Posted on: February 8, 2010 8:14 pm

Phil Mushnick and Rutgers' Recruiting

Came across an interesting quip by Phil Mushnick of the New York Post today.  Phil apparently is upset with Rutgers University.  He doesn't like the fact that Rutgers offered nine scholarships to football recruits from Florida.  Now if Phil has anything against Florida,  I don't know.  But he certainly seems upset with Rutgers.  Well let's look at exactly what Phil said:

"Rutgers' recruiting a-tax the senses Your tax dollars at work: Only nine of the 25 recruits who last week signed to play football at Rutgers, a New Jersey state college, are from Jersey. The same number, nine, were recruited from Florida. . . ."
Read more:

Notice the ellipsis at the end of Phil's witty remark.  Usually this means we can expect more.  God I hope so, it's been a boring winter. 

So let's look at Phil's premise.  Offering football scholarships to out of state high school students should offend New Jersey taxpayers.  So Phil's thought is Rutgers should only recruit New Jersey football players?  Sounds like a good idea.  Of course Phil, you know there are certain academic requirements even for football players right?  Well at least at Rutgers there are.  So you do know Rutgers can't give a kid a football scholarship if he doesn't have the grades right?  Even if he is from New Jersey.

Ok how about NJ kids with good grades that are good football players.  Well let's look at the top 30 NJ football players for 2010 according to Rivals Recruiting.  Out of the top 30 players, Rutgers got 5 of them.  Not that RU wouldn't have liked more.  In fact Rutgers offered scholarships to nine more of these thirty players according to Rivals.  Problem is Phil, they chose to go somewhere else.  Schools like Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, West Virginia,  Maryland, Kansas, and Florida State love to recruit NJ kids.  So much so that's where some of these kids went.  Now Rutgers even went so far as to offer kids that weren't on the top 30 list.  RU got 4 more NJ recruits this way.  So while Rutgers gave NJ kids 9 scholarships it offered at least nine more of them.  So out of it's 24 scholarships (not 25 as you erroneously noted) at least 18 were offered to NJ kids.  Roughly 72%.  Is that ok for your tax dollars Phil? 

Now I don't want you to think it's some fluke that Rutgers offered that many scholarships to NJ kids this year.  So let's look at last year shall we?  Last year 10 out of Rutgers' 24 scholarships went to NJ athletes.  According to Rivals, Rutgers offered at least 12 more scholarships to NJ students who chose to enroll elsewhere.   That's almost 88% Phil.

In fact these percentages are much higher since I can only confirm through Rivals what scholarships Rutgers offered to the top 30 NJ players.  As you can see from 2010, Rutgers offers kids that aren't on the top 30 list as well.  I have no idea of how many of those kids decided to go to another school.  So as you can see, Rutgers usually uses or at least offers the overwhelming majority of its scholarships to New Jersey kids.

Now Phil, if you can somehow use your legendary powers of persuasion to convince Notre Dame, Penn State and the rest to return those 9 NJ players that went elsewhere, I'm sure Greg Schiano would be eternally grateful. And Phil, do us all a favor and stick to insulting Mike Francesa.  Because you're not funny at all when you don't know what you're talking about.

Posted on: September 4, 2009 11:25 am
Edited on: September 4, 2009 11:48 am

Bob Davie - BCS Apologist

I wanted Oregon to win.  Big.  Usually I have a soft spot for non-BCS teams.  But lately with the Mountain West thinking they can take the place of my Big East, I've gotten a little testy.  So I wanted Boise State put down.  End this BCS buster nonsense now so we don't have to hear about it all season.

Well Boise State, as usual, didn't cooperate.  They beat Oregon like a drum.  Oregon's defense looked like a sixth grade homeroom trying to find their seats on the first day of school. The Broncos beat them passing, running, scoring two point conversions, on defense, and in every way imaginable.

Uh apparently not according to Bob Davie.  You see even though Boise dominated Oregon, this isn't enough.  Because according to Bob Davie, Boise couldn't compete if they were in a BCS conference.  His thinking is the Broncs can get psyched up and beat a BCS team once or twice a year, like they've been doing regularly, but they wouldn't survive in a BCS conference.  So sorry Bronco fans even though your team routinely makes BCS schools look silly, you're not worthy according to Davie to be in a BCS conference.

Why?  Bob pulled out empirical evidence for this one.  He showed that Oregon has had more players drafted into the NFL than Boise.  You see even if you win on the field,  it really doesn't count unless 1. You're in a BCS conference, and 2. You do it with NFL caliber players.  How does Boise State do it according to Davie?  Coaching. (snicker).  Because having a well prepared team, with innovative plays that outsmart rather than overpower the opposing team is, well, not manly I guess.  (Never mind that Boise St. gashed Oregon on the ground for a good part of the night.)

