Welcome Aboard To The Big Ten: Rutgers

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten adds an athletic program that has had less national success than Purdue.

Jim Delaney is all about the New York media market. He even opened a new office there recently. Unfortunately, the New York market cares very little about Rutgers even on a slow news day. Still, any Purdue trip to Rutgers means a nearby stop in the Big Apple, where visits have been far from kind for our Boilermakers of late.

Purdue went 0-2 in its last trip to New York when it lost to Villanova and Oregon State in the 2K Sports Classic in 2012. In 2008 Purdue lost the NIT season tipoff to Oklahoma in overtime thanks to a 2,920 to 4 free throw advantage by the Sooners. Even worse, Rutgers themselves allowed Notre dame to win a bowl game in New York City this year.

Like it or not, the Scarlet Knights are going to be our new conference-mates, so let's get to know them better.

Rutgers Football

  • Oldest college football program in the nation, as they played in the first ever game vs. Princeton in 1869.
  • They have not done much since, winning three Middle Atlantic Conference titles (1958, 1960, and 1961) and a share of the Big East in 2012 (in a four-way tie with an eight team conference).
  • Bowl Record is only 5-4, with eight of those bowl games coming since 2005.
  • Had won five straight bowl games before losing the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl to Virginia Tech in overtime.
  • Play at High point Solution Stadium, seating 52,454 (larger than only Northwestern)

Purdue and Rutgers will not meet until the boilers go to Piscataway on October 21, 2017. This comes after Purdue's first trip to Maryland and it will be the first time ever that Purdue and Rutgers will meet in football. The Scarlet knights will not visit Ross-Ade until at least 2020, so it is still hard to think of them as a conference opponent unless there is an unlikely meeting in the Big Ten Championship game.

For many years Rutgers was flat out awful. We're talking worse than Indiana awful. As a program they have a winning record, but barely at 632-612-42. A lot of that is thanks to the efforts of Greg Schiano and Kyle Flood. Schiano went a combined 3-20 in his first two seasons before finally breaking through with an Insight Bowl bid and 7-5 record in 2005. They were 11-2 in 2006 with a bowl win and even were in the top 10 before a late season loss at Cincinnati.

Since then, they have been a respectable program with a bowl visit every season since 2005 except 2010. Will they continue that in the Big Ten? it is hard to say. They were done no favors with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State in the east division with them. They do at least get Indiana and Maryland to play with, however.

Rutgers Basketball

  • Made the 1976 Final Four
  • Only six NCAA Tournament appearances in school history
  • Last NCAA appearance was in 1991.
  • Play in the 8,000 seat RAC, which will be the smallest arena in the B1G and one of only two under 12,500

Calling Rutgers basketball a laughingstock would be kind. The program hasn't even made the NIT since 2006, meaning Northwestern and their infamous streak have been closer to the NCAA Tournament more recently. They reached the Final Four in 1976 where they lost to Michigan, but have done very little since then. That team was an impressive 31-2 after losing to the Wolverines.

As a program Rutgers has had one 20-win season since 1983, and that came in 2004 when they were the NIT runner-up. Eddie Jordan took over this past season and they went 12-21 with a 5-13 record in what will be their lone season in the American Athletic Conference. He is the fifth coach this century for a constantly lost program.

Purdue and Rutgers will play twice in the coming basketball season, and the Boilermakers hold a 3-1 all-time record against the Scarlet Knights, thus keeping with the tradition of having a winning record against every Big Ten program except Ohio State. Purdue is 12-1 all-time against teams from New Jersey too. The last meeting was a 98-65 win in 1982 at Purdue. Rutgers won at Purdue 81-73 in 1975, while Purdue had victories during a home-and-home in 1953 and 1954.

Women's Basketball

The Rutgers women's basketball team has been quite successful on a national scale of late. They were national runner-up in 2007 and this past season they won the 64-team WNIT (yes, there is a women's NIT). Purdue is 2-0 all-time against Rutgers, beating them in the 2009 NCAA Tournament most recently 67-61 in a Sweet 16 game. The other victory was 75-62 in the 1999 Midwest Regional final as Purdue went on to win the National Championship.

Baseball

I have seen a decent amount of Rutgers baseball of late, as they have had a habit of playing my wife's Hurricanes in the opening series of the season down in Miami. Since 1998 they have made six NCAA Tournament appearances and they do have a college World Series appearance to their credit in 1950.

Other sports

Finally, once Rutgers joins the conference, Purdue will not have the least respected program nationally out of all Big Ten programs. Despite its long history, Rutgers has only one NCAA championship, which was in men's fencing in 1949. This is with 27 varsity teams competing every season. Purdue at least has three officials NCAA titles to its credit, so we're finally better than someone.

Stuff to do if you see the Boilers at Rutgers

We could ask J Money of Boiled Sports, as jersey is definitely his area of expertise. If you visit Rutgers, however, the main draw is New York right across the Hudson River. It is pretty cool that the site of the infamous Burr-Hamilton duel is not too far from their Piscataway campus.

I really don't mean to diss on Rutgers  throughout this, but clearly Delaney was making a New York grab when he added them to the Big Ten. Their academics are solid, but athletically you're talking about a program that has not done much of anything throughout its history. Unlike Nebraska and their legions of red following them around the country, no one is going to be chomping to see Rutgers come to town on fall Saturdays. Unless their program makes drastic improvement across the board the addition of Rutgers was a grab for New York.

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