Friday, December 5, 2008

RU Football, Very Good; EB Football, Not So Much

When does a loss to your biggest rival stop hurting? When I get over East Brunswick High School's 1986 football loss to Madison Central, the school now known as Old Bridge High, I'll let you know. (And we didn't even play them on Thanksgiving back then.) Anyway, as to the latest, it's taken me eight days to "get over it" enough to post about it.

EB lost the Thanksgiving game, 24-21. We took a 21-17 lead in the 4th quarter, but poor pass coverage let Old Bridge get close enough to score a winning touchdown. The difference was two field goal attempts, one in the 2nd quarter and one on the final play, that went wide in the wind. We can't blame the kicker, especially for the last one: From the 13-yard line, in that wind, we should have gone for the winning touchdown instead of the tying tie.

The Bears' final record is 4-6, including 5 leads blown in the second half, 3 of them in the 4th quarter, 2 of them within the last 4 minutes. And this is the 16th time in the last 18 years we've lost to the team that puts the "OB" in "slob." It's 13 out of 15 since we started playing them on Thanksgiving in 1994; overall, going back to 1963, their first season of football (they were known as Madison Township until 1975, when the town's name was changed to Old Bridge, then they were Madison Central until merging with crosstown Cedar Ridge in 1994), and our third, the once-Blue, now Purple Bastards lead 27-19-2. (I'm not counting our record against Cedar Ridge, which was pathetic for nearly all of its football history from 1969 to 1993; if I counted all games against teams from Madison/Old Bridge Township, EB would lead 35-30-2.)

It's too bad, because I really, really, really wanted to do to them what English "football" fans sometimes do, which is take the Monkees' tune "Daydream Believer" and adapt it for their arch-rivals, in my case the school that plays its games at the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and County Route 516:

Cheer up, 516!
Oh, what can it mean
to a... Sad Purple Bastard
with a... shit football team!

Alas, despite their final record of 3-7, they were not shit on Thanksgiving, and they've got a lot of guys coming back. But then, so do we, and next year, it's at Jay Doyle Field, a.k.a. "Bear Mountain." The Big Green will be ready for the Purple Bastards.

We'd better be...


In 2004, Rutgers beat the University of Louisville at home. In 2005, Rutgers went out to Louisville, then highly-ranked, and ran out onto the field and jumped on their midfield logo. Big mistake: Louisville won, 56-5. In 2006, Louisville came into Rutgers Stadium with both teams undefeated on November 9, and pulled off a 28-25 nationally-televised win that still ranks as the program's signature win, and ruined Louisville's Big East and National Championship hopes, and in some ways their program hasn't recovered. (Rutgers fell apart shortly thereafter, but has stayed good.) In 2007, on the road, Rutgers lost on a last-minute Louisville field goal.

These two teams, conference opponents but separated by 750 miles, just don't like each other.

They played last night in the regular-season finale for both teams. Rutgers came out like a house afire, and torched Louisville for seven touchdowns, while the RU defense totally smothered the Cardinals. The Scarlet Knights led at halftime, 49-0, and cruised to a 63-14 victory. With ex-Louisville coach Bobby Petrino now making a mess of things at the University of Arkansas, I don't expect Louisville to get much in the way of revenge next season.

After a 1-5 start, Rutgers is now 7-5, and will definitely go to a bowl game, probably the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Oh, the prestigue.) Four straight years of bowl games after over 100 years of the bowls being in existence and only one visit to any by Rutgers -- and that one we made up ourselves just so we could go and we lost it and didn't revive it because only 25,000 people showed up at the frigid Meadowlands.

Coach Greg Schiano was a happy man last night. So was quarterback Mike Teel, who broke a Rutgers record and tied a Big East record with 7 touchdown passes.

Good way to end a rollercoaster of a regular season. RU finishes 5-2 in the Big East, which will be no worse than 2nd behind Cincinnati, their highest finish ever. If Pittsburgh or West Virginia wins on Saturday, that team (or both) will be 5-2 and be tied with Rutgers. If they both lose (not likely), RU will be 2nd all but itself.

You know who I feel sorry for? The cheerleaders who had to do all those push-ups every time RU scored last night.

The Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime in Philly last night. And they blew up their house, too. (Sorry, they didn't really blow up the Wachovia Center. I just drifted over into a Bruce Springsteen song.) Tomorrow night, they go up to Montreal to play the Canadiens, who beat the Rangers last night. Did I ever mention I hate the Rangers?

I still haven't heard anything new about the Yankees trying to sign CC Sabathia.

So the Mets are going to keep the name Citi Field for their new ballpark, despite CitiGroup's troubles. They're finally building what looks like a decent ballpark, and they screw that up, too. But then, what did you expect: They're the Mets! You know what M-E-T-S stands for, right?



Days until the Devils play another nearby rival: 7, next Friday night, at home against the Rangers (who suck).

Days until Rutgers plays again: 22, on December 27, presuming they actually are headed for the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, against a team yet to be determined but definitely from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Days until the end of the Bush Administration and the Obama Inauguration: 46.

Days until the dismantling of the original Yankee Stadium begins: 100.

Days until the new baseball season begins: 124.

Days until the new Yankee Stadium opens: 132.

Days until East Brunswick plays football again: 280.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 356. You can tell a rivalry is nasty when the team that loses starts counting down the days until the next clash with 365. I must be getting mature in my middle age: I didn't start a new count in my head until 364.

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