Thursday, September 07, 2006

Illinois to Play Rutgers at International Soccer Field Saturday

Skinny Sweetcheeks and I will be taking our four-month-old daughter, Half Pint, to New Jersey this weekend to watch Illinois play Rutgers.

Did you know Rutgers likes to refer to itself as "The State University of New Jersey?" I didn't even know it was in New Jersey until I looked it up. I guess that's what happens when you have Princeton in your state.

Anyway, check out pictures of Rutgers Stadium here and here. Those seats are about a mile away from the field! Here is the reasoning from Rutgers' athletic site:

Perhaps not readily noticed is that the field, itself, has been moved. The field, in order to make the playing surface large enough for national and international soccer matches, add seating and get fans closer to the action, was shifted 25 feet to the west.

Looks like us Midwesterners are gonna get a taste of an East Coast all-purpose stadium.

It cracked me up more as I read further about the stadium:

Former Rutgers head football coach Doug Graber was "awestruck" and declared "the sky is the limit for this program." Later, as the project proceeded, Graber would remain awestruck. Standing in the last row in the upper deck of the nearly completed stadium, Graber told a group of touring writers, "It's unbelievable. The view from up here is something else. You can see all the way out west to the Watchung Hills and to the Verazzano Bridge the other way. It's breathtaking."

Who cares that you're sitting a mile away from the field as long as you can sit in the top row of the stadium and see the NY city skyline! Woo hoo!

In all seriousness, it should be a good game Saturday and definately one that will be tough for Illinois to win, as Rutgers will want revenge for last year's Illinois win in Champaign.

Things seem to be looking up for the football program, however. Zook's recruiting has been outstanding. Give it a couple years and I think we'll be back to seven wins a season and ready to challenge Michigan again. Of course, the big question by that time will be if Lloyd Carr will still be coaching Michigan.

Finally, feel free to sound off about the new NCAA clock rules. Has the NCAA done anything that fans like recently?

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