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Beware to all, for the Rutger will cometh


NCAA Football: Purdue at Rutgers Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Every once in a while, Inside NU’s Tristan Jung writes a pointless, pseudo-intellectual column about Rutgers sports. He hails from New York and has attended a Rutgers basketball game in person. Unlike most Big Ten writers, he also knows actual Rutger fans.

“Never believe a writer. Listen to them, by all means, but never believe them.” - The Langolier

They are coming through the floorboards. They are rising from the ashes, exploiting every loophole, finding every inefficiency to TAKE YOU DOWN. Rutgers, resplendent, glorious Rutger, its ‘s’ restored, has two straight Big Ten victories. This two-game streak in the Big Ten is unprecedented in the history of college football.

After a resounding win against Missouri, a win over Minnesota and “moral victories” against Michigan and Louisville, Purdue was supposed to be back under Jeff Brohm—of the Rutgers, who obviously did not know, they were lurking everywhere, behind every bush and tree, in every shadow, just over the horizon…the Rutgers had come for all the foolish, lazy journalists, just as fans had always said they would. The Rutgers will consume everything now. The Rutgers will paint everything red, dismantling the illusion of order in our college football society. Scarlet Knights, enveloping this uncertain land with fire and brimstone. Scarlet Knights, with swords cloaked in scarlet, ruining the bowl hopes of Illinois and the optimism of Purdue with a single, ugly stoke.

The great day of reckoning is upon us. The Scarlet Knights are tied for fourth in the Big Ten East, with Michigan. They will travel to the Big House next week, ready to avenge last year’s 78-0 loss. The Midwest shall become scarlet, an untidy, brash, irrational scarlet that swirls through the cornfields and spreads like wildfire. At 3-4, they might even become bowl eligible!

Oh wait, Rutgers lost to Eastern Michigan in Piscataway because it committed a 15-yard offensive penalty to exit field goal range and then took a sack to end the game [As a Northwestern sports blog, we cannot make fun of quarterbacks taking awful sacks to end games (@Clayton Thorson) for a few years.].

The remaining schedule is: @Michigan, Maryland, @PSU, @Indiana, Michigan State.

Forget what I said about bowl eligibility.

Regardless, the scarlet wave is coming and it will swallow you whole. Rutgers would actually be competitive in the dumpster fire that is the Big Ten West. Think about that. Think about what Chris Ash is building.

Rutgers fans are angry. They are resentful, having taken every single negative comment said about the program personally over the last decade and a half. You gotta watch out for the Rutgers faithful. They will be heard. They will be acknowledged.

From Scarlet Nation, the Rutgers Rivals Board

They will get into fights online with “coworkers” on the Rutgers SBNation site! (Don’t @ me!)

And soon, very soon, Rutgers will finally get its share of Big Ten television money after, hilariously, Jim Delany put them into some deficits as punishment/penance/a fee/pure spite for wanting to join the Big Ten. Then, when the bag lands on the Rutgers Athletic Department, you shall see much fruit. Blessed are the poor in spirit, because Rutgers shall inherit the earth.

The dynasty is here, folks. It’s here to stay. Rutgers will never be bad again. New York’s Big Ten team will replace the Giants and dominate the NFL, or whatever, I think that’s what the plan is. I’m here for it.

But we must warn you, Rutgers, beware of flying too close to the sun. Beware of becoming college football’s latest Icarus. Beware of expanding too quickly, and then losing your head coach.

But, perhaps more relevantly, beware of flying somewhat close to the sun, but never actually coming close, only providing fans the illusion that the sun is just around the corner. Beware of hiring the same offensive staff after every single season and expecting greatness. Beware of overconfidence, advanced stat projections, recruiting rankings, and all that.

Seriously, Rutgers may not be awful in the future. Chris Ash is a pretty good coach. As a Stony Brook Seawolves fanatic, I really liked the Steve Pikiell hire. But in the Big Ten East, with no good facilities and no equal TV money for years, Rutgers may soon understand the great horror of mediocrity. You have never tasted long-term Big Ten mediocrity, Rutgers. You do not understand what we at Indiana, Illinois, Purdue and Northwestern know all too well. There is a despair in utter failure, but there is also a despair in barely making the Quick Lane Bowl or the Pinstripe Bowl while getting blown out by Penn State and Ohio State every year. There is a different and unwelcome despair when the team will still agonizingly losing to awful teams due to putrid offensive performances and bad gameplans. 5-7 would be a triumph for Rutgers. 5-7 would send Inside NU into a spiral of self-loathing and finger-pointing.

Sports are terrible, college football doubly so.

Someday, you may look back on 2015-16 and remember that you didn’t care. You didn’t have to care. It was so absurd, so comical, that a deconstructionist reading of Rutgerball was all that was necessary. There is no such thing as “no context” when you become a real college football program. In the absence of success, the ordinary becomes miraculous. Defeating Illinois by double-digits feels like water turned into wine. Barely defeating Purdue at home thanks to a failed two-point conversion is an oil lamp that overflows forever. Back-to-back Big Ten wins...what a feeling!

But look at us, Rutgers. Look at the comments on this blog after the Wisconsin and Penn State games. We are constantly negative, and we will be negative again once the momentary high of winning this awful, no-good B1G football game with a dysfunctional offense goes away. When Northwestern needed an online sports blog for the new era, its fans created Lake the Posts in order to memorialize the nostalgic times of absurd ineptitude.

I will now end this article with a doctored quote from The Langolier by Stephen King.

“Deep in the trenches carved into the floors of New York and New Jersey, there are football teams like UConn which live and die without ever seeing or sensing the sun. These fabulous football teams cruise the depths like ghostly balloons, lit from within by their own radiance. Although they look delicate, they are actually marvels of biological design, built to withstand pressures that would squash a man as flat as a windowpane in the blink of an eye. Their great strength, however, is also their great weakness. Prisoners of their own alien rosters, they are locked forever in their dark depths. If they are captured and drawn toward the surface, toward the sun, they simply explode. It is not external pressure that destroys them, but its absence.”