We have spent a fair amount of time this season talking on here and elsewhere about Villanova's potential move to the Big East for football. I don't think it's sticking my neck out there too much to say that much of the conversation has been based a lot more on speculation than fact.
Here's something that might change that imbalance a bit. I spoke with Wildcats coach Andy Talley about the various rumors at the local college football coaches luncheon yesterday, and Talley offered an update on proceedings without much prompting.
As far as what's been going on behind the scenes, it's been very quiet. I think Villanova is doing their due diligence, which is to spend time within the administrative level discussing pros and cons. And any discussion that's been going between Big East officials and Villanova, I haven't been privy to.
So I know a decision is going to be made some time in December, we hope, and at that point in time, it's really going to be whatever is in the best interest of Villanova University.
Talley also admitted that while he's tried to keep the off-the-field discussions separate from on-the-field matters, the rumors and speculation have been "a distraction" to his team. Granting that the conversations between Villanova and the Big East are going on whether anyone likes it or not, Talley said he has enough to deal with in the CAA.
Our players have not discussed it at all, and I've not discussed it with our players in any way, shape or form. Because as I mentioned earlier, it is a distraction to us. We're in-season now, and really, we're not interested. We're an FCS football team trying to survive in an animