Is there a chance the Villanova Wildcats could be ranked in the AP college football poll sometime during 2010? The answer is an emphatic yes!
In 2007, after the FCS's Appalachian State defeated mighty Michigan in Ann Arbor, the AP decided to allow its voters to vote for an FCS team, if they've played an FBS team.
That year, the Appalachian Mountaineers finished with five votes in the final AP poll.
Last year, after the Villanova Wildcats won the FCS National Championship, they finished with two votes in the final AP poll. That made them the nation's No. 43 ranked team according to the Associated Press.
Jeff Sagarin, whose poll is part of the BCS computer rankings, listed Villanova as the No. 30 team in his final rankings of 2009.
In winning the 2009 FCS National Championship, Villanova went 14-1 and avenged the one loss when they beat New Hampshire 46-7 in the first round of the FCS National Championship Tournament.
They also beat a good Temple team, the only FBS team on last year's schedule.
So who are the Villanova Wildcats and what is the Colonial Athletic Association, of which they are a football member?
The Villanova Wildcats are a damn good football team and the Colonial Athletic Association is a damn good football conference—just ask the ACC!
On the opening day of the 2009 season, the CAA's William & Mary beat Virginia of the ACC and Richmond beat Duke.
One week later, the ACC's Maryland escaped with a 38-35 win over CAA James Madison.
The CAA's New Hampshire has a long record of beating FBS teams in recent years. Last season they beat the MAC's Ball State.
Villanova played a lot of good football in 2009. Along with their playoff blowout of New Hampshire, they beat Delaware, James Madison, William & Mary, and recorded a win over Montana in the Championship Game.
If the Wildcats were members of last year's ACC conference—you know, the one with Virginia Tech, FSU, and Miami—where would they have finished?
They'd probably have finished in the middle, ahead of NC State, Virginia, Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, and who knows else.
But that was last year; where would they be ranked in this year's ACC? All I can say is they return 17 starters from last year's National Championship team.
This year's Wildcats team is an overwhelming favorite to win another FCS National Championship.
Coach Andy Talley leads a team of veteran skilled position players and Outland Trophy candidate Ben Ijalana at offensive tackle.
Senior quarterback Chris Whitney, along with Ijalana, is one of four All-Americans who have attracted the attention of most NFL scouts.
Once again, Villanova opens their season with cross-town rival Temple. This is their only crack at an FBS team, and if they put on a good show, they could turn more heads than those of just AP voters.
Temple went 9-4 last season and fought tough in a 30-21 bowl loss to UCLA. This year the Owls are expected to contend for the MAC title. If Nova can make a statement against them on Sept. 4, it could jump start their season.
Though it seems doubtful, it remains a possibility that Villanova could be ranked in this year's AP poll. If they make it, they will be the first FCS team to gain that distinction.
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