From 1996 through 2002, Rutgers averaged two victories per season. During that span, the Scarlet Knights passed on a coach named Charlie Weis, lost countless in-state recruits to Eastern programs and repeatedly defended themselves against a group of students, faculty and alumni known as "Rutgers 1000," which fought for the school to leave the Big East. RU serious? Yes, and believe this, too: Rutgers is 6-2 and bowl eligible for the first time since 1992. Long a laughingstock, Coach Greg Schiano's Scarlet Knights are now poised to make just their second bowl game appearance in the history of the school, which staged the first college football game, against Princeton in 1869. Rutgers did not even leave the state in its only bowl appearance, losing to Arizona State at Giants Stadium in the 1978 Garden State Bowl.
Virginia Tech and Florida each earned significant victories this week in beating nationally ranked Boston College and Georgia, respectively. But both teams weren't exactly dressed for success. The Hokies and Gators were decked out in similar Nike-made uniforms this week. The ostentatious jerseys featured a single orange sleeve that made each player appear like he had one shoulder bandaged. The new look prompted harsh critiques on several Internet message boards yesterday. . . . If you didn't notice, Oklahoma beat Nebraska. The matchup might never have been more under the radar than it was this season. When they met in Lincoln, Neb., it marked the first time since 1961 that neither team was ranked. . . . A quick glimpse into the world of the modern-day college quarterback: In the first quarter, a fan posted on a Maryland message board that Joel Statham's scholarship should be revoked. By halftime, everyone loved the guy.
It was no shock that Georgia lost without quarterback D.J. Shockley, who sat out because of an injury. But what occurred late Saturday night certainly was wild and unpredictable, shaking up a day that had looked like a routine late October football Saturday. All it took for many fans was a few clicks on the remote control to watch two undefeated teams, Texas and UCLA, rally from double-digit deficits in the second half to try to stay in the national championship chase. UCLA looked like a completely different team in the second half of the fourth quarter and overtime. . . . Notre Dame picked a perfect time to announce the new 10-year contract for Coach Charlie Weis, who was rumored to be the target of NFL teams. The NFL chatter likely was an attempt to hamper his recruiting efforts, which couldn't be going any better.