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Tag:Villanova
Posted on: December 16, 2010 4:08 pm
 

Villanova deciding on Big East football in April

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's long been an open secret that after TCU joined the Big East as the conference's ninth football member, the league's top choice for a 10th member was original member in all-other-sports Villanova.

But how committed is the conference to that choice?  Based on the timetable established today in an open letter from President Father Peter Donahue, committed enough that they're unfazed by that timetable coming with something of a sticker shock (emphasis added):
  • January 2011: Continued community meetings, stakeholder dialogue, and research and analyses
  • February 2011: Board of Trustees meeting; discussion of research findings to-date
  • March 2011: Assessment of remaining research findings
  • April 2011 : Board of Trustees meeting; discussion of outstanding items; Board decision
  • That's right: even with an open invitation on the table that an awful lot of schools would rename their biology buildings "Big East Hall" for, the Wildcats won't come to a final decision for another four months.

    So why is 'Nova permitted to take its time when so many other conference alignment decisions in the past year's reshuffling have been made on the fly? Because while the leap from FCS directly into a BCS league wouldn't be easy for any program, there's several reasons to think the Wildcats can make it work: a well-established championship program at the FCS level; an administration with a history of overseeing and supporting successful athletics programs; and maybe most key of all, their location squarely in the middle of a major Eastern metropolitan area without a prominent college football team to follow. (No, Temple doesn't count.) If UConn can become a viable BCS-level program, there's zero reason to think 'Nova can't.

    As long as 'Nova offers the league the chance to add that kind of football program without burdening the already badly-overstuffed basketball collective and bring Philadephia into the fold in the process, the conference -- apparently -- will be willing to wait.
    Posted on: November 5, 2010 5:08 pm
    Edited on: November 5, 2010 5:17 pm
     

    Unitas Award semifinalists make sense ... mostly

    Posted by Adam Jacobi

    Earlier today, the semifinalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the top senior quarterback in the nation, were announced. Sure, the list is going to pale in comparison to the Davey O'Brien Award, which is allowed to nominate the likes of Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Kellen Moore, Denard Robinson, et cetera, but the senior class is still pretty strong this season.

    To that end, we celebrate these eight quarterbacks who were nominated by the Unitas committee:

    • Andy Dalton, TCU
    • Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
    • Jake Locker, Washington
    • Greg McElroy, Alabama
    • Christian Ponder, Florida State
    • Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
    • Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
    • Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

    All worthy honorees, these; of the eight listed, the top six seniors in passing efficiency are represented, and the other two (Ponder, Locker) are high-level pro prospects. It's likely that neither makes the list of five finalists, but they both deserve some credit for their long, eventful college careers.

    But wait -- five finalists? Out of eight semifinalists? Oh, no no; here's the rub. There are actually 10 semifinalists. It's just that the last two are so inexplicable that we couldn't in good conscience discuss them in the same context as the first eight. The other two semifinalists, who you wouldn't have guessed given 10 tries, are Idaho's Nathan Enderle and Delaware's Pat Devlin. Yeah, exactly.

    Enderle is currently 61st among FBS quarterbacks in passing efficiency, and he's tied for fourth in most interceptions thrown with 12. Yes, he's 11th in passing yards per game, but that just makes him the Jerrod Johnson of the WAC. Enderle's not exactly a dual threat, either; he has no rushing touchdowns on the season and rushes for about -18 yards a game once sacks are factored in. Enderle also likely holds the ignominious honor of the worst yards per reception rate in the NCAA, as he was credited for one catch for -13 yards against Hawaii last week. We hope that's the worst in the NCAA, anyway, because woe is anyone worse than that. 

    But for as odd as Enderle's selection is, Devlin's is downright mystifying; the Penn State transfer is currently helming the Delaware Blue Hens, who are No. 4 in the FCS, but that's about as far as Devlin's accomplishments go. He's accounted for six touchdowns on the entire year, and half of those came against D-II West Chester to begin the season. In other words, Devlin has thrown three touchdowns against FCS competition all season long. GET THAT MAN ON A SEMIFINALISTS LIST, STAT.

    As with Ponder and Locker, it's extremely unlikely that these two guys make the final cut, and it's also unikely that any of the quarterback that got snubbed (FCS No. 3 Villanova's Chris Whitney, Texas Tech's Taylor Potts, and Fresno State's Ryan Colburn , to name a few) would have made the top five either. Still, any of those three would have been better choices than either Enderle or Devlin, and we're at a loss for trying to figure out why either of those two quarterbacks made the list of 10 semifinalists.

    Posted on: November 2, 2010 10:11 pm
    Edited on: November 2, 2010 10:20 pm
     

    Where should the Big East look first?

    Posted by Chip Patterson

    As you probably know by now, the Big East has decided to expand the number of football playing teams in the conference from eight to ten. This decision was reached during a regularly scheduled meeting of the athletic directors and presidents of all sixteen conference schools in Philadelphia.

