Friday, September 30, 2011

Villanova-William & Mary Preview

Two seasons ago, Villanova and William & Mary  met in the semifinals of the 2009 NCAA playoffs, and  one of the most compelling games of football that I have ever attended ensued. Barely any of the principal play makers from that game remain. Thus far in 2011, both Villanova and William & Mary have struggled, particularly offensively, and both teams are being gashed in the ground game on defense.

Here are the keys to the game:
  1. Contain Jonathan Grimes: Since Villanova has been struggling in rushing defense this season, William & Mary will likely try to run it quite often with senior running back Jonathan Grimes Even though he's struggling a bit this season, Grimes has been one of the best players in the CAA since he was a freshman 12 years ago. If Villanova is able to contain him, they have already gone a long way towards winning the game.
  2. Score in the red zone: One of the strengths of Villanova teams past was their ability to capitalize on their opportunities in the red zone. This season, they've only scored touchdowns in 20 percent of their red zone possessions and have only scored points on 50 percent. If you don't score, you don't win.. Simple as that.
  3. Protect the quarterback: Through four games, Villanova has allowed ten quarterback sacks, far too many. Chris Polony proved that he is not ready if Christian Culicerto goes down, so Culicerto must be protected.
  4. Cut down on mistakes: There have been too many turnovers and penalties.. Stop doing those things.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

(Sydney) Maree v. State Teaser

I was stumbling around the internet and I found this teaser for a documentary about South African-American Sydney Maree, one of the greatest runners in Villanova history, directed and produced by his son. 

His blurb:
Maree v. State explores the life of my father, Sydney Maree, whose career serves as a metaphor for the evolution of the South African state, from Apartheid to modern democracy. This feature-length documentary traces the parallels between Maree's personal story and the historical, political and cultural contexts within which his life can be understood. Of particular interest are the ways in which his experiences can reveal inconvenient national truths, which have been covered up or subsumed in official histories and collective memory. Website:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Andy Talley: "We are not a very good football team"

In his weekly teleconference for the conference, Villanova head coach Andy Talley said "We are not a very good football team," and was either sandbagging or he truly views his team as not very good. Talley is (in)famous for his candor, but I don't know if I've ever heard him this down on his team. Additionally, he was highly complimentary of William & Mary to the degree of being doting, which leads me to believe he may have something up his sleeve... We shall see on Saturday.

My game preview will be coming tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Villanova Postgame With Andy Talley, James Pitts and Christian Culicerto

Villanova Band: Enough is Enough, You Should Be Fired

Last season, I posted my displeasure on the Villanova band's attendance issues with regards to home football games and games within 20 miles of the school. I received many comments on the post regarding the band's limited funds and the strictly volunteer basis of the organization, but after they missed the Penn game, I've simply had enough of it. If you sit around beating off and moping about your lack of funds, you know what you know what you should do? Raise funds.

If this band was an employee of any company worth its salt, they would have been fired a long time ago. 

Either they suck at life or they're just big John Cage fans.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

100 Years and Counting! Villanova Wins 30-21

Penn has extended their run of futility against Villanova another year with a 30-21 loss, making it 100 years since they last beat The Wildcats. Despite the fact that the Villanova band did not show up, the "home" team did not seem to notice, holding off a late charge from The Quakers with some help from the officials.

Check back tomorrow for more

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Letter From Fr. Peter Donohue

As many of you know, the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University announced last week that they will join the Atlantic Coast Conference. The announcement caused a jolt nationwide and what ensued was a week of rumors and speculation about how the major conferences might expand and realign. As a long-standing member of the Big East Conference, we are fully aware of the impact this had on the ever changing landscape of college athletics.
Throughout this week, I have been actively engaged in efforts to ensure that Villanova is positioned to move forward aggressively and strategically. I have had numerous conversations with my colleagues around the country and continue to work proactively with the other Big East presidents. My singular goal is to protect Villanova’s national reputation both athletically and academically.
We are committed to the Big East and to its long-standing tradition of success. I want to assure you that Villanova will never waiver from its pursuit of excellence both in the classroom and in competition. We will continue looking at all options at the national and conference levels that will enhance our current position as a premier athletic program, including revisiting the possibility of moving our football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level.
I am confident that no matter how the conferences align, Villanova’s tradition of both academic and athletic success will continue for years to come.

Fr. Peter Donohue, O.S.A.

I actually think this letter is the best of any of the communications from the school so far on the issue. I feel a little bit better aside from the whole "committed to the Big East" part.

Let's Make it a Century! Villanova-Penn Preview

Let's flash back to 1911: William Howard Taft was president, Fenway Park and RMS Titanic were still under construction, there were 46 states in the union, Ray Haroun won the inaugural running of the Indianapolis 500, and the University of Pennsylvania beat Villanova College 22-0 in a football game.

In the 99 years and ten meetings since, Penn has not beaten Villanova one time. I know, I know.. They've only played ten times, but I just wanted to point out some of the things that were happening the last time that Villanova lost to Penn. This year likely represents Penn's best chance to win since the series resumed. Villanova is decimated by injuries and they haven't played very well in either of their first three games either, winning none of them. Due to the peculiar scheduling practices of the Ivy League, Penn has only played one game so far, a home loss where they were thoroughly outclassed by Lafayette, losing 37-12.

After coming in and performing admirably after true freshman Chris Polony stunk up the joint against Monmouth, senior Christian Culicerto should be the starter and get the vast vast majority of the snaps against Penn. Culicerto was a hard luck loser thanks to some awful mistakes by his receivers. He deserved to win that game. With its depleted wide receiver corps, and less than ideal quarterback situation, look for Villanova to try to run the ball frequently. Villanova's best running back thus far in 2011 has been redshirt freshman Austin Medley, who is questionable for this week with a back injury. In three games this season, Medley leads the team with three runs of 25 yards or more including a 36 yard touchdown run last week.

On defense, Villanova was better against Monmouth than they were the previous two weeks. Not great, but better. Cutting down on the long third down conversions in addition to forcing more turnoversf are things that absolutely must happen in order for this team to right the ship.

The game tomorrow will be a Villanova home game at 7PM at Franklin Field (I know it doesn't make sense). It will be on the radio on 950 AM in Philadelphia.

John Marinatto is Out of Control

If you want to see how out of control he is, you can follow him on Twitter now @JohnMarinattoBE

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

John Marinatto's Current State Of Mind

Based on the recent news on the Big East, we find no better analogy for John Marinatto's current state of mind than Major Kong riding the atomic bomb in Stanley Kubrick's classic Dr. Strangelove. Marinatto can't be sound of mind right now, and I think if given the opportunity, he would ride the bomb to get himself out of this mess.

Oliver Luck After Being Rejected By The SEC and ACC

Our spies were able to snap this picture after Oliver Luck found out that West Virginia was rejected by the ACC and SEC.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Villanova's Realignment Statement (A Day Late As Usual)

So Villanova's fantastic media relations department has finally released a statement in regards to the realignment that threatens to destroy the athletic program from the top down.
Villanova University will never waver from its pursuit of excellence. Part of that pursuit is a firm commitment to furthering its current position as a premier athletic program. As a long-standing member of the Big East, we are fully aware of the impact the recent announcements have had on the ever-changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics. We remain determined to ensure Villanova's position of national prominence and are strongly committed to the success of the Big East. Ultimately, our focus must be on our student-athletes and assuring they can flourish and reach their potential both in competition and in the classroom. The University will continue to move forward aggressively and strategically at both the conference and national levels, and we are confident that no matter how the conferences align, Villanova's history of both academic and athletic success will continue for years to come.
Unless someone big (Notre Dame and Big XII leftovers) decide to join the Big East, this is a losing cause. I can't help but compare this to someone refusing to leave The Titanic after it hit the iceberg out of sheer stubbornness and the assurance that the ship was "unsinkable".

All Along The Watchtower: A Big East Epitaph

“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief
“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief

After Texas A&M left the Big XII, we should have seen these things coming. I don't know if there was any stopping what was to come though. Syracuse (the joker) and Pitt (the thief) probably knew that they would have to get out of the conference when they realized that they weren't going to get a much better TV deal (or  even an equivalent deal) than the one that Pitt (along with Rutgers) led the charge to decline. Pitt's chancellor and basketball coach playing such an active role in securing TCU's admission into the Big East while they were actively pursuing another conference has to go down as one of the most morally bankrupt moves in the history of college sports.

Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth”

It's time to acknowledge that this is about money. While the NCAA, coaches, athletic directors and the presidents of universities line their pockets with millions of dollars of television money, scholarship athletes (who are often underprivileged) receive nothing more than that scholarship despite their likenesses being used to generate millions of dollars for their schools. At this point, it's worth it to wonder what all of this bullshit is worth. Maybe the European model is more desirable. Maybe academics need to be the true emphasis and kids who are gifted in their sports should be groomed to play sports in an academy structure.

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke

Thus said Pitt when they decided several months ago to obstruct Villanova's bid to join the conference, and when they strung TCU along and then left them at the altar.

But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”

Until we hear some sort of good news about the future of Villanova athletics, or if we hear that Rutgers has been wiped off the face of the earth, the sun is going down and we shouldn't be feeling very good.

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too

The football schools, football coaches and athletic directors are driving this expansion without regards to any of the other athletes in sports with better GPAs, fewer scandals and less money are forced to go along for the ride. Don't forget though, schools still make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the STUDENT ATHLETES (according to the NCAA).

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl

The wildcat isn't growling very loudly, it's  more like a whimper. No riders are approaching, just  two riding away; one is a morally bankrupt land grant school in Western Pennsylvania and a private school in Upstate New York that runs its basketball program like it's a work release center. Yes, the wind is howling and one must wonder if it is going to drown out the growl of the Villanova Wildcat for good. If they are left out in the cold, Villanova could be relegated to St. Joe's (PA) status in almost all facets, and that is what fans should be most afraid of.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Villanova-Monmouth Postmortem

 Dorian Wells Yesterday

Some postmortem thoughts now that I've had time to digest this shitty, shitty loss:
  1. The officials seemed like they had absolutely no clue what they were doing the entire game. They misinterpreted the rules on several occasions that went in both teams favor. Perhaps the worst example was taking away a touchdown from Austin Medley when it was apparent that he had scored a touchdown. The lack of replay in the lower levels of college football allows for very incompetent officiating.
  2. James Pitts was injured at some point during the game. If Pitts' injury is serious, I would rather see him sit out the rest of the season and apply for a medical redshirt (he didn't redshirt his freshman year) than try to come back for this lost cause of a season.
  3. It's pretty apparent that Dustin Thomas wasn't this team's biggest problem in the first two games of the season. If anything, Thomas was the reason that this team can move the ball. With that being said, Christian Culicerto more than held his own despite taking a beating.
  4. The coaching staff should have never let Chris Polony start this game. I have never seen someone more unprepared to start a game. It took me half of a practice this summer to realize that Polony was probably the fourth best quarterback getting reps.
  5. If I ever see Nick Yako attempt a field goal again, I may go postal.
  6. Strangely enough, I'm somewhat bullish on this team's future (after this season) because the injuries have been crippling and the freshman (especially Dillon Lucas, the running backs and Joe Sarnese) have been quite good.
I'll address the end of Villanova athletics as we know it/whether I think Villanova has a chance to get invited by the ACC later in the week.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Villanova Loses 20-9


