SU Fans Sound Off!
Harvard Football, Beyond Pathetic
By Shawn Keelhole, RUWannabe
I grew up in Lexington, MA, a twenty minute ride down Massachusetts Aveneue away from Harvard University. From 1987 to the time I enrolled at Syracuse, there was nothing in life more important to me than college football. The sport was my manna, better than watching ESPN or playing video games or skateboarding with my posse. It still is to this day.
And not once from the time I started caring about college football to the time I started at Syracuse in 1996 did I even think about going to a Harvard game.
My high school friends didn't think about it either. No one ever had tickets to a Harvard game. No one cared who they were playing or what their chances were. The men in our neighborhood never wore Harvard Starter Jackets when they were mowing their lawns. Not a car on the street had a Harvard football bumper sticker. You never saw guys wearing Harvard baseball hats at Walmart. No one admitted to even acknowledging that Harvard football was a thing that happened. Because no one cared.
Can you imagine growing up twenty minutes down the road from Texas A&M and not even considering attending a football game? Or THE University of Alabama? Hell, even UNLV. It just sounds preposterous.
When I applied to colleges, I didn't think for a second about applying to Harvard, or Yale, or Dartmouth, or Columbia. Who'd want to get stuck at some place where there are no Starter Jackets or bumperstickers with the school's name? Pathetic.
Texas A&M and Alabama turned me down, said my grades and SATs weren't good enough. UNLV wait-listed me. While I was waiting, I got an acceptance letter from Syracuse. In the same envelope, they sent a glossy brochure with a picture of a basketball game, kids in the stands wearing orange wigs, having a really great time. That's when I knew Syracuse was a great school. I wanted to be one of those kids with the orange wigs. My family mailed in a deposit. I went out and bought a Syracuse Starter Jacket. I'm wearing it right now, in fact.
I was at Syracuse from '96 to '99. In my first year, Harvard hit absolute bottom. They went 4-6, getting beaten by places like Dartmouth, Brown, and Columbia. When I went home for Christmas, I joked about it with a high school friend who went to Harvard. I said hey, lousy football team, 4-6, how can you guys even pretend to be a university, LOL.
He didn't know their W-L record. I had to tell him. He didn't even know what a "starter jacket" was! How pathetic is that?
In my second year at Syracuse, Harvard did go 9-1 and undefeated in that pathetic conference they belong to. My brother was in high school. I thought his friends might be excited out of their minds, being just a 20-minute drive down Mass Ave from a 9-1 team.
He said no one cared who they were playing or what their chances were. None of his friends wore Harvard Starter Jackets. No one had a Harvard football bumper sticker. No one admitted to even acknowledging that Harvard football was a thing that happened. Because no one cared.
That 9-1 season didn't change anything. Stores weren't bothering to sell Harvard Starter Jackets. Or Harvard bumper stickers. There were still a lot of kids on their campus who didn't know their W-L record. It was beyond pathetic.
They think they're so traditional. Okay, maybe the Harvard-Yale game was big stuff back when Teddy Roosevelt and Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot and Leonard Bernstein and John Updike and FDR and J.Robert Oppenheimer and JFK and people like that were students there.
But hey, that was before BCS football, before the Tostitos Corn Chips Fiesta Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and the Nokia Bowl and the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl and the Chick Fil-A Bowl and the BBVa Compass Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl and the Advocare V100 Bowl and the FedEx Bowl. This is the 21st century. If they want to be a real university, they better get a clue.
Their teams are still beyond pathetic. Every time I look at the sports page, I jiggle up and down in my chair to think how lucky I was to go to Syracuse. These days, when I put on my orange wig and SU tee shirt and meet my buddies at Hooters, they know what I'm talking about when I mention an inside reverse flyboot pattern run off right tackle. Know any so-called Harvard grads who can say that?
All I can say is, Good luck, Harvard. You're pathetic.
Rutgers, College Football's Nouveau Riche
By Sean Keeley, Syracuse blogger
I grew up in Old Bridge, NJ, which is a twenty minute ride down Route 18 away from Rutgers University. From 1987 to the time I moved out and matriculated at Syracuse University, there was nothing in life more important to me than college football. The sport was my manna, better than anything baseball or hockey or even the NFL could provide. It still is to this day.
And not once from the time I started caring about college football to the time I became a Syracuse fan in 1996 did it even occur to me to go to a Rutgers football game.
It didn't occur to any of my friends either. No one ever had tickets to a Rutgers game. No one cared who they were playing or what their chances were. No one wore Rutgers Starter Jackets. No one had a Rutgers football bumper sticker. No one admitted to even acknowledging that Rutgers football was a thing that happened. Because no one cared.
Can you imagine growing up twenty minutes down the road from the University of Michigan and never even considering attending a football game? Or THE Ohio State? Hell, even Northwestern. It just sound preposterous.
I remember distinctly an article in the Asbury Park Press in the early 90's that discussed how weird it was that Rutgers was so bad at football. The article posited that of the 5-6 things that a college needed to be successful at the sport (recruiting base, proximity to major media market, etc.), Rutgers hit on every, single category. And yet, they consistently churned out 2-win, 3-win and 4-win seasons almost every year. You have to try to be bad to be as bad as Rutgers was back then.
I was at Syracuse from '96 to '99 and I got to witness the nadir of it all first-hand...The Terry Shea Era. Syracuse beat Rutgers in my first three seasons there; 42-0, 50-3, 70-14. Their lone victory, a 24-21 win in 1999, was aided only by two things: A ridiculous wind that shut down both offenses and kicking games, and Paul Pasqualoni's inability to realize this. Shea somehow outlasted me, returning for a fifth season in 2000, but losing to SU 49-21. The universe course-corrected.
Stop by a Rutgers message board sometime and marvel at the talk of New York City TV ratings, demographics, recruiting prowess and their place in the history of the sport. Yes, Rutgers played in the first college football game. But you'd think they won every game since the way these start-up kings go about it.
Despite the fact that they are the oldest of old, Rutgers is the nouveau riche. Try as they might to talk like the traditional powers and try as they might to act like the historical college football programs...they're not. I know it cause I saw it firsthand. I was there in the 80's and 90's when Rutgers Fan was a dirty word. I was there when the stadium was empty, the fanbase was miserable and the interest-level was nonexistent.
These days, Rutgers exists in this kind of middle-ground that we're used to seeing out of so many college fanbases. The programs that act like they've got multiple National Titles under their belt when the truth is, they're not even wearing a belt.
That's Rutgers Football. Good luck with all that