Davie actually came out and said it.  Boise State has been a "gimmick" team.  Apparently gimmick teams win by guile and strategy rather than pure athletic talent.  I mean the Statue of Liberty play?  Come on, you shouldn't be allowed to use gimmick plays like that against  football powerhouses like Oklahoma.  Well unless you're a BCS team.  What more manly BCS team was there than the ground pounding Nebraska teams of the Tom Osborne era?  Remember the fumblerooski?  So gimmicky the NCAA eventually outlawed it.  But that doesn't tarnish Nebraska's history.  How about Texas Tech?  Graham Harrell throws for 5,111 yards in a season.  Was he drafted by an NFL team?  Nope he's in the CFL.  So Texas Tech is a gimmick team right?  Nope.  Texas Tech is a BCS team.  Therefore they can't be "gimmicky."

There is only one reason Boise State can't compete in a BCS conference.  That's because no BCS conference will let them in.  There is simply no room for a Boise State with the Iowa States, Syracuses, Dukes, Indianas, Washingtons, and Mississippi States of the BCS conferences.  And that is a damn shame.

Oh and Bob?  Notre Dame can't compete in a BCS conference either.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 6, 2009 11:06 am
Edited on: June 7, 2009 12:11 am

Check For Flying Pigs and the Temperature in Hell

Bob Mulcahy and the Star Ledger.  Write down on paper  your first thought when you read this next sentence.  Star Ledger writer Mark DiIonno (yes, the same guy who gave Rutgers the black eye over the Navy game) will write a lengthy article praising Bob Mulcahy, extolling his virtues and favorably reviewing his career.  My thoughts ran to flying pigs and hell freezing over.

Well it's happened.  Mulcahy was honored by a council of the Boy Scouts of America with their award for "Distinguished Citizen of 2009" at the Baltusrol County Club.  In attendance?  Former Governors Tom Kean, Brendan Byrne, Senator Dick Codey, Greg Schiano, Vivian Stringer and many more.  Was this banquet surprising?  Not if you knew Bob Mulcahy and what he's done for New Jersey, the Meadowlands, and Rutgers University. 

Former Gov. Tom Kean called him one of the most "decent, honest, ethical people I have ever met in my life."

Sen. Dick Codey called him, "the finest man I have met in public service."

Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano said three men had shaped his life. "First, my father, second, Joe Paterno, and third, Bob Mulcahy. (Please don't start with the Schiano to Penn State effluvium again.  He's not going.)

So what's shocking?  That someone at the Star Ledger recognizes this.  Yes, the paper that actually caused Mulcahy's downfall due to their baseless witch hunt, prodded along by a person whose surname begins with the last letter of the alphabet.  (No, not Zorro, he had personal honor and integrity).  Now the SL did manage to hook links to their shameless "investigative" reporting to the article.  Still, it was a decent article nonetheless and a fitting salute to Mulcahy.

So maybe closure is at hand as the article notes.  Maybe Bob is ready to move on.  If so, Godspeed Bob Mulcahy and thank you for all that you did for Rutgers.

And perhaps, the Star Ledger is ready to move on.  Their crack investigative reporters can't ride this non-story any  longer.  They must search for a new muckraking target.  May I suggest one?


Alright, alright Star Ledger lawyers, here's the link.

Posted on: May 6, 2009 7:44 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2009 7:47 pm


So I read with pride today that the Rutgers' football team has the third highest APR of a Division 1 football school.  First was Stanford(984), who just nosed out Air Force (983), with Rutgers claiming the bronze at 980 (tied with Duke).  Rice finished out of the medals with 979.  In doing so the Scarlet Knights completed an interesting daily double.  For the past two years, it is the only school to have won a bowl game while finishing in the top 5 in APR.  So congrats, to the players for hitting the books, to Coach Schiano, his staff and the teachers who made this possible.

This reminded me of something I saw after the Bowl in Birmingham this December.  My son and I were at the team's hotel waiting to give the players a rousing welcome.  The players filed off their bus in small groups and were greeted by applause from the assembled faithful.  No surprise there.  But as these players came through the lobby, almost all of them saw a woman standing in the corner of the room joining in the cheers.  To a man, each of the players went over and gave this woman a big hug and said "Thank you."  As I was standing nearby, I was trying to figure out who this woman was.  Before the players arrived, Rutgers' AD Bob Mulcahy had done the same thing, giving her a big hug.

