Monday, August 31, 2009

Villanova Football 2009 Season Preview

The Villanova Football Team looks as if it has righted the ship, putting together three consecutive winning seasons including last year's team that finished 10-3 including 7-1 in CAA conference play, made it to the quarterfinals of the playoffs and finished in the top 5 in the end of the season Gridiron Power Index (GPI). Expectations are high for the boys from the Main Line as they return 15 starters and the punter from last season's team. Indicative of those expectations are a variety of preseason rankings that have Villanova anywhere from 2nd to 5th in FCS for a consolidated ranking of third and their selection along with defending National Champion Richmond as CAA co-favorite as voted by the coaches. This is the most deep and experienced roster Head Coach Andy Talley has had to work with in recent years and you can only think that this team has a Championship on its mind.

This season, the Wildcats will feature a high powered Spread Offense led by junior Quarterback Chris Whitney and fellow juniors, Running back Aaron Ball who last year had the first 1,000 yard rushing season for a Villanova player since a guy named Brian Westbrook did it in 2001 and Wide Receiver/Quarterback/Running Back/Kick Returner (and possibly bus driver?) Matt Szczur with blocking from a talented offensive line that returns four of five starters led by Junior Left Tackle Ben Ijalana, who was named First team preseason All-American by several publications and a player who many believe has a future playing on Sundays.

The Defense suffered a heavy blow when they lost All American Defensive End Greg Miller, his counterpart at End David Dallessandro who was only the second player in school history to be named captain for two seasons (his father also wrote Snakes on A Plane, I shit you not,) and Safety/Linebacker Darrel Young who is currently fighting for a spot on the Washington Redskins. Even with the heavy losses that were suffered, all signs point toward this being a defense that has the potential to dominate. Defensive End Tim Kukucka and preseason All-American Linebacker Osayi Osunde will lead an aggressive defense lining up in a 3-3-5 alignment predicated on confusion and lots of pressure coming from any direction.

The Kicking game should be the only area of real concern as Redshirt Freshman Nick Yako must take over the reigns from four year starter Joe Marcoux, who greatly improved throughout his career on Lancaster Avenue. Punter Zach Ugarte will return for his senior season after an injury limited his ability, hopefully he can return to the form he showed earlier in his career. Kickoff returns should be a strength for the 'Cats as they have a plethora of options including Szczur, junior Running Back Angelo Babbaro and senior Wide Receiver Brandyn Harvey.

So Wildcat fans, this season has the potential to be something special, go out to games because student admission is free to all home games and tickets for all others are very reasonably priced.

Further reading:
And Finally, Go 'Cats!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rick Pitino, I Applaud You For Your Environmental and Humanitarian Crusade!

So Rick, Where should I start? I have always admired you as a basketball coach, but I have had doubts about your kindness as a person since a little speech you gave to the media while coaching the Celtics. But tonight, I realized that you are in fact a kind, decent person. I mean how many guys are nice enough to pay to terminate the pregnancy of a woman they slept with out of wedlock? I know that three grand is a drop in the bucket for a well off man such as yourself, but you didn't have to do it you decided to do it out of the kindness of your heart. The earth is an overcrowded place and there are far too many whiny rich brats who live off their rich father's child support payments and let's face it, it's hard to be a rich kid who's only notable because of a rich famous family member. Paying for that abortion wasn't a despicable act as like some would say. I personally think that it was an efficient way of lowering your carbon footprint! After all, Lincoln Town Cars get terrible gas mileage. Also, consider the amount of plastic you will have saved because we all know that kid would have gone through tons of hair gel. For a mere $3,000, you have contributed to saving our great green earth! So Rick, please do your new pal Fact a favor and don't let all these haters bring you down. They're just jealous because they didn't think to wear a white suit first. Stay classy Rick and never let anyone tell you that you are anything less than a man who is concerned with the future of our planet and of the human race. I Salute You!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Soapbox: Save Villanova basketball: Go to Football Games, Bring your Friends

The indifference and general lack of interest in Villanova Football by the basketball faithful is a sour subject for the few Die Hard Villanova Football fans such as me. As an equal fan of both Villanova Basketball and Football, I realize that these programs may become more dependent on each other in the future than they are now. While Villanova Basketball is a cash cow, the football team is seven figures in the red every year. I know what you're thinking.. just because the football team is bleeding money like it is on it's period, we should drop football, right? Wrong, because in the near future, our status as a football program may be what decides our fate in basketball. The Big East is desperate to establish itself as a football conference after several years of mediocrity. The exodus of former Big East teams Boston College, Virginia Tech, and The U to the ACC severely crippled the Big East's football competitiveness and a conference that was once a juggernaut turned into the red headed stepchild of the Bowl Championship Series conferences. The Big East is a small football conference (only eight teams.) So it's very likely that in the very near future they will look to expand. In the mid 90's they were looking to expand and extended an invitation to Villanova and UConn, UConn took the offer, and Villanova conducted a study to see how feasible the move was. The Committee (which was headed by Villanova graduate and former Rutgers Athletic Director Bob Mulcahy) concluded that such a move was possible and was in the best interests of the athletic department and the school, but former Villanova President Edmund J. Dobbin O.S.A. refused to accept the recommendations of the board. Dobbin's refusal caused the AD at the time Gene DeFilippo to backtrack on his support for the program because he didn't want to be at odds with the boss. Defilippo eventually left Villanova for BC, a school with a top division football program (makes you think.)

So what does this have to do with Basketball? Well it's oddly complex and straightforward at the same time. The prevailing wisdom among fans of the Big East and some journalists is that eventually when the Big East looks to expand it's football conference to beyond eight teams that it will ask teams within the conference if they want to make the commitment to move up or if they want to leave. Villanova is in the best position of any of the non Big East Football schools to move up, the only thing that they need is fan support. Without fan support, there is a possibility that Villanova will have to play in a conference with only the other Catholic Schools in the Big East. This "Catholic League" is something that does not appeal to me in the least. What good is a league with St. John's, Providence and Georgetown, if you don't have Syracuse, Pitt and UConn. To save Villanova from being relegated to another league, we must advance our football program and it all starts with YOU. The only way the team goes up a division and stays out of what could be an awful situation is if the Villanova Community embraces the football team and fills up our stadium every week regardless of whether we're playing Rhode Island or Delaware. I mean if you don't want to go to the games fine, but don't bitch when we're in the CAA for Football and Basketball.

For more information about the feasibility study read: A Season in Purgatory: Villanova and Life in College Football's Lower Class by Tony Moss

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Best Villanova Basketball Video Ever.

Seriously how awesome is this video? Its almost perfect, "No one is crazy enough to buy $10,000 courtside seats on eBay!" and the bitch, "Its alright, he bought a new couch," I was dying. The only inaccuracy, no way all those people who left in the beginning actually picked us to reach the Final 4, stupid Krauts.

Thanks to my boy Luke for the tip.