In 2012 the Big Ten decided to add Maryland and Rutgers, swelling its ranks to 14 in the process. The idea behind the additions was to help increase the league’s television footprint — and distribution of the B1G Network — in New York, given that the Big Apple is clearly a Scarlet Knights kind of town. Rutgers football talk on the Subway has long been known to drown out other noise, like someone trying to listen to a French Montana mixtape on a boombox.
But, lo and behold, two years later one of the teams the B1G overlooked — UConn — is on the back page of both New York tabloids after winning the school’s fourth NCAA basketball title in the last 15 years. Huskies fans also helped drive ticket prices for the East Regional at Madison Square Garden through the roof two weeks ago. In the game of conference realignment these sort of things don’t matter, apparently. Nor does UConn’s 1-0 advantage over Rutgers in BCS Bowl Game appearances.
As far as college athletics go, the Big Apple is absolutely gaga for the fighting Scarlet Knights of Piscataway who ended their men’s basketball season with a rousing 92-31 loss to Louisville in the American Athletic Conference tournament in Memphis.
A cursory(*) search of the New York Post cover archives (**) indicates that the Mike Rice scandal from April 2013 was the last time Rutgers turned up. Fortunately for Rutgers, the accusations made against current AD Julie Hermann — or her hopes that it would be “great” if the Star-Ledger dies — didn’t get the backpage tabloid treatment.
But yes, Delaney & Co. clearly tabbed the right Northeast state institution of higher learning to capture the hearts and minds of Gotham with Rutgers. No doubt about it.
(*) Full disclosure: I’m a UConn alum basking in the Huskies title run and learning life in the American might not be so bad after all. Plus, admittedly, its fun to troll Rutgers and the B1G.
(**) Jay Z + Cano didn’t exactly turn out to be a great sign for the Yankees, did it?
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