Earlier on Tuesday, Rutgers announced 150th anniversary themes for the upcoming season. Each of the seven home games will be attached to a specific part of the program’s history. Here is the full list, as well as the press release from the school:
It's a season-long celebration at #TheBirthplace of College Football❗️— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) July 2, 2019
Each @RFootball home game in 2019 will feature a special theme that honors a chapter of our 150-year history, the oldest in College Football.
ℹ️: https://t.co/0li1qsCPef#TheBirthplace | #CFB150 pic.twitter.com/YBk9aKFgpl
There has been some speculation for months as to what Rutgers planned to do to commemorate the 150th anniversary of college football, which began on the banks with a 6-4 victory over Princeton on November 6, 1869. While details as to what each theme will entail on GameDay were not disclosed, athletic director Pat Hobbs made the following statement:
“With just two months to go before our opening game against UMass, the excitement is already starting to build,” said Athletic Director Pat Hobbs. “An anniversary like this deserves a season-long celebration with many elements and that’s just what we’ve planned. There’s only one Birthplace and it’s right here ‘On the Banks’ ”.
The press release offered the following specifics:
The Birthplace of College Football celebration, presented by RWJBH
- 150th anniversary themed home games, including unique performances by the Rutgers Marching Band
- New “Victory” statue unveiled to commemorate the 150th anniversary
This is all in addition to the online marketing and social media campaigns that have been released by the football program this past year to honor and celebrate this historic anniversary, which has been well done.
For the themes, I especially like the games dedicated to Paul Robeson and Eric LeGrand, as well as different eras of the program’s history. While I think the individual historical themes for each home game is a great development, for those that have followed this program for years, not having a game scheduled on the actual weekend of the anniversary in early November remains a disappointment. It’s a bye week for Rutgers and there has been debate among fans as to why this is the case. Regardless of why, it remains to be seen if Rutgers is scheduling any activities or celebration on campus.
The 100th anniversary came with some fanfare, as Rutgers defeated Princeton 29-0 in front of a regionally televised audience on ABC and 31,000 fans attended the game at old Rutgers stadium. While Princeton is playing Dartmouth on November 9th at Yankee Stadium this season on the weekend of the 150th anniversary, as of now, it appears it will be a quiet weekend on the banks. Hopefully, some type of celebration will ultimately be announced.
There was recently a twitter account and campaign that was started and is called “BringCollegeGameDayToTheBirthplace”, with its sole purpose to garner support for ESPN to broadcast its famed pregame show on campus as part of the 150th anniversary season. It seems like a fruitless endeavor with no game scheduled on the anniversary weekend. Perhaps ESPN would consider coming for another home game, but with the current state of the program on the field, that seems unlikely.
The bottom line is the announcement of themes for each home this season is a positive one, but from this long time fan’s persepctive, the wish for more celebratory plans remains. Hopefully, the athletic department will continue to release more details and announce more scheduled events leading up to the start of the season.