If you think Catholics are opposed to abortion, you obviously have not seen the 2011 Villanova football team. After starting the game with Chris Polony, a quarterback who shouldn't even be starting for a high school team, the coaches mercifully put in Christian Culicerto, who did all he could to right the ship, but the coaches decision to start an obviously unprepared true freshman, along with Dorian Wells' inabilty to hold onto the ball was a deathblow. Villanova should have blown Monmouth out, but they lost because they turned the ball over far too much and made mistakes by the bushel.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You Stay Classy Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins talking shit to Jay Wright

In an excerpt of a new book that about Kansas basketball in the 2000s posted online, former Jayhawk and current Heat point guard Mario Chalmers expressed his disdain for Jay Wright for leaving him off the roster of the team Jay coached in the 2007 Pan American Games so that Scottie Reynolds could be on the roster. What Chalmers neglected to mention (or wasn't able to comprehend) was the fact that the roster was chosen not by Wright, but by a committee that included Jim Boeheim and BILL SELF. Yes, his own coach left him off the team.

Says Chalmers:
So when it came to the Villanova game, Coach Self called Sherron and me into his office and said, “How do you feel about this Villanova game?” I said, “Coach, this is personal to me. I don’t like Jay Wright.” He was like, “I understand that, but keep it out of the media.” So when the media asked if it was a personal game, we’d say, “No, it’s not personal. It’s just another game.” But during the game we were talking all kinds of s--t to Jay Wright. We’d run by him and tell him, “Sit your ass down! We got this!” Another time we said to him, “This is what you get for cutting us. We’re about to dog you!” Anytime we were throwing the ball in from the sideline, when he was standing up trying to call a play, we’d tell him to shut his mouth and sit down. There was one play where I threw a lob to Shady on an inbounds pass and he dunked over Scottie Reynolds. Right before I threw it I looked at Jay Wright and said, “Watch this!” That game was definitely personal for Sherron and me.
 Mario Chalmers, your ignorance and stupidity make me feel very bad that one of John Calipari's thugs didn't dump truck your team and then personally sodomize you with a broomstick afterward. Good luck buying LeBron's dinner for the rest of your career.

Villanova-Monmouth Preview

After two road losses in which Villanova has combined for 17 total points, they will take on Monmouth (NJ) \on saturday at Villanova Stadium. In any other season, this match up that would have been a gimme. The problem is that it is not a gimme this season, and Villanova has more injuries than a veteran's hospital. Luckily for Villanova, Monmouth was thoroughly trounced by Lehigh in their opener two weeks ago, losing 49-24 but that's not a large enough sample size from which you can draw conclusions. St. Augustine, pray for us.

Here's what you should be on the lookout for this week:
  1. Starting Quarterback: After seeing no playing time as Dustin Thomas' backup in the first two games, true freshman Chris Polony will start against Monmouth. In a brief writeup on Polony, I didn't give him a very glowing endorsement. Seeing what Polony can do under pressure will give Villanova fans a glimpse of what the future could look like.
  2. Health: After starting quarterback Dustin Thomas and wide receiver Joe Price were injured last week against Towson, it appears that another name has been removed from the depth chart: senior wide receiver Mikey Reynolds. I don't know the reason why Reynolds isn't on the depth chart, but the injuries are beginning to become comical. Another significant injury would kill this team if it isn't dead already.
  3. Defense: The Villanova defense has been abysmal this season, especially on third downs. They have been equally terrible against both the run and the pass and their opponents have averaged 36.5 points against them.
  4. Special Teams: No more Nick Yako please. It's nothing personal as I was in his corner for quite a long time.
The game is on Saturday at 3:30 and you can listen to it on 950 AM ESPN Radio in the Philadelphia area.

