Saturday, unfortunately, marks USF's final game of the 2013 season. At 7:30 in Piscataway the Bulls will bid farewell to conference mates Rutgers and try to snap a five-game losing streak. As the last team to face Rutgers before their impending departure for the B1G, I feel honored to partake in one last round of college football's greatest tradition: Rutgers Hate.
Let's get this out of the way: Rutgers is a horrendous program in nearly all aspects of everything. There's a reason why literally every team in the old Big East hated them, and it wasn't because there were any good at football (tied for dead last in BCS appearances with zero. Bet you can't guess who they're tied with!).
Here is the comprehensive history of Rutgers football:
1869: Played in the first ever college football game!
1870-2005: Made one bowl game.
Here are some things that happened the same amount of times between 1870 and 2005 as Rutgers going bowling:
- The amount of times the University of South Florida was founded
- The amount of times you were born
- The amount of World Wars, minus one
I digress. 2006-present: Ran the bowl total to eight (putting this number in perspective: Rutgers has made eight bowl games in 144 seasons at the Division I level. USF has made six in 13 seasons), yet somehow convinced their fans that they won several national titles.
No, seriously. The worst part of Rutgers isn't their buffoonish ex-coach who is currently making a fool out of himself in the NFL, or their incessant mocking of B.J. Daniels when he's twice the quarterback Gary Nova is, or holy Jesus how many personal fouls was Khaseem Greene flagged for last season? It's the fans.
Rutgers fans have become delusional about their program based on seven seasons of quasi-success. They consider themselves not only a better team, but also on a higher moral ground than their opponents (see: On the Banks' "USF is the only Big East team worthy of dislike" after applauding Greg Schiano for not returning Skip Holtz's high-five at the Big East media days, which is honestly kind of weird all around), and when confronted about it, are quick to respond with a "[Fans of Team XXX] care more about Rutgers than they do their own team." Which we can absolutely assure you never has never been nor will ever be true.
@NoEscalators on Twitter, formerly of The UConn Blog, likes to say that Rutgers was born on third base but is convinced they hit a triple. It's true. The program was created with every advantage in the world-- proximity to big media markets in New York and Philadelphia (sidenote: I live in Philadelphia, and can confirm that no one talks about, cares about, or even really knows what Rutgers is), and for God's sake they played the first college football game!-- and after 143 years of doing absolutely nothing, finally got home on a suicide squeeze from Jim Delaney who woke up the next morning with no recollection of how they got there, and based on recent events is probably frantically searching for a receipt.
Some Bulls fans have suggested that Rutgers was the program's true rival due to the hate they inspire in the USF fanbase. I strongly disagree. Everyone hates Rutgers. The Big East hated Rutgers, the American hates Rutgers, and the B1G will learn to hate Rutgers. I hold no hard feelings against the Scarlet Knights for their departure-- in fact, I hope that every conference gets to experience having Rutgers as a member at least once, so that they too can take part in college football's greatest tradition. It's rare that fans from all across the country of all different loyalties can find something that so wholeheartedly unites them, and for that we should be thankful.
Thank you, Rutgers. Thank you so much.