With the 150th anniversary of college football taking place this coming fall, Rutgers has been posting a lot on social media to commemorate the historic moment for the program as the birthplace of the sport. While no official announcement has been made as of yet regarding an in-season celebration, the latest marketing campaign centers around fans voting for who is the favorite Rutgers player of all-time. They are incorporating March Madness by releasing a 64 player, four region bracket for fans to vote on.
Rutgers Fans— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) March 25, 2019
Help us celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Rutgers Football by voting for your favorite all-time Scarlet Knights to help determine the “GOAT” of @RFootball, presented by @RWJBarnabas‼️
Voting is LIVE‼️
https://t.co/ltyUekCTJ9#TheBirthplace ⚔️ #GoRU pic.twitter.com/9tARfahC2U
You can access the bracket to vote on this link and here is what Rutgers has written at the top:
“Rutgers fans, it’s time to put your passion into action! Help us celebrate the 150th Anniversary of College Football by voting for your favorite Rutgers players of all-time. Throughout the month of March, you will have the chance to narrow a list of 64 former Scarlet Knights into the one final “GOAT” of Rutgers Football.”
It’s a clever idea and certainly a fun one for fans. Those that have rooted for Rutgers for decades won’t be disappointed by the history being represented in these brackets. There is something for every aged fan, that’s for sure.
The four different sections of the bracket are titled the Grit Region, Robeson Region, All-American Region, and Birthplace Region. The four top seeds are the inspiration for each region name and are all Rutgers legends. Let’s review each one.
Brian Leonard is the #1 seed in the Grit Region, which should be no surprise. My favorite subset in this region is the 6/11 and 3/14 matchups. The 6th seed is former Raider and Jet, Bill Pickel, versus 11th seed Eric Foster, while the 3 seed is NFL Hall of Famer Deron Cherry against 14 seed Rameel Meekins. Two old school greats against two players that were so important to the great 2006 team. All defensive players, all tough as nails. Lots of grit in this region for sure. Should be a heck of a 2nd round matchup between whoever advances. Shaun O’Hara vs. Jamaal Westerman in the 5/12 matchup is a lot of fun as well. Gary Brackett vs. Michael Burton in the 7/10 is another. Absolutely love this Region.
Marco Battaglia is the #1 seed in the All-American Region and will face 16 seed “Jersey” Joe Radigan, with the winner facing the winner of the 8/9 matchup between Ray Lucas and Janarion Grant. Lots of athleticism in that pairing An intriguing matchup further down the region is legend Eric Legrand as the 7 seed taking on 3-time Super Bowl champion Harry Swayne, the 10th seed.
American icon Paul Robeson obviously headlines the region bearing his name as the 1 seed. Andrew Baker got the tough draw as the 16 seed and the winner will face a 2000’s battle for the ages between 8 seed Tiquan Underwood and 9 seed Clark Harris. Lots of swagger in that pairing.
The fourth Region is the Birthplace Region and William Leggett as the top seed, who was captain of the historic first Rutgers team that won the inaugural college football game. Gary Nova vs. Mike McMahon is a delight in the 8/9 matchup and I predict the winner at least makes it to the Sweet 16. Frank Burns vs. Mike Teel at the 7/10 matchup is another compelling QB matchup as well. Tim Brown vs. Duron Harmon in the 6/11 should be one of the closest first round matchups in the entire bracket.
My Final Four Picks:
Out of the Grit Region, I’m going chalk with the 1 seed Brian Leonard. I see the All-American Region having a monster Elite Eight matchup between Marco Battaglia and Eric LeGrand. I bELieve the winner will be #52 for the upset as the 7 seed, although both players have done an incredible amount for the program. In the Robeson Region, although Paul is a Rutgers icon, the 2 seed Devin McCourty has been the most successful and visible alum playing in the NFL the past decade. That might appeal to younger voters more and I think McCourty advances. Lastly, the Birthplace Region is the hardest to predict in my opinion. I actually think the First Round winner between Mike Teel and Frank Burns will ultimately take the Region. While Burns has done so much for the program as a player and coach, I think the fact he is facing the most successful QB in the modern era is too much to overcome. Give me the 10 seed Teel as the Cinderella pick to the Final Four.
At the end of the day, my pick for who will be the last man standing is Brian Leonard, because I don’t think anyone has had a bigger impact as a player in bringing the program successfully into the modern era than him, which makes him an endearing all-time figure with Rutgers fans old and young. The GOAT.
Who knows if that is how the vote will actually go. We’ll see what happens and the more fans that vote, the better and more interesting the bracket results will be. The First Round voting runs through this Sunday and I’ll post results each week through the end of the tournament.
Let us know in the comment section your thoughts on the bracket and who you like for the Final Four. You can access the bracket to vote on this link and the full bracket for review is here:
A Closer Look At The Regions
The "All-American Region" is headlined by Marco Battaglia, one of the most decorated Scarlet Knights of all-time! Battaglia was a First-Team All-American and Big East Offensive Player of the Year in 1995!#TheBirthplace ⚔️ @RWJBarnabas ⚔️ #GoRU pic.twitter.com/zo9HSAb1H0— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) March 25, 2019
The "Birthplace Region" is headlined by William J. Leggett, the first team captain in @RFootball history. He helped shape the rules of the first ever college football game while leading Rutgers to a 6-4 win over Princeton!#TheBirthplace ⚔️ @RWJBarnabas ⚔️ #GoRU pic.twitter.com/mKxEWO4pJ0— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) March 25, 2019