Updated: Mikey Reynolds is suspended for this week's game.. SMH.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Well, Dante Cunningham didn't really say that, but he did say call the charges "pure racism" get his pellet gun and weed charges dropped because the racist Radnor Police planted evidence. It turns out that all he'll have to do is pay a $225 fine, which is .0002% of the $1.2 million that he's made in his two NBA seasons, and since "rich people don't write checks," I assume that Radnor will be getting an envelope with fairly soon with the money and a note paper clipped to it that says something along the lines of:  
Dear Radnor,
-Dante Cunningham
Dante received a $1.06 million qualifying offer from his current team, the Charlotte Bobcats this June.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Brief Glance At Chris Polony

Chris Polony
With starting quarterback Dustin Thomas down for an extended period of time, his true freshman backup Chris Polony will be taking over his starting spot. Coming out of high school, Polony was a relatively highly touted recruit (3 stars or so) by scouting services.

Last summer, Tom Luginbill from ESPN Scouts Inc. (who I despise) said this:
"Chris Polony really impressed with excellent velocity and fluid delivery mechanics. He has good height and a thick build with plenty of room for added bulk and more definition to his frame. His release stood out immediately as he was able to get rid of the ball in a hurry and he has a nice feel for dropping from center, pulling up, planting and getting the ball out on time."
There's a problem though.. For one, Polony completed less than 50 percent of his passing attempts his senior year and threw more interceptions than he did touchdowns.  Another problem is that he was quite clearly the third or fourth best quarterback I saw In the practices I attended. I thought that he held onto the ball for a long time and his release was deliberate at best.

I fear that playing him is asking him to take a beating behind this offensive line, which is why I would start Christian Culicerto so Polony wouldn't have to burn his redshirt or take a serious beating. Then again, I'm not a football coach.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Snakebitten: Dustin Thomas and Joe Price Out For The Year?

Experiencing a period of misfortune or inability to succeed.

If I had to provide you with an adjective to best describe the 2011 Villanova football season so far, snakebitten is probably the best that I could come up with. You'd think the two routs would be enough, but now it looks like starting quarterback Dustin Thomas could be out for the season with a third degree shoulder seperation and wide receiver Joe Price could also miss the rest of the season with a punctured lung.

My current state of mind:

In steps true freshman Chris Polony. Maybe we can win some games. I don't know what we can expect though from someone who completed less than 50 percent of his passes his senior year in high school

Why Villanova is 0-2 This Year

Villanova turnovers by season (since 2009)

2009: 13 turnovers in 15 games
2010: 22 turnovers in 14 games
2011: 7 turnovers in two games

Even if you see no other statistic, (they're ugly,) you can understand why this team has been so utterly terrible so far.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Towson Fans: You Are Bush League

I had no idea about this because I had turned off the game, but Towson's fans actually stormed the field after the game last night.. Seriously. They violated rule #1 of storming the field: Don't storm the field when you beat a team with a losing record. I understand that their fans aren't very used to winning at any sport, but storming the field after you beat a crappy team by 21 points is the very definition of bush league.

That is all.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Early Game CAA Scores

Here are the scores for the early CAA games this week.  No real surprises, but some close calls.

Pitt 35 Maine 29
UNH 48 Lehigh 41 (OT)
Old Dominion 40 Georgia State 17
W&M 24 VMI 7

Rhode Island and Syracuse are currently in progress and the rest of the games start at 6 or 7.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Villanova-Towson Preview

After last Thursday's clusterfuck against Temple, the Villanova football team will look to exorcise their demons when they head to Maryland to take on Towson on Saturday at 7 PM. Villanova has not lost to Towson since they lost two in a row from 2005-2006. In series history, Villanova is five and two in seven total meetings since the series began in 2004. Last week, Towson beat Morgan State 42-3, so this team appears that it can score some points, and let's be honest, we don't know how good (or bad) this Villanova team is yet.

