SPOTLIGHT ON . . . WILLIAM & MARY AT 'NOVA

Villanova coach Andy Talley said it's a game he would pay to see. But they'll probably let him in for free Saturday afternoon, and give him one of the best vantage points, when his team hosts William & Mary at 3:30.

It's his second-ranked club in Division I-AA, or the Football Championship Subdivision, against No. 5. Both have beaten a I-A, or Football Bowl Subdivision, opponent (Temple and Virginia, respectively). But if you can't get to the Main Line, you can watch on Versus. It's the first time a Colonial Athletic Association game has been telecast nationally.

"I think it's going to be great," Talley said. "We'll find out where we are."

It's the Wildcats' (4-0, 1-0) fifth consecutive game in Philadelphia. Next week they're at No. 6 New Hampshire, followed by a trip to No. 7 James Madison, which beat them twice a year ago, including a four-pointer down there in the national quarterfinals. On Nov. 7, they'll head to top-ranked Richmond, the defending national champs.

Last September, the Wildcats beat Richmond at home. The following month they lost to top-ranked JMU at home on a "Hail Mary" on the final snap.

This is the Wildcats' third appearance on national TV. In 1987, they lost to Holy Cross and Gordie Lockbaum (remember him?) at home on a Thursday night, 39-6. And in 2002, they lost at McNeese State (39-28) in a national semifinal.

"This [stretch] will be a real test," Talley said. "I hope we have enough. This is critical for us. You have to win on the road in the CAA. But we have to get this one first, then see what we can do. We're handling it like a playoff game. That's the only way you can look at it. It'll be that kind of atmosphere.

"We get a lot of national exposure from our basketball program. But people recognize that we've got a pretty good football program as well. And have for a long time. That's good for our alumni. There's a buzz about our program now. There's some interest in what we're doing." *

- Mike Kern