Nov. 17, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. - On a riveting final day of the regular season the dust finally settled on Saturday night and Villanova (8-3, 6-2 CAA) received an automatic bid to the Division I Football Championship in addition to sharing the CAA Football title in a multi-way tie for first place at the top of the league standings. The conference office announced that the Wildcats were the league's designated automatic bid to the playoff field of 20 teams after various tiebreakers came into play.
The brackets for the Division I Football Championship will be announced on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Watch live on ESPNU and then stay tuned to Villanova.com following the announcement for details on when the Wildcats will play their first game in the playoffs.
Villanova head coach Andy Talley will lead his Wildcats into the postseason for the 10th time in his career, including the fourth time in the last five years. This year's selection marks the second time since 2009 that Villanova has gone into the Division I Football Championship as the CAA automatic bid.
Earlier on Saturday the Wildcats won their final game of the regular season, beating Delaware on the road by a 41-10 margin to improve their record to 8-3 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Five of the six games on the CAA schedule on Saturday had major playoff implications for at least one of the teams.
The final regular season conference standings resulted in Old Dominion having a 7-1 league record, while Villanova was part of a four-way tie for second place with a 6-2 mark. The other teams with a 6-2 record are New Hampshire, Richmond and Towson.
Old Dominion was not eligible for the conference title because it is moving up to the FBS level and Conference USA next season. Not all of the teams with a 6-2 mark had faced each other season (for example Villanova did not face New Hampshire) and the next tiebreaker was results against the common opponent occupying the highest position in the league standings.
All four of the teams with a 6-2 record had played Old Dominion and from that group Villanova is the only team to have defeated the Monarchs. On October 13 in Norfolk the Wildcats scored a 38-14 victory over Old Dominion, which entered that game ranked No. 3 in the country.
Villanova has now won at least a share of a conference championship for the sixth time in Talley's coaching tenure. The Wildcats were co-champions of the Yankee Conference in 1989 and 1991, won outright Atlantic 10 championships in 1997 and 2001 and also were the CAA outright champion back in 2009.
Even with all of the success that Villanova has had in the past five years it is an absolutely remarkable accomplishment for Talley to lead this particular team to a league championship. Last season a young Wildcats team finished with a 2-9 overall record and had just one conference victory.
This year, with many of the same players on the field, Villanova has stormed through the regular season with a dominant rushing game and terrific defense. The Wildcats finished the regular season as the leading rushing team in the CAA with 2,897 rushing yards and an average of 263.4 yards on the ground per game. The rushing attack is led by sophomore running back Kevin Monangai (Roseland, N.J.), who leads the CAA with 1,190 rushing yards (108.2 yards per game).
On the defensive end Villanova is giving up 21.0 points per game and owns a +10.2 scoring margin as well as a +5 turnover margin. Each of the Wildcats eight victories this season have come by double digits, with the closest win being by 15 points against Fordham (28-13) and then-No. 9 James Madison (35-20).
Villanova has an all-time record of 10-8 (.556) in the Division I Football Championship, including a 7-2 mark (.778) in its last three playoff appearances. The Wildcats reached the quarterfinals of the playoffs in 2008, won their first-ever national championship in 2009 and advanced to the semifinals in 2010.