Here are some things you should look for:
  1. Dustin Thomas- After a pretty miserable first game, it will be interesting to see how Dustin Thomas adapts this week, and how long his leash will be for the remainder of the season. Hopefully he doesn't throw off his back foot nearly as often. We shall see.
  2. Defense- Well, the defense that was supposed to be a strength of this team was utterly terrible last week. They should have plenty of motivation since they've probably been getting yelled at all week by their coaches. If Towson scores anywhere near the 42 points that they scored last week against Morgan State, Villanova's defense (and its season) is in serious trouble. PASS COVERAGE PLEASE!
  3. Special Teams- After being a strength for the past four seasons, the return game was very "meh" last week. Improvement is imperative, especially if the offense has a difficult time moving the ball.
  4. Protection- Dustin Thomas was running for his life last week.. That can't happen again.
The game is on 950 AM radio in Philadelphia listen.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    A Question That Must Be Asked

    I'm sure that everyone reading this is more than familiar with the BS going on in college sports (Football) involving expansion including but not limited to: The Longhorn Network, Texas A&M fleeing the Big XII (the conference that has ten schools, not the one that actually has 12) for the SEC, the threat of a lawsuit to delay such a defection led by former Whitewater Special Prosecutor, and current Baylor president Ken Starr, and the overall doom and gloom "Superconference" conjecture coming from talking head radio hosts/newspaper columnists in every corner of the country. There is one Fundamental question that must be asked with all of this expansion crap that has been happening recently:

    Oops.. Wrong question.  
    The real question that must be asked is: When will the NCAA stop this masquerade of amateurism and call a spade a spade? 
    If the Olympics have proven anything, they have proven that amateurism has been and always will be a joke. It baffles me that the NCAA isn't able to recognize something that they have known in Europe decades ago. It is no longer about education for these kids, that's for non-revenue sports and Division III. Major college athletic departments in the age of the BCS are pro sports clubs minus the benefits to the athletes.

    It's gotten to the point where I don't care anymore if Reggie Bush's parents got a house, or if Nevin Shapiro paid for a few kids to bang prostitutes, because the NCAA has created a situation in which there is so much incentive to cheat, and if you're not cheating, you're losing. It is very similar to the steroid era in baseball when great players like Barry Bonds juiced so that they could keep up with good players who were putting up massive numbers because they had some chemical help, or any sprinter who saw how incredible steroids made Ben Johnson.

    The problem: There is no equitable solution. Other than raising minimum admissions standards, (which schools have found ways to get around,) there is no way that the NCAA can fix things without exponentially increasing the size of their investigation/enforcement staff and doing constant audits on every single school, which is simply not feasible, so we will likely see BS like this until major college football schools break off from the NCAA and form a competitor to the NFL.

    Villanova's Track World Champions

    Eamonn Coghlan

    With the IAAF Track and Field World Championships wrapping up this past weekend, I figured it would be a great time to reflect on Villanova's two (Irish) World Outdoor Track & Field Champions. The World Championships have only been around since 1983, so that would explain the relatively small number compared to Villanova's Olympic gold medalists.

    In 1983, Eamonn Coghlan was arguably the biggest star in all of Ireland. Earlier in that season, he set the world record in the indoor mile at the Meadowlands. His biggest accomplishment that year however, was when he became the first ever World Track and Field Champion in the 5000m run at Helsinki. After learning the news of Eamonn's championship, Bono interrupted the U2 concert that evening in Dublin to announce to the crowd that he had won a world championship.

    In the mid-90's, Sonia O'Sullivan (no relation to Marcus) was to Ireland what Eamonn was a decade earlier, only better. In 1995, she won the first ever women's 5000m race at the World Championships in Gothenburg, and looked to be in prime position to medal in the Atlanta Olympics. Unfortunately, she disappointed when she was struck with a gastrointestinal illness (one of the primary uses for Pepto Bismol, and something that I refuse to believe exists in women) and failed to medal. She was able to redeem herself four years later when she won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics, the most recent individual Olympic medal by a Villanova graduate.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Crippling Villanova Football Injuries Through The Years

    Norman White is a team captain and was expected to be the leading play maker on a Villanova offense in transition. After going down with a Lisfranc fracture in his foot, White will not be a factor on the team this season,  but will get the opportunity to play out his eligibility next season. This is not the first time this has happened to a Villanova football team (it happens to them quite frequently in fact), and it will surely not be the last.

