New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Iowa State Cyclones
December 30, 3:20 p.m. EST
Yankee Stadium (Bronx, New York)
Line: Rutgers -1.0
The Big East and Big 12 will clash on the diamond known more for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez as Rutgers and Iowa State meet in the second annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Yankee Stadium will welcome Rutgers back for the second time this season as the Scarlet Knights look to pick up their ninth win of the season, and second in Yankee Stadium after beating Army earlier this season.
On the other side we have the Iowa State Cyclones, who enter the postseason with a 6-6 record highlighted by a home upset win against Oklahoma State in overtime. Will they be able to finish off their season with a win to clinch their second winning season since 2005? Or will the Cyclones fall short against a Rutgers team feeling as though they are playing at home?
Making This All Possible:
New Era Cap Company is your title sponsor for the Pinstripe Bowl, being played for the second time. The Buffalo hat manufacturer has been around since 1920 and continues to be the standard in baseball hats. New Era is the exclusive manufacturer and marketer of the on-field cap worn in Major League Baseball and their Minor League Baseball affiliates and more. Starting in 2012 they will also be the official on-field cap manufacturer of the National Football League. Look for the debut of their NFL hats at the NFL Draft.
The game is also sponsored by the New York Yankees, hosting the bowl game in their Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are the first MLB team to receive NCAA certification to host a college football bowl game, even though they are not the first or only MLB stadium to host a bowl game (Beef O'Brady's Bowl in Tampa Bay Rays stadium and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco Giants' stadium).
Getting to Know: Rutgers
Rutgers found themselves in position for a share of the wide-open Big East all season long but failed to clinch a share of the title this season. Still, the Scarlet Knights had asolid turnaround season after an injury-riddled 2010. Greg Schiano's quarterback duo of Gary Nova and Chas Dodd gave him much more consistency this season but his best player is a defensive star, with Khaseem Greene being named co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year with 127 tackles.
Rutgers did not play a schedule as difficult as Iowa State and lost games to North Carolina (ACC), Louisville, West Virginia and Connecticut. Wins against Cincinnati, Syracuse, Army and Navy though were solid tests for a team looking to find their place in the conference. Other than the Connecticut game, the losses Rutgers suffered were close calls, with a combined four points separating the Rutgers from the Tar Heels and Cardinals, and they had West Virginia on the ropes for a while in a 41-31 setback.
Getting to Know: Iowa State
Iowa State opened the season with a three-game wining streak including wins against the Big Ten's Iowa and defending Big East champions (and BCS representatives) Connecticut. Once the Big 12 started though Iowa State tended to fizzle more than sizzle. Double-digit losses to Texas, Baylor, Missouri and Texas A&M quickly dug a hole for the Cyclones but a three-game winning streak popped out of nowhere as the Cyclones foudn a way to play some defense. Wins against Texas Tech and Kansas gave Paul Rhodes' team a bit of momentum heading in to the big home game against No. 2 Oklahoma State. We know how that game ended of course, but the Cyclones saw the peak of their season on that Friday night. Iowa State dropped their final two games against Oklahoma and Kansas State and head to the Bronx looking to get back in the win column.
You Should Know:
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano is 4-1 in bowl games and has won four straight (no bowl game in 2010). Iowa State has three bowl wins in program history. Paul Rhodes is 1-0, winning the 2009 Insight Bowl.
If You're Going:
Know your subways. New York has plenty of them and subway is the recommended mode of transportation to the stadium if you can do it. Parking is costly around Yankee Stadium and traffic can be a nightmare no matter the time of day anywhere in and around New York City. Click here for travel information for Yankee Stadium.
Looking for a pre-game or post-game meal? In New York that should not be a problem. One nearby recommendation is Yankee Tavern, where you can get a pastrami sandwich the way New Yorkers are known to make them. Basic pub food makes for a great post-game meal in my opinion. Pretty cheap drinks as well as Yankee nostalgia makes for a good stop for any general sports fan.
If You're Watching At Home:
The game is sponsored by the New York Yankees. The game is played in Yankee Stadium. You might as well keep with the theme and quench your thirst with a bottle or pint of Cottrell Old Yankee Ale. A pale ale brewed in Connecticut, there may be no more fitting way to watch the game on he couch or in the recliner.
Iowa State is much more battle-tested, I think that goes without saying, but Rutgers looks like a better all-around team. Iowa State has a clear advantage in the running game but Rutgers' defense will be more likely to give Iowa State problems in what could be a low scoring affair. Look for the scarlet Knights to play a better game, closer to home, to give the Big East a second-straight Pinstripe Bowl victory.
Rutgers 24, Iowa State 20
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Rutgers looked lost in its last game in Connecticut, and turned ball over six times. They've seemed to lack purpose all season. Cyclones on the other hand have collected two meaningful wins, at Iowa and vs. OSU. Rhoads will have them up for this game. Iowa State 27-24.