I am a Rutgers football fan, so last night's game against Norfolk State offered grim familiarity.
The Scarlet Knights sputtered on offense. The home crowd grew restless. The score stood an ominous 3-0 near halftime, with Rutgers just one big mistake away from trailing the Spartans of the MEAC.
At once, we were all reminded of losses to New Hampshire and Villanova to open seasons. Was the old Rutgers back?
No. This is the program that wins bowl games every year now. The final registered 31-0. The Scarlet Knights returned to form, at least enough to win convincingly over a team they should rout.
Instead, it was Pitt suffering the odd loss, falling to Utah, 27-24. The loss serves as a reminder that this year's Big East is wide open.
Look, between the lack of a star runner and the loss of wideout Tim Brown, Rutgers will need some new faces to step forward in both departments to take advantage of talented quarterback Tom Savage and a tremendous defensive unit.
But this may be, from the circumstances of the surrounding teams, Rutgers' best chance yet at winning their first-ever Big East title.
And seeing them take care of Norfolk State, incredibly, is a reminder that these Scarlet Knights are no pretenders to contention in 2010. The new normal is Rutgers winning the games it should.