    Here are some comparable injuries from the past 15 seasons

    1999: Brian Westbrook- In the spring of 1999, Brian Westbrook was coming off the greatest statistical season in Villanova history, when he became the first player in NCAA history to gain 1,000 yards on the ground and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. During the winter however, Westbrook suffered an injury to his left knee, a joint which had been plagued by injuries since he was in high school and led to an abbreviated NFL career despite his effectiveness whenever he was on the field. The 1999 team had promise, but they were hamstrung by the injury to Westbrook and as a result, Chris Boden was forced to throw it an ungodly number of times and Murle Sango set the still standing school record for receptions in a season, something that would have been unlikely with the presence of Westbrook, who would have taken away some of Sango's targets.

    2003: Matt Chila- The 2003 football season started out great for Villanova, and senior tight end Matt Chila was arguably the best player on the team regardless of position. Mid way through that season, Chila suffered a knee injury that was, according to A Season In Purgatory by Tony Moss "so gruesome that few who witnessed it could stomach recounting the tale," and Villanova completely collapsed down the stretch, losing three of four to teams they should have beaten. There was also the matter of Marvin Burroughs replacing Joe Casamento at quarterback which may or may not have been a blunder in and of itself, but clearly the season ending injury to Chila did irreparable harm to a promising team.

    2004: Ray Ventrone- 2004 started in a similarly promising fashion to 2003, and just like in 2003, Villanova suffered an injury that changed the rest of the season, although this time it was to a defensive player. When Ray Ventrone went down with a fractured fibula, the Villanova defense went from one that was the strength of the team to one that was sub par at best. In the two weeks that immediately followed Ventrone's injury, the team gave up 85 points in two losses and at that point, the season was already over.

    2005: Marvin Burroughs- I don't know if anything could have made the 2005 team good, but Marvin Burroughs' injury in the season opener at Rutgers virtually guaranteed that the 2005 season would be a woeful one. Burroughs' backup, Frank Jankowski performed admirably given the circumstances, but the sophomore was unable to make up for the fact that the 2005 Villanova defense was the most inept in the modern era of the program.

    2007: Antwon Young- You could say that this was a blessing in disguise because it led to the rise of Chris Whitney, but at the time this was a horrible misfortune. Antwon Young was leading the conference in touchdown passes before he suffered a knee injury and he didn't look to be slowing down. Villanova lost two close games against UMass and Richmond that Antwon would have given the team a better shot at winning. It's a moot point though because Whitney took over and was a badass for four years.

    2010: Matt Szczur- Although this injury wasn't of the season ending variety, the coaches had absolutely no contingency plan for it and the team wasn't ready to lose him. Matt Szczur's injury cost Villanova  at least one home playoff game, and who knows what would have happened had the team not needed to travel 7,000 miles in three weeks. 

    So this Villanova team is not in a unique situation. The 2005 or 2007 seasons are perhaps the most analogous to this season. It will be interesting to see if the lack of Norman White for an entire season will allow the coaches to sufficiently alter their plans on offense.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Matt Szczur Rides The Bus: End of Regular Season Edition

    After a very nice start in Lo-A Peoria, former Villanova basketball and football star Matt Szczur showed that he still had a ways to go in his quest to get to the Majors with the struggles he had once he was promoted to Advanced-A. Among other things, Szczur generated a Francoeurian five walks in 182 plate appearances once he was promoted, along with getting extra base hits at a similar clip that he was in Peoria.

    Daytona stats:
    182 PA
    .260 BA

    .283 OBP
    .410 SLG
    5 HR
    7 2B
    2 3B
    5 BB
    20 K
    7 SB
    0 CS

    There are some nice things there, like the 10 total Home Runs in the season, and the very nice stolen base success, but without an uptick in walks or extra base hits Szczur is going to be nearly totally dependent on luck as he continues his career. I trust that he'll make adjustments, but as of right now, he's not even close to the major leagues.

