An Open Letter To Nittany Nation: Embrace Your Hatred For Rutgers

posted September 18, 2015 in CommRadio, Sports by Jeff Capanelli

Dear Penn State students, alumni, and fans,

Rivalries are a big part of what makes college football so special. The tradition and passion of these games transcends the football field and can last 365 days of the year. Yet ever since joining the Big Ten in 1994, Penn State has been #Unrivaled for all the wrong reasons.

Certain schools can come close to claiming the title of Penn State’s rival, but none truly fit the bill.

Being a third wheel is never a good look, but that’s how Penn State comes off claiming to be rivals with Ohio State or Michigan. The two storied programs are so caught up with hating each other that they have no time to get worked up about the Nittany Lions. Selfish, I know.

Upon their arrival, the B1G tried to force a rivalry between Penn State and Michigan State. The conference went so far as to create the Land Grant trophy, possibly the ugliest trophy in all of sports. However, there’s no real bad blood between the Lions and the Spartans, and the trophy is so ugly that both teams have low-key motivation to lose.

Finally, we have the Pittsburgh Panthers. Pitt has everything a true rivalry needs: geography, history and animosity galore. But the two Pennsylvania schools simply don’t play enough, due to being in different conferences. The series is set to renew in 2016, but there are currently no plans to continue the rivalry after 2019.

Is Penn State destined to remain without a rival? Who should Nittany Nation direct their hatred towards? I say no. Look no further than everyone’s least favorite Big Ten newcomer: the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

The state university of New Jersey joined the Big Ten in 2014, a move met with mixed reactions. Many around the country questioned why such a storied conference would add a middling Big East team to the mix. But the Scarlet Knight fans were thrilled.

Not only did they get an upgrade in conference revenue and competition, but the possibility of a regional rivalry with Penn State seemed like a dream. There was only one problem: Most Penn State fans are reluctant to embrace Rutgers as a rival.

Penn Staters, it’s time to change your mindset. Rutgers is an OBVIOUS rival, and I will explain why.

Many cite the superiority of the Penn State football program as the main reason. This is certainly valid. Penn State is one of the Top 10 winningest programs in all of college football. Their history and tradition dwarfs that of Rutgers.

But I think it’s time those people took a reality check and looked at recent history. Penn State just lost to Temple for the first time since 1941. Penn State went 7-6 last season. Over the past five seasons, Rutgers has gone 36-28, while PSU is 38-25.

Other rivalry-deniers might argue that the series, currently at 23-2, is already just too lopsided. But there are PLENTY of lopsided rivalries in college football that are still intense. Think Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State (84-18-7), Texas vs. Texas A&M (76-37-5) and Michigan vs. Michigan State (68-34-5).

Finally, even if Penn State DOES dominate Rutgers, what’s wrong with that? What’s more fun than beating up on a rival team you hate every year? Am I missing something?

Since their first day as members of the Big Ten, Rutgers students and fans have done nothing but lose games and spew hate at Penn State. Well Nittany Lions fans, I think it’s time to return the favor.

It’s time to hate on Rutgers.

For the Glory.


Jeff Capanelli is a junior, broadcast journalism major. He can be contacted at

About the Contributors

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Jeffrey Capanelli

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Jeff Capanelli is a senior from Fair Haven, New Jersey, majoring in broadcast journalism. He will be contributing to the Centre County Report and ComRadio during the 2016 fall semester.

After being a talk show co-host for two years, Jeff now produces and hosts his very own talk show on ComRadio: The Jeff Capanelli Hour. He also contributes to ComRadio’s sports department with written columns, podcasts, live production and play-by-play of various Penn State sports.

Jeff spent the spring of 2016 in Los Angeles, California as a member of the inaugural Penn State Hollywood program. He worked as a video production & strategy intern for Disney Interactive Media, focusing specifically on emerging content.

That following summer, Jeff worked as an editorial intern for Scout Media in New York City.

You can reach him via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and follow him on twitter @heffcap.