Rutgers Football

Is National Champion Villanova Headed for Big East Football?

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 05: Dion Lewis #28 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers runs in for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 5, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIIDecember 19, 2009

Twenty-five years ago Villanova University won the NCAA Basketball National Championship.  They upset Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team in the most famous championship game ever.  Tonight they won their first FCS Football Championship!

The Wildcats (13-1)  knocked off an undefeated Montana team 23-21 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The game was televised on ESPN.

The question that has to be running through the heads Villanova students, fans and alumni has to be " are we ready to up-grade to the FBS?"  The question that has to be running through the heads of Big East Athletic Directors has to be, "What about Villanova?"

What about Villanova, the school that dropped football in 1980 altogether, and started up again in 1985 in the FCS division?

Just how good are these Wildcats?  Jeff Sagarin, who has input into the BCS computers, ranks 245 FBS and FCS teams in one ranking.  Before tonight's game Sagarin had them No. 35—he ranks Notre Dame No. 48.  Will they finish the season in the top 25?  No!

In case you don't think Sagarin has them in the right spot, you should know something about the conference they play in—the Colonial Athletic Association.

The CAA is the best conference year in and year out, of all the FCS conferences.  Last year Richmond, another CAA team, won the championship.  Delaware, James Madison, and New Hampshire are some other teams—you might recognize the names.

The CAA isn't just the best conference in the FCS, they give FBS teams trouble too.  This season Richmond beat Duke, William & Mary beat Virginia, and James Madison lost to Maryland in overtime.  Duke, Virginia, and Maryland all play in the ACC.

The CAA had other wins over FBS schools;  Villanova beat bowl bound Temple and New Hampshire beat Ball St.

So where does the Andy Talley coached team go from here?  Is there an FBS conference they could be part of in the near future? 

What about the conference they're located in the middle of, the Big East?  And how convenient for the Big East—Villanova's basketball program is already a member!

The Wildcats could eventually end up in the Big East if they can assure the doubters that they are committed to making the step up.

They have the exposure through their nationally ranked basketball team.  They have a beautiful stadium in Philadelphia to play their games in, and if the alumni push it, who knows?

If the Alumni decides they want to raise the money needed, Villanova could be a real good choice for the Big East, who is seriously studying the chances of adding a ninth team. 

Penn State, Temple, and Rutgers are probably wondering how such a move would affect their programs.  They all will be recruiting the same area.

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