Using my sleuthing skills I immediately surmised that this must be Mrs. Mulcahy.  So I thought I would introduce myself as a Rutgers fan, give her my thanks for all that Bob had done for our program and express my support.  I walked over,  introduced myself and asked if she was Mrs. Mulcahy.  She laughed and said that she wasn't.  She then asked me why I had come to this conclusion.  I explained to her my superior sleuthing skills (which had just thoroughly embarrassed me) and that my conclusion was based upon all the affection shown to her by Mr. Mulcahy and all of the players.

She chuckled good-naturedly and said, "No, I'm just one of their teachers."

Almost all of the players on the football team took time during one of the biggest moments of their young lives to express their thanks to one of their teachers.  Kinda says something about this teacher.  And these players.  And this program.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 22, 2009 10:02 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2009 10:10 pm


 Well I'm motivated to write this because I finally got off the football season ticket waiting list.  I am now a paid up member of the Rutgers 56,000.  (Take that Prof. Dowling).  Came across an interview of Greg Schiano with the Sporting News today.  You gotta love this guy.  Outdoing Broadway Joe Namath, Schiano predicted not one, but multiple national championships for Rutgers.  (Now Joe's prediction actually came with a date so it may be a tie.)

This is not new.  When Schiano took over in 2000, he said his goal was to win a national championship at Rutgers.  People laughed.  They stopped in 2006 when Rutgers shocked the world and was ranked as high as #6 after a thrilling come from behind victory over Louisville.  Apparently Greg misses the sound of laughter because he's upped this to multiple NC's.  Here's the quote:

SN: Do you still feel you can win a national championship at Rutgers?

GS: Absolutely. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here. Not only can we, but we will. Multiple times. And I think to do something like that, in an area so close to New York City that hasn't had a lot of experience with big-time college football championships, will be a really special thing.

So yes there are now people probably laughing somewhere, just like in 2000.  But I wouldn't bet against the guy.  Rutgers Stadium expansion to 56,000 (or is it 54,000 I can't figure it out) is on time and on budget.  A potential death blow to the football program in the form of the sacking of AD Robert Mulcahy resulted in the hiring of, if possible, an even stronger proponent of RU football, Tim Pernetti.   And Rutgers is putting better and better players on the field every year.  Which brings me to motivation.

If you watch Schiano's press conferences, you might not think he's much of a motivator.  He's not a fountain of press quotes like Lane Kiffin or Steve Spurrier.  His comments are always careful and non-confrontational.  But every once in a while you get a glimpse of the man underneath.  Like an ESPN clip of Schiano giving his 2006 team a "chopping wood" speech in the locker room.  Or his terse pre-halftime interview with ESPN's Erin Andrews when RU was up 49-0 during the 2008 Louisville game.  Andrews asked if Schiano would be keeping his foot on the gas because Louisville came from behind to win 2007.  "Exactly," responded Schiano who then ran off to the locker room.  Only from these rare glimpses can you see the fire and the drive of the man.  So if he believes he can win multiple national championships at Rutgers, despite all the hurdles put in his path by the local press, uninformed politicians, and backstabbing Board of Governor's members, I tend to believe him.

As far as the players he coaches, he keeps getting better talent every year.  If he can motivate these three and four star athletes like he did with one and two star recruits, look out.  I can see the faces of his players saying this quote attributed to a Confederate Civil War veteran.  When asked about Robert E. Lee, the veteran responded, "I'd charge Hell itself for that man."  Somehow, I think Schiano's players may feel the same way. And that ladies and gentlemen is called motivation.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 8, 2009 12:59 am

A Scintillating Rebuttal

Well for those of you who have been waiting here's Phil Mushnick's rebuttal.  Rutgers' fan Karen sent a copy of this blog to the eloquent Mr. Mushnick.  Here's his response:

           Phil.Mushnick to me
show details 8:33 AM (14 hours ago) Reply

"Karen - why not remove the false pretense and admit the obvious? You're an RU football fan (so am I), but you're the kind one who doesn't care how they do it as long as they win. I took a shot at RU and that's your ONLY gripe with me. Rah, rah, rah! If I'd written similarly about other schools - which I have, and for 30-plus years - you'd have had no gripe. Rah. - mushnick"  

Like I said, scintillating.  One thing I've noticed about Phil's e-mail responses.  Every one has to mention how long he's been writing, if that's what you can call it.  And that may be the problem.  You see Phil, it's not the 70's anymore, when you could write whatever you wanted and never get called on it.  Welcome to the internet Phil.  See, we fans can actually talk back now, especially when you say things as stupid, uninformed, and untrue as you have.  So to copy your magnificent prose, "why not remove the false pretenses and admit the obvious?"  You got caught parrotting untrue allegations of the Star Ledger and you're not enough of a professional to admit it. 

