Rutgers wins first Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy

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For the first time in the program’s history, Rutgers has won the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy.

What, exactly, is the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy?

Established in 1936 by something called the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy attempts to crown the best college football team in the Eastern portion of the United States, primarily New York, New Jersey, New England and Pennsylvania, while teams in the surrounding areas become eligible by playing at least half their games against Eastern teams. For instance, Cincinnati won the 2012 title.

The Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy probably carried much more meaning in 1936 than it does today, when the game is more streamlined and nearly every game is on national television, meaning no one needs to be told who the East’s best team is. Still, for a program with no national championships and four conference championships in college football’s modern era, winning a regional championship likely carries more meaning than at, say, Penn State.

Speaking of Penn State, the Nitanny Lions figured to be Rutgers’ top competition considering they beat the Scarlet Knights back in September and downed Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl. But Rutgers finished one game ahead of Penn State (8-5 vs. 7-6) thanks to a blowout of North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl.

“To bring the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy home to the state of New Jersey is very exciting for the program,” said Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood in a statement. “It is an honor to be named the top team in the East.”

Penn State owns – by far – the most Lambert-Meadowlands titles with 29, including the 2013 crown. Army stands in second at seven, but have not won the trophy since since 1958.