Matthew Torino


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NEWS

College killed televised sports

Every fall, once the Rutgers football season begins, there is always so much buzz in the air surrounding campus. Free football T-shirt lines number into the hundreds, red is seen everywhere on campus and anyone who is anyone is in Rutgers Stadium on Saturday afternoons. Things do not always turn out well at these games, and some members of the crowd just come for the festive atmosphere and the tailgates prior to the game, but the fact is enough people have taken time out of their schedules to make the weekly pilgrimage to the stadium on Saturday.' But what about the rest of the week? One doesn't really hear much about sports in college unless you go and look for it. Besides watching SportsCenter or regional shows like Inside Rutgers Football on SNY and Hockey Night Live on MSG, local teams really don't see that much coverage here. Who at college reads any kind of newspaper like The Star-Ledger? I have not met anyone who does. The local beats go almost unknown to college students as newspapers continue their descent in the American psyche. Sites like ESPN Boston are providing local coverage on the Internet, but most of the coverage on there is from a national standpoint, provided by people who don't watch every game. But even watching the games can become a chore. When I first came to college, I watched six straight hours of football every Sunday, every Devils game I could and roughly 95 percent of Yankee games. I was never bored by any of these games and it was always fun for me. But for whatever reason, be it classes, work or just better ways to pass the time, my television sports spectatorship has probably been cut in half. During the summer, however, when I am bored out of my mind, I will still watch all the Yankee games and during winter break I return to my previous habits of watching hockey and bemoaning the fact that I have to watch the Jets, contractually obligated to be on CBS every week. Even though I have a rooted interest against the Jets - because of an irrational hatred of their fans - I was going back and forth between the game and my computer in the other room. Did I have anything worth doing on that computer? Absolutely not: maybe the slow pace of the game did me in, but for whatever reason I could not get into it, even though none of my roommates were here yet and I had nothing better to do.' Maybe it's not the sports, though, that Jets game notwithstanding. Freshman year, every room had some kind of TV and everyone was so excited and looking over the RUTV list to see what channels we had. But slowly and surely, use of the TVs waned. Our neighbor's TV broke early in the year and it did not faze them. We only used our HDTV to play Xbox 360. We literally did not watch anything on it until we got a TiVo in January, but that short infatuation lasted about a week.' And the most interesting part is that next year, when my friends and I are living in an off-campus apartment, we have elected to not even get cable. If you had told me in high school that I would voluntarily turn down cable at any cost, I would have wondered if I had a lobotomy. But it has happened. The only channels we watch are Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, so we do not even need cable. I can just go to ESPN.com to watch whatever they're putting on, so it is not even a big deal. Maybe college just isn't made for sports fans or just television fans in general, with the ability to download anything at the drop of a hat. But at the same time, it just doesn't feel right to me that I have lost my proverbial fastball when it comes to the obscurities of professional sports. Ironically, the only one I have left is Rutgers football, the one I care least about. Maybe I have just fallen prey to why college kills TV. Sports certainly have not gotten boring to me, but I just can't figure out why college does this to TV - but it does. ' '

NEWS

University sports year in review

This year was supposed to be the next step for Rutgers football. The veteran offensive line was returning completely, with legit NFL stud prospect Anthony Davis as the anchor. They had a senior quarterback returning — albeit without any career starts — but at least he could provide some leadership. The two-headed running back monster of Joe Martinek and Jourdan Brooks returned, as was Kordell Young. The defense had all its key cogs returning, aside from Pete Tverdov and Courtney Greene. In the words of Eric Foster, it was supposed to be "R Year." This season's freshmen class was regarded as the best in school history, anchored by linebacker Antwan Lowery, running back DeAntwan Williams and quarterback Tom Savage. It was all looking up. This was supposed to be even better than 2006. The Scarlet Knights were the favorites in the watered-down Big East, even picked by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett and Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel. Then Cincinnati came to town.

