- Last Updated: 7:35 PM, November 21, 2012
- Posted: 12:17 AM, November 21, 2012
The popping sounds you heard yesterday afternoon at 2 was champagne bottles being opened in Piscataway. The roar was from Olde Queens Tavern in New Brunswick. The honking of car horns on Route 18 even made geese stop and take notice.
Rutgers officially became a member of the Big Ten yesterday, a move that ensures the Scarlet Knights a safe harbor in the tumultuous sea known as conference realignment.
The Big Ten is the league every other conference strives to emulate.
The SEC might be more football crazy. The ACC might be more basketball crazy. The Pac-12 might have a more breathtaking collection of campuses — from Washington in the Pacific Northwest to Arizona in Tucson. The Big 12 might have some great traditions.
But no league has a more homogeneous membership than the Big Ten. No league balances athletics and academics better. No league is better placed in large media, political and economic markets.
Tim Pernetti, the Rutgers athletic director and a former Scarlet Knight, should take a bow. He has secured his alma mater’s future. If the Scarlet Knights ever make it to the Rose Bowl, he should get a bouquet.
Rutgers president Dr. Robert Barchi’s legacy is secure. One day he oversees the acquisition of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the next he aligns Rutgers with like-minded, land-granted universities such as Michigan.
We declare Nov. 20, 2012 a New Jersey state holiday — no toll when leaving the state — and hope anyone that bleeds Scarlet and White enjoyed their early Thanksgiving.
Now back to reality.
As good a move as this is financially, as much as it will do more for the Rutgers brand than a Big East Conference title ever could, the Scarlet Knights now sit at the high-roller’s table. Other schools that have made this move can attest to the possible pitfalls.
Boston College joined the ACC and has become irrelevant and barely competitive in football and men’s basketball. The Eagles are 2-9 overall in football and 1-6 in league play.
Missouri, which long cherished its fine academic reputation, now finds itself in the same classroom as Auburn and Arkansas, not exactly the Harvards of the South. Oh yes, the Tigers are 5-6 and 2-5 in the SEC.
Utah and Colorado, the newest members of the Pac-12, are a combined 5-17 overall and 3-13 in league play. West Virginia, one of the Big 12’s new members, is 5-5 and 2-5 and its defense has entered rehab.
Those of you who can’t name which teams are in the Leaders and Legends Divisions of the Big Ten can name Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State — football powers the Scarlet Knights will knock heads with on a regular basis.
Rutgers has a nice stadium on the banks of the old Raritan. But you can fit two 52,454-seat High Point Solution Stadiums inside Michigan Stadium, which seats 107,501.
The Scarlet Knights can win their first Big East football title this season. The Buckeyes have won 36 Big Ten titles.
Nebraska has sold out every home game since 1962.
Can Rutgers compete or will it become the Boston College of the Big Ten?
There is reason to believe the Scarlet Knights can be competitive in football. There is a solid talent base in New Jersey from which Rutgers finally has been able to retain many of the top prep players. NFL rosters now are dotted with Rutgers players.
But make no mistake, Rutgers now must keep up with the Big Ten’s Jones.
The stadium needs to be expanded sooner rather than later. The RAC, which we believe can be a great homecourt advantage, is so dark monks think it a cathedral.
Roads need to be widened. Traffic flow on game days needs to be studied. The price of a youth Rutgers jersey is about to cost you a Benjamin.
Drink that bubbly while it’s cold.Follow @NYPostsports