Seeing Red

First of all, quick housekeeping note: I'm sure you're used to finding 80 Minutes of Regulation via the Blogspot site. I'm pleased to announce that the site's got its own doman,

This weekend USF football played what is probably the team I hate most in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. It's not a game I think of as a rivalry; while I contend USF doesn't have any true rivals, I'd name Louisville and Cincinnati, our longtime conferencemates, in a pinch, with an outside nod to West Virginia, as I'd like to think we get under their skin a bit. But Rutgers? I just plain don't like them, and I hate to lose to them, which sadly, we did again this weekend on an overtime field goal. Someone asked me this weekend why I hate the State University of New Jersey, and I've got a couple of reasons.

Proximity This may seem a strange reason for a school in Florida to hate a school in New Jersey, but hear me out. First of all, it's not hard to trace migration patterns from northern New Jersey/New York to the Tampa Bay area. In fact, the Bulls play right across the way from the spring home of the New York Yankees. Plus, I grew up in Delaware, so New Jersey has always been on the wrong side of the bridge.

Key Games There have been a couple of key games in the history of the USF-Rutgers that really stick in my craw. There's the 2006 game in Tampa, after which the Scarlet Knights desecrated our turf with their locker room chant. There's the trip to Rutgers in 2007 where we lost our #2 ranking amidgst Schiano's explosive bitching and moaning and a bogus "illegal forward propulsion" call that lost us the game. Given the way we salted away last night's game, it may go on the list soon.

General Annoyingness Any number of things can fit into this category, but I'll attempt to narrow it down. There is, of course, the aforementioned locker room chant. There's the glorification of the Bon Jovi Kid, some little Rutgers fan who rocks out in the stand when they play Jersey's Own. If I may draw an analogy, much in the same way a coach may go for it on 4th down because he doesn't trust his field goal kicker, you only rely so heavily on the loudspeakers and Jumbotron features if you don't trust your band. Theres the billboard Rutgers football erected not too far from USF's campus. These and more make Rutgers a general annoyance.

Ironically, I sit here on Sunday night rooting on the Baltimore Ravens as they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, and while I'm cheering for his pro team, I still can't stand Rutgers' Ray Rice.