And Phil,  Rutgers doesn't need fans like you.  Fans that believe anything that's written in the media without confirming it.  Fans that think Rutgers runs a "dirty" program.  Fans that will badmouth the football program merely to sell newspapers.  Good bye Phil.  So much for accuracy in the media.


Posted on: March 4, 2009 11:34 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2009 2:24 pm

Hypocrite Thy Name is Phil Mushnick

Taken out behind the woodshed today?  Phil Mushnick of the New York Post.  Our man Phil has been writing a column for the New York Post since the flood.  He supposedly prides himself on accuracy and often in his column takes sportscasters to task who are inaccurate .  Take for example Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.  A few years ago Joe was telling a story during a baseball broadcast about the Philadelphia Phillies late season collapse in 1964.  Joe, who never will be confused with Vin Scully or Bob Murphy, got a few things mixed up.  Morgan's mistake?  He said that 1964 was his rookie year and he had an RBI single which extended the Phils losing streak to nine.  Joe was wrong, as our buddy Phil gleefully pointed out.  Joe was a rookie in 1963.  Furthermore his then team, the Houston Astros didn't play the Phillies during their famous losing streak in 1964.  Phil took Joe to task for this inaccuracy.  Ok, fair enough, if you're putting yourself forward as an expert on baseball on a national broadcast you should have your facts right.  So Phil's crusade for accuracy in the media is a good thing.

But if you're going to promote yourself as a champion of media accuracy, you damn well better be accurate as well. Phil pulled his own Joe Morgan a few days ago.  In his March 1 column, Phil cherry-picked inaccurate stories from the good old Star Ledger and referenced "taxpayer funded, under-the-table deals on behalf of Rutgers football  and coach Greg Schiano."  Phil, here's a tip old buddy that someone who has 35 years experience in the media should know.  If you're going to accuse somebody of something, do your own research and make sure it's right.  "Taxpayer funded?"  Wrong, the deal was for part of Schiano's salary to be paid by a sports marketing company that sells Rutgers' advertising.   This is "private funding."  Says who?  Says the Star Ledger Phil. the newspaper you cited for "revealing this" in 2008.  When did the Star Ledger call it private funding?  In a December 6, 2006 article by Matthew Futterman of, you guessed it, the Star Ledger.  So if you'd bothered to check your facts Phil, you'd have found out that the Star Ledger in the summer of 2008 "revealed" an "under-the-table" agreement with Schiano that had been made public knowledge and commented on, favorably in fact, by the Star Ledger in 2006.  Phil then takes this great Star Ledger find and uses it to support his statement the Rutgers got "caught being dishonest or flat-out lying."

Phil then continued his regurgitation of Star Ledger fabrications by calling the new Rutgers AD, Tim Pernetti, a "Schiano shill," which is basically what the Star Ledger said in an editorial last week.  Phil has some experience in this area.  Because by parrotting the Star Ledger's factually untrue pablum, he's made himself into a shill for the Star Ledger. 

Now Phil has the reputation as a champion of accuracy in the media.  So a few Rutgers fans e-mailed him about his error.  Here is his response to one of them:

RB - some folks prefer to root for clean programs, others don't care - unless the team loses. McCormick brings in the head coach's head cheerleader to oversee and reform the situation? You support that? Fine. - mushnick (I don't let the Ledger do my thinking, not for the 35 years I've been covering sports. RU never refuted the paper's findings; it admitted to them. So why your problem with the truth? Because it;s good ol' RU?) 

Wow Phil, just wow!  Rather than dealing with the SL's inaccurate reporting upon which he relied, Phil just gets nastier and infers that Rutgers is a dirty program.  Why?  Because "RU never refuted the paper's findings."  Uh Phil, were you aware that then Rutgers AD, Bob Mulcahy wrote to the Star Ledger refuting this and they refused to print the letter?  Yeah, I thought not.  So I guess the theory is if a paper prints lies,  unless you can convince them to print your rebuttal, the lies become the truth?   Interesting take I must admit. 

Phil, if you are a true champion of an accurate media, do your own research on this issue.  I'd be happy to help you out with it for free if you'd like.  Until then I'd avoid the subject if I were you.  Because you don't know what you're talking about.



Posted on: March 3, 2009 7:02 pm

Still Angry About that 1891 Beatdown Huh?

