Time for Rutgers to be "Hartless"

Looking back at Rutgers and the Big East

Even I have to admit it. I have been a big Ryan Hart supporter for the past three years. He's has poise, he flows well with the pocket, he  is (often) accurate with his passes and so on and so on.

I like Ryan Hart. I respect what he can do.

But now even I have to admit it.

Ryan has to go.

Only one week after he spotted nationally ranked WVU a seven point lead on the first series against the Mountaineers, he spotted nationally ranked Boston College a seven point lead on the first series against the Eagles.

If you play like that against nationally ranked teams, you are going to lose.

We, indeed, played like that against nationally ranked teams and we lost.

Yes, it is not all Ryan's fault. The running game totaled less than a hundred yards, the secondary made Grant Adams look like Larry Fitzgerald and Ron Green became the big, mean penalty machine.

But with Ryan it is personal. I am tired of seeing him not live up to his potential. I am tired of seeing him lock onto receivers who are triple covered. I am tired of seeing him try to thread the needle, while other receivers are wide open.

Ryan just can't "look off" receivers.

For Ryan, this is a fatal flaw. I had hoped that this would be the year in which he overcame that problem, but it won't be this year. After three years of the same thing, it won't be next year either. It won't be any year.

It is time for Ryan to go. It is time to try someone else.

And don't give me that "if we beat Navy and UConn" we can still go to a bowl.

Let me tell you a story about bowls.

In 1976 Rutgers went undefeated and received an invitation to the Independence Bowl. Back then the Independence Bowl was considered the lowest of the low. It was not even considered a real bowl. Head Coach Frank Burns had a meeting with the team. They had to make a decision. Would they accept a bowl bid that was a slap in the face ... or stay home.

They voted. They stayed home.

They didn't go to a bowl but they kept their honor.

If Rutgers beats Navy and UConn, they would become bowl eligible.

 If I could vote on it, I would vote "no". Don't go. Keep our honor. I would vote against it. Without doubt.

No, it's not due to the reasons that moved the 1976 team, no, just the opposite. I would vote "no" because we don't deserve a bowl.

You know it. I know it.

That's why the rest of the season doesn't matter. The team needs change. It needs a new quarterback. It needs that now to build for the future. It needs to build for a future where "bowl eligible" would mean more than an unjustified reward for an embarrassing season.


The Big "Hee, Haw" Rule

After looking at national scores last night, I almost fell on the floor laughing.

Years ago, the BCS adopted the "Big East Rule". It was a rule that was meant to keep the Big East out of major post season play. The rule specified that conference winners had to average in the top twelve in order to keep them eligible for BCS contention.

Well, the "Big East Rule" didn't work so well. The Big East easily qualified under that rule, but the ACC found themselves in trouble. With Florida State beginning to fade, the ACC was looking at the prospect of being kicked out of the BCS.

They needed teams that could play top notch football and they needed them badly. If they didn't get them, it would be bye-bye BCS, bye-bye TV revenues.

It was that, along with the increasing strength of the Big East, that spawned the ACC's raid on the Big East last year.

Well, don't look now but this season could end up with the "Top 12" harboring two teams from the Big East and none from the ACC.

How could this happen?

Last night Miami lost its second game in a row. A week ago they fell to North Carolina. This week they lost to Clemson. As a result the Hurricanes will drop to 15th or 16th or worse. Now, that old ACC stalwart Florida State isn't doing much better. The Seminoles are hovering at 13th and they still have Florida left to play. Virginia Tech is at 18 with Virginia and Miami to play. That leaves just the Virginia Cavaliers who are ranked 12th. They have Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech left to play. If you play out the likely scenarios, the ACC could very well end up with its conference champion coming in at 14th or 15th in the nation.

If that happens expect John Swofford to soil his Brooks Brothers pants.

On the other hand both West Virginia and Louisville look poised to run the rest of their schedules. Importantly, Tennessee (ranked 8th,11th) lost yesterday to unranked Notre Dame. That will cause Tennessee to drop down and out of the top 10. With that loss, if WVU and Louisville both "win out", they both have a good chance at ending up the season with a "12th" or better ranking.

The Big East rule was meant to prevent the Big East from ever becoming a "player" in big time football. It never did that job very well but for flat out "belly busting" comedy, it can't be beat.


What is this all about?

One of the biggest surprise scores yesterday was Cincinnati's 52-24 mauling of 21st ranked Mississippi State. This win by the Bearcats follows a respectable 21-10 win last week over TCU.  Cincinnati is now 5-4 overall and is looking to bowl qualify in two weeks against South Florida.

The Bearcats are in their first year under new head coach Mark Dantonio.

Dantonio had spent  three years as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State before coming to Cincinnati. During that time OSU sported one of the top defenses in the nation. He has coached under Earle Bruce, Nick Saban and Bobby Williams.

Dantonio has already pulled in two quality recruits in cornerback Brad Jones and defensive end Tyler Clifford. If his team keeps playing like this the Bearcats could end up being a pleasant surprise for Big East Football.


Unhappy Valley

Penn State is now in last place in the Big Ten conference. Last place. That is their standing after a 14-7 loss to Northwestern yesterday afternoon.

 Whatever you may think about Joe Paterno, he has, indeed, been one of the greatest coaches in the game's history and seeing him end this way is sad.

Paterno has too many honors and accomplishments to list but here's a few:

Joe is the all-time leader among coaches in bowl appearances (31) and post-season victories (20). His teams 14-6 in New Year's Day games.. His overall post-season record of 20-10-1. He has developed 69 first team All American, won two national championships and gone undefeated and untied five times.

This is his 55th year at Penn State. He has coached at Penn State longer than I have been alive.

More likely than not Jopa will call it quits after the end of this season.

Whether Joe stays or goes there is no way around the sadness. Watching the end of Joe Paterno's career one sees a sad decline from greatness. On the other hand, the retirement of Joe Paterno will be a sad day for all of college football.


Mike Fasano

Mike and the Big Dog's LLC

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