    The decision was unanimous, and conference commissioner John Marinatto indicated that the evaluation of potential expansion candidates will begin immediately. However, the unofficial evaluation process has been ongoing for some time. The conference approached Villanova, a member of the Big East in the other Olympic sports, back in September to discuss a move from the FCS, though no official offer was extended.

    Villanova appears to be an easy selection for one of the two new spots in the conference. The addition of the Wildcats would be as painless as it comes for the rest of the schools, but that does not mean it would be free of roadblocks. The NCAA requires a two-year transition period for a school to move from the FCS to the BCS, and there is some concern as to if Villanova could replicate the success that brought them an FCS National Championship immediately against BCS-caliber opponents. In all likelihood, Villanova winning the FCS National Championship was one of tipping points to accelerate the discussion of the jump to join their Big East brethren on the gridiron.

    For the Big East to fill both spots in the planned expansion, they will likely have to bring in a school from outside the conference in the other Olympic sports. Making that move will take the work of some big guns, like former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Tagliabue has been hired as a consultant to help with the deal, among other things the formation of a possible TV network.

    One giant boost to the television value of the conference would be the addition of TCU. Rumors of discussions between TCU and the Big East began to circulate back in September, with both sides remaining ambiguously mum on the issue. Now with the blessing of the Board of Directors, those discussions can (and may likely) become serious fast. Under head coach Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs have become perennial powerhouses on the national college football scene. In addition to bringing national interest, TCU would also bring the Big East to the football audience in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area.

    But would this be a good move for TCU? The greatest appeal the Big East can offer is an automatic bid to the BCS, though some have argued that with the future arrival of Boise State, Nevada, and Fresno State, the Mountain West Conference may be on their way to gaining AQ status. But as the teams shuffle, there are no promises that new MWC will carry the same weight as it has in recent years.

    Sources have also reported Central Florida, Houston, and Temple as other possible candidates for the two new spots in the Big East. Central Florida and Houston would be able to offer the major markets that the Big East would prefer in order to negotiate a major television deal. Temple also is a former Big East conference member.

    There is still plenty of negotiation ahead, but in my opinion the best move for the Big East would be to TCU and Villanova. If the Horned Frogs join the conference only for football, then no adjustments would be necessary for the rest of the Olympic sports. It would be an immediate upgrade for the conference to gain a program that has finished ranked in the Top 25 seven times since 2000.
    Posted on: November 1, 2010 11:24 pm
     

    Report: Big East to talk expansion in meeting

    Posted by Chip Patterson

    On the field, the Big East has failed to make a dent in the national scene this year.  The conference has been openly criticized by many, and with just a month left in regular season play there is not a single Big East team in the current Top 25.  Off the field, the presidents and athletic directors are gathering this week to work on changing their reputation.  It is being reported by several sources that one of the hot topics to be covered in this meeting is a "probable expansion."

    The regularly scheduled meeting will likely be tense with debate as the football-playing members of the conference will be pushing to expand the eight team conference, possibly by including current national powerhouse TCU.  A New York Post report indicated that TCU and Central Florida are both very interested, with Houston, Temple, and Villanova also being mentioned as leading candidates.  

    "The goal is to get the presidents' blessing to seriously pursue teams," said one Big East athletic director. "I don't think we're going to get pushback on that."

    If they do get the green-light, sources are reporting that invitations could be offered by the end of this college football season.  But getting everyone involved to rally around expansion may not be easy for the non-football schools in the conference.  Adding a team to the football conference would likely mean adding them to the already vast 16 team conference from many of the non-football sports.   
    Posted on: September 10, 2010 2:24 pm
     

    Big East invites Villanova football program?

    Posted by Adam Jacobi

    The Philadelphia Daily News reported today that the Big East has asked Villanova about moving their football program to the FBS and the Big East. The conference offered no comment, but we're clearly at a "waiting for the officials to write up a statement" point in the process right now; the Big East certainly didn't deny their interest, and anonymous conference sources confirmed the invitation. If Nova wants it, it's there.

    The logic here is understandable: currently, the only FBS college football program in Philadelphia is Temple, who is just terrible at football; if Villanova can bring their winning ways to the Big East, they've got a giant media market they can deliver to the conference. The Big East can probably make the invitation with a reasonable amount of confidence, having already seen such a switch work with UConn.

    But if Villanova football wants to move up to the Big East, it won't be as easy as just filling out some paperwork and moving more athletic department money to the football program. They need a new stadium. Villanova Stadium only holds 12,500 fans, and FBS stadium rules require an average of 15,000 paid fans and capacity for at least 30,000. Is it really in the best interests of a school with fewer than 10,000 total students to invest the eight or nine figures in a new football stadium? That's the question Nova has to answer, and we're guessing they'll say "are you kidding yes of course build build build." Few universities get this type of opportunity to increase their visibility so suddenly--and even fewer turn the opportunity down. 

     
     
     
     
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