An interesting article in the Buffalo News was referred to me by Matei of the State of Rutgers Board the other day.  The purpose of the article was to push the author's proposal for having all collegiate sports privatized and paying collegiate athletes.  Not exactly new territory.  But what caught my eye was some rather derogatory language about Rutgers and its football program.  Here it is:

Of interest to Buffalo area readers is a comparison of the University at Buffalo to Rutgers. Both schools have committed to upgrading athletics to big-time status, but there are vast differences in approaches. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, may well be the poster child for university problems with big-time athletics. The school committed to a top 20 football program for the 21st century. But in the rush to athletic glory, many irregularities and problems arose: a questionable stadium expansion may need new taxpayer funds to complete; there were “secret” compensation packages for the coach, which caused a furor when revealed; and to save money, six Olympic sports were eliminated. UB has taken a more cautious and orderly approach. Athletic administrators have committed to bringing high-quality athletics and academic contributors to campus. According to UB’s Stephen Marth, sports editor of the student newspaper, student interest is very high and the campus has been energized by recent athletic successes.

A comparison of UB to Rutgers and Syracuse is worthwhile: Average SAT of all students: UB, 1,199; Rutgers, 1,184; Syracuse, 1,185. Average SAT of scholarship players in football: UB, 996; Rutgers, 938; Syracuse, 922.

Now this puzzled me.  A Syracuse paper taking shots at Rutgers?  Sure.  SU fans don't like the fact that they are now the doormat in Big East football, not Rutgers.  But this was a Buffalo paper.  I like the job Buffalo has done with Turner Gill as coach.  And I didn't realize there was bad blood between Buffalo and Rutgers.

Well there's not.  The author, one Silvio Laccetti is a professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in good old Hoboken, NJ.  At once I recognized the standard elitist argument on disbanding collegiate sports.  Now you have to understand, a professor at Stevens has good reason not to like big time sports.  Stevens' unsuccessful foray into football lasted from 1872-1891 during which they posted a winning record in only 3 of 19 seasons.  Apparently their 12-10 loss to Rutgers that year was just too much, for they dropped football afterward.  But fear not, Stevens has club sports such as cricket, ultimate frisbee, yacht club and Equestrian (western). (Thank god, I hate the English brand of equestrian events).  So we should understand that Mr. Laccetti is not a Buffalo football fan.  Just another Ivy League wannabe professor who likes to trash collegiate sports.  (He and Dowling must play cricket together).

Let's look at the preeminent Professor's comments on Rutgers football. 1.  A questionable stadium expansion that may need additional taxpayer money to complete.  Uh, wrong professor, no taxpayer money is involved.  It's all financed by bonds which will be paid off by the stadium revenues.  (Remember Silvio is a professor of social science not finance, fortunately for any finance majors  at Stevens.)  2.  Secret compensation for the coach.  Yes so secret they were reported on and made public at the time the original contract was negotiated.  Strike two Silvio.  3.  Six olympic sports were eliminated to save money.  (Funny that this bothers the prof since Stevens doesn't have any NCAA sports).  Yes Silvio they were eliminated.  Something called NJ state budget cuts and Title IX.  Things you don't have to worry about at private Stevens.

Then the professor drops his big bomb.  The average SAT of football players at Buffalo is 58 points higher than the average SAT of Rutgers football players.  This is the basis for the professor's belief that Buffalo's approach to building a competitive football program is "more cautious and orderly" while Rutgers is "the poster child for university problems with big time athletics."

That's the best you've got Silvio?  Try this.   Those extra 58 SAT points apparently don't help much.  Because Buffalo graduates less than 50% of it's football players.  In fact their APR is so poor, as of May, 2008 they were penalized by the NCAA, being limited to 23 scholarships.  Buffalo's APR is 893 which places them in the 1st-10th percentile.  That's bottom 10% professor. (Apparently Silvio's not too good at statistics either.) 925 means 50% graduate so Buffalo's not close.  The average for state universities?  925.  What's Rutgers' APR?  977, 90th-100th percentile, top 10%.  Now there are schools who have better APR's than Rutgers.  Actually two.  Stanford and Navy.  Rutgers tied for third with Duke.  So professor maybe you should spend some more time in the library next time before you take potshots at Rutgers.  But facts really don't matter when you're trying to support a position that you've already decided is right do they?

The professor's closing statement?  We should privatize sports so universities can concentrate on keeping the United States competitive in the world.  Yep, if it wasn't for Rutgers football, GM would be outselling Toyota.  Damn you Greg Schiano!  Your evil empire is now threatening not only Rutgers, not only the State of New Jersey but the entire country!

Keep it up.


Category: NCAAF
Tags: Buffalo, Rutgers
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