NEWS

RU ready for a miracle

Ever since Fred Hill Jr. took over the basketball program for Gary Waters four years ago, big things have constantly been expected. Quincy Douby was the only real marquee player under Waters, while his supporting cast was mediocre at best and could not go anywhere in the best basketball conference in America, the Big East. Hill brought in highly-regarded recruits such as Hamady N'Diaye, Corey Chandler, Dane Miller and Rutgers' only McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario. But things haven't exactly worked out as planned.

NEWS

RU ready for a miracle

Ever since Fred Hill Jr. took over the basketball program for Gary Waters four years ago, big things have constantly been expected. Quincy Douby was the only real marquee player under Waters, while his supporting cast was mediocre at best and could not go anywhere in the best basketball conference in America, the Big East. Hill brought in highly-regarded recruits such as Hamady N'Diaye, Corey Chandler, Dane Miller and Rutgers' only McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario. But things haven't exactly worked out as planned.

NEWS

America's forgotten league

There was a small dent in the American sports psyche this week that anybody mentioned. The World Series has obviously taken over these parts, with debates about Johnny Damon's dash and Chase Utley's tub of hair grease circulating all over campus. The NFL takes over the weekends, with stories like the Giants' demise and the Jets' annual futility. But there was something else. Something few — including myself — had no idea was starting until it was randomly on ESPN one night. Yes, believe it or not, the NBA apparently started this week.

NEWS

New Jersey Civil War

If the New York Giants and Jets played in the Super Bowl — which seemed like a possibility before quarterback Mark Sanchez pulled a JaMarcus Russell for the Jets — people throughout North Jersey and New York would care, but hardly anyone would be thinking about that in the South. They would just be wondering how Donovan McNabb choked again. If the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers played, few would really even look at them. Basketball is just not big enough in this part of the country and it does not matter, since the chances of the Knicks going to the Finals any time soon are about as big as the University winning the national title in football this year. If the Flyers and Rangers met — oh, that's right, nobody cares about hockey. But the one matchup that would capture the imagination of all of the state and the University is on the verge of happening.

NEWS

Coaching calls cause for concern

Rutgers disposed of the University of Maryland last weekend to the tune of a 34-13 victory, and it only looks to get easier as the homecoming celebration will be bolstered by the likely drubbing of Texas Southern next on the agenda. Joe Martinek went "Hulkamania" and ran wild on the Terrapins' defense while their quarterback Chris Turner put up one awful performance. Despite the ample yardage the turnovers just would not stop. On paper it looks like all is finally turning out well in the land of the Scarlet Knights.

NEWS

Baseball: America's old pastime

Fifty-one years ago was the start of a slow downward spiral that would change the national identity of America itself. No, it was not the oncoming Vietnam situation or the future rise of former President John F. Kennedy. It was "The Greatest Game Ever Played": Giants vs. Colts for the 1958 NFL Championship. Before there were Super Bowls, Alan Ameche practically collapsed into the endzone during the first sudden death playoff game in National Football League history. Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry and Frank Gifford were all on the same field. An NBC employee ran onto the field to create a distraction when the national TV feed went dead, allowing audiences enough time to see Ameche's game winning score.

NEWS

Schiano should cash in while he can

Greg Schiano has coached Rutgers football since Dec. 1, 2000. He took on a program that was driven into the ground by Terry Shea. One of the laughingstocks of the country, the University did not seem like it would ever reach its potential — despite the fact that it lay in one of the most fertile recruiting zones in the country and has even produced number one recruits Chris Simms and Greg Olsen. Even with a huge state university in their backyard, they committed to Texas and Notre Dame (before transferring to Miami). While Schiano has not been able to keep all the top recruits in state such as Will Hill (Florida), Brian Cushing (Southern California) and Brian Toal (Boston College), keeping players like Anthony Davis and Kenny Britt was a great accomplishment. But Schiano has to know that he cannot build a figurative fence around New Jersey, and he is being pushed out of Florida by Urban Meyer and Randy Shannon.

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