL career. Among the four choices were two Scarlet Knights, Mohamed Sanu and Brandon Coleman. Tavon Austin was another choice - I eliminated him right away - and somebody else. Hey, once I saw the Rutgers names, the rest were unnecessary. The random fan got the answer right when they displayed “A”, Sanu.
Two Rutgers references at the Pinstripe Bowl. That doesn’t make up for not playing in a bowl and getting the additional practice time and PR from the game. But it does put Rutgers out front....in a way.
In a good way.
Of not insignificant note....
The Pinstripe Bowl. A Big Ten team, Iowa, won - that’s good. And even more importantly, a certain team that abandoned the Big East and its members while pledging loyalty to the Big East, lost. In a devastating collapse.
Final score: Iowa 27, Boston College 20
Life is good.