Scarlet Fever: Everybody loves Rutgers
Rutgers is ranked for the first time since 1976 -- a veritable bicentennial away from the polls -- and that makes this week's USF opponent the official media darlings of the week. Never mind that Rutgers, much like the Bulls, hasn't really beaten anybody yet. They've won four games convincingly enough that they're among 19 unbeatens and back in the polls. And the national media. Links, please?
This time last year, we were writing about Rutgers' campus cuisine -- yes, I'm still digesting portions of the Fat Sandwich I ate in the wee hours after USF's victory in New Brunswick. Or was it Piscataway? I always forget which side of the river is which.
Now that Rutgers is 4-0 and alum James Gandolfini is in the crowd -- no word on whether he or Bill Bellamy or Calista Flockhart will be at Ray-Jay on Friday -- you're reading as much about Greg Schiano as you were Terry Schiavo last year. And no, of course not, I will not extend any parallels there, thankyouverymuch.
-- We'll start with USA Today, the official acknowledgement of National Sports Prominence, as Kelly Whiteside writes about Brian Leonard and how posters at Rutgersfan.com are already making fun of the media blitz, with faux headlines like "Bin Laden Mentions RU on Al Jazeera." Funny stuff.
-- For you elite few who pony up for ESPN.com's Insider premium service, you can read Rod Gilmore and Joe Schad riffing on Rutgers. Schad (spoilers!) even does the Peter King thing where he talks about where he was when Brian Leonard called him. Works better when it's Favre, but hey, what's a blog without a self-gratifying first-person reference, that's what I say. And even if you're not an Insider, you can read the first few grafs of Gilmore for free. What a tease, that ESPN!
-- SI.com's new 1-119 rankings have USF at No. 55, and they even shot the Times a plug, picking up our note from Sunday about Jim Leavitt saying he went for it on fourth-and-2 in the first quarter because his assistants in the booth told him USF needed less than a yard. "From the Thrown-Under-The-Bus File," they write. Rutgers, by the way, is 26th. I tend to prefer the authenticity of SI.com's rankings to Foxsports.com's rankings, which currently have Rutgers 45th and USF 58th. Fox, I should point out, has USF playing in the International Bowl against Toledo. Get those passports updated!
-- OK. More later. I'm off to buy stock in Dr Pepper, after all the national play they got behind Terrell Owens and his press conference Wednesday. Man, and to think I cover a circus some days. Smart buy, getting that advertising branding behind the Dallas microphones. Major, major kudos to the loyal reader that can tell me which financial company has those rights for USF's athletic interviews ... C'mon, it's a contest! Go crazy! I don't just give out kudos to anybody here.