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Week One CAA Scores

    It turns out that Villanova wasn't the only CAA team that had a tough time stepping up against a team that had 22 more scholarships. In all, only one CAA team was able to beat an FBS team when Richmond squeaked out a tight win over Duke. At the same time, every team in the conference that was supposed to win, did win.

    Thursday Scores:
    Temple 42 Villanova 7
    Toledo 58 UNH 22
    UMass 24 Holy Cross 16

    UNC 42 JMU 10
    Navy 40 Delaware 17
    Maine 28 Bryant 13
    Virginia 40 William & Mary 3
    ODU 41 Campbell 14
    Towson 42 Morgan St. 3
    Richmond 23 Duke 21

    So with the exception of an upset against a historically futile FBS team, the CAA teams got smoked when they stepped up. Towson was able to explode for 42 points against Morgan State, something that should give Villanova fans a reason to respect The Tigers.  I think if anything, this week's results show that the gap is widening between teams with 85 scholarships and teams with 63 as only two FCS teams prevailed over FBS opponents.

    Don't forget, the Andy Talley Radio Show starts tomorrow night at 8 PM on 950 AM.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Villanova Loses To Temple 42-7

    Big..   Recap not necessary. Now excuse me while I go to New York and get hammered.

    It was like this:

    21-0 Convicts At The Half


    Time to Neutralize The Waste- Villanova-Temple Preview

    Earlier this offseason, I set out on a mission to use Google as a tool to express my dissatisfaction for Temple's habit of spending more money than I believe they should on athletics. Thanks to some (unsolicited) help from friends such as, Temple's official athletics website is the second unique result when you search for Pennsylvania Government Waste on Google. I would like to call my efforts success, but they are still very much a work in progress. 

    Well, now it's time to move on to the more important issues at hand. It's a new season, a new Villanova team, and there should be new expectations. Unfortunately for this team is going to be burdened by similar lofty expectations as their predecessors. They can either play up to those expectations, or they can fall flat and play terribly. I know it's cliche to say this, but how they perform is strictly contingent on how quickly a freshman quarterback and a young offensive line can get into sync. With a young team, the only expectation one should have for this season is for the team to be inconsistent. I don't know if a preseason top 15 ranking is fair to this team, but if things go the right way early, it's possible.

    As For Temple? Frankly, I'm not sold on them. Temple lost all but one of their defensive playmakers from last season, lost the coach that brought the program back from the brink and decided to replace him with a guy who wasn't very popular among the fans at his previous post based on his play calling alone. As for the makeup of their team? They have an unsettled quarterback situation, a starting running back who is made out of glass and a defense that lost two early NFL draft picks. Temple could very well win the MAC East, but Villanova could probably challenge for that title most years without the advantage of having 85 scholarships.

    What to Look For: 
    1. Offensive Line Play: When a player like Ben Ijalana graduates, reshuffling is inevitable, but when Chidozie Ekweozor, his presumptive replacement blew out his knee in spring, "implosion" is probably a better word for the situation than reshuffling. Expect to see no fewer than two true freshmen starting on the offensive line  today.
    2. Dustin Thomas: With a patchwork offensive line, quick decision making is vital for offensive success. Dustin Thomas must make decisions as if he's a senior. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be excited to see a new quarterback, because it hasn't happened in a while.
    3. Wide Receivers: Since senior Norman White will not be playing tonight, and may not play all season, pray to God that the receivers look halfway decent. Also, blame the turf at Villanova stadium because everyone has been getting injured since that shit was installed. Look for players like Joe Price and true freshman Clay Horne to contribute at White's split end position.
    4. The Heisman Trophy: Bernard Pierce is a legit contender according to this website.
    5. Trickery: I fear I've said to much, but chicanery has always been a staple of the Andy Talley gameplan.
    Have a good time at the game people.

    TV (Video):
    Radio: 950 AM – ESPN Radio/97.5 FM (Villanova) 1210AM WPHT (Temple Feed)