Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More on Rutgers and Vai Sikahema

Back in August 2006, before the football season began, Vai Sikahema did a Vai's View entitled "Rutgers is Wrong." Tomorrow, November 9, an 8-0 Rutgers faces No. 3 ranked Louisville in New Jersey, with a lot at stake. [Update: at halftime, Louisville 25, Rutgers 14. Google still doesn't index the August IPBiz post.]

The Bridgewater Courier-News wrote:

"Rutgers is a large campus and a complex organization," Charlie Maher says, addressing the overwhelming interest that has been growing all season. "What football does is provide a focus for a diversity of people, including the students. It's something people can rally around. Compared to academic instructions, football is very concrete and immediate. It occurs in the now. People know they can show up Thursday night and something is going to happen: Two football teams are going to play, and one will win and one will lose."

Losing has not happened to either Rutgers or Louisville this season. Both are 8-0. Rutgers is ranked among the top 15 teams in the country. Louisville is ranked No. 3.

Success not only breeds success, it also breeds enthusiasm. Maher is encountering that as he travels around the country.

"I was in Florida last week and people were talking Rutgers and Rutgers football, asking me if they were an Ivy League school," Maher says. "I tell them, 'No, it's a state university.' I had the same reactions in Texas recently. So Rutgers football has definitely brought attention nationally."

Thursday night's game will be the biggest sporting event on campus in the history of Rutgers athletics. Interest in the game is not only bringing up the price of tickets, but also the price of pregame festivities. One group of bandwagon members is hosting a tent party that is costing $5,000.


Can [Rutgers] pull off the upset?

"I have no reason why they can't," Maher offers. "When you have two teams like that, you never know. If it wasn't Louisville, if it was Texas or USC, Rutgers could win as well. That's how good they are right now."

[IPBiz notes one year ago Louisville beat Rutgers something like 51-5 in Louisville. This year, Louisville, coming off a tough game against ranked West Virginia, faces Rutgers in New Jersey. This is the first game this year in which Rutgers has faced a "top twenty" team.]


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