April 12th will mark the day of the most significant and highly anticipated announcement in the history of Villanova University athletics. Either Villanova will announce that they have accepted a bid to move up and play football in the Big East, or the will choose to remain in the CAA and continue to play FCS games. The move will not just affect the football team but the basketball team, the rest of the athletic teams, and the University itself.
If the Wildcats decide to move up they will be solidifying their spot in the Big East for basketball as well as football. It has been speculated that the Big East may eventually drop the schools that don’t play football on the top-level (such as Georgetown, St. John’s, Villanova, etc) and those schools would be left to find a new conference to play in.
The decision is not so simple. Villanova Stadium currently is not large enough for Big East football and therefore games (at least for the first few seasons) would have to be played in Chester at the home of the Philadelphia Union. It is then speculated that when Temple’s contract with Lincoln Financial Field is up, that Villanova could play their home games in South Philly.
There is also a large cost financially to moving up in football and it is unclear whether donors will step up to shoulder the brunt of these expenses.
Fans, faculty, alumni, and students all stand divided on what would be best for Villanova. Personally we would love to see them move up to Big East football and make sure that the rivalries they have created in basketball will remain intact. It would also be wonderful to see a program that finally got over the hump in 2009 and won the FCS title to take on a new challenge with different opponents.
As we all await the landmark decision of April 12th, one thing is for certain today; we know who Villanova will be competing against in the upcoming 2011 football season.
The Wildcats and head coach Andy Talley return 23 letter-men and nine starters from last year’s team that went 9-5 overall and advanced to the national semifinals for the second straight year although it is hard to imagine how they will replace players like Chris Whitney, Aaron Ball, and Matt Szczur.
The season will kickoff on Thursday, September 1, with the third annual Mayor’s Cup game against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. This is the third of four straight openers versus the Owls. The Wildcats won the inaugural Mayor’s Cup battle over Temple with a thrilling 27-24 victory in 2009, while the Owls tallied a 31-24 win last year.
The Wildcats will again take on cross-town Big 5 rival Penn at historic Franklin Field and as always will finish their season against their biggest rival Delaware on the Main Line. Last year the Wildcats beat Delaware (the Blue Hens were ranked #1 at the time) on the road in the final game to sneak into the FCS playoffs where they again made a deep run.
The complete schedule is listed below:
2011 VILLANOVA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:
DATE: OPPONENT: LOCATION:
Sept. 1 Temple Philadelphia, Pa.
Sept. 10 Towson Towson, Md.
Sept. 17 Monmouth Villanova, Pa.
Sept. 24 Penn Philadelphia, Pa.
Oct. 1 William & Mary Villanova, Pa.
Oct. 8 New Hampshire Durham, N.H.
Oct. 15 James Madison Harrisonburg, Va.
Oct. 22 Old Dominion Villanova, Pa.
Oct. 29 Maine Villanova, Pa.
Nov. 5 Massachusetts Amherst, Mass
Nov. 19 Delaware Villanova, Pa.