Each week, we’ll examine schools that could potentially join the ACC at some point if/when the conference decides that 14 isn’t good enough. While it appears that conferences (ACC, and SEC soon) are content with 14 for now, any moves by conference cornerstone programs could cause even more shifting. With that in mind, we wanted to take a look at how each potential addition stacks up.
This week’s resume: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
School: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Team nickname: Scarlet Knights
Location: New Brunswick and Piscataway, NJ
Current League: Big East
Year Established in FBS: 1869
2011 W-L: 5-2
Overall W-L: 599-591-42 (incl. all games)
National Titles: 1 (1869, so really, 0)
The Good: Rutgers played in the first collegiate football contest, versus in-state rival Princeton, in 1869. It was one of two games that made up that season, both of which were between the two New Jersey institutions. Aside from that history, Rutgers brings with it sort-of-rivalries with Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Boston College. If one insists, you could also count Virginia Tech and Miami (FL) from their Big East days, too. Media market-wise, Rutgers continually attempts to lay claim to the fictional title of “New York City’s College Football Team.” While that is surely up for debate, the team does deliver the New Jersey market, which is a sizable amount of televisions in and of itself.
The Bad: Rutgers football began play in 1869, yet have only managed to win 599 games. In over 140 seasons. Their only national title is from said inaugural season, when they split the title with the only other team in existence. As for rivalries, most of the aforementioned schools have never really considered the Scarlet Knights a “rival” due to their general ineptitude on the field of play (in all sports, but specifically football). Syracuse has only recently become a rival due to their Orange’s lackluster football product from 2004-2009 and the school’s creation of the fictional “New York’s College Team” moniker. Until 1978, Rutgers competed for something known as the “Little Brass Cannon” with Lafayette and Lehigh. So there’s that “storied” tradition.
Our Vote: Rutgers is obviously the third option in the ACC expansion debate, behind Notre Dame and Connecticut. The only way they’ll get a nod is if Notre Dame becomes a a definitively closed door, but that is still a very fluid situation. Should ACC fans be okay with that, though? I don’t know. When its football team is down (as it has been for 135 of its 142 years of existence), the school brings nothing to the table in terms of other sports, and it’s still extremely questionable who (if anyone) brings home the New York marketplace. With all of that in mind, the answer is a conditional no, unless Notre Dame heads to the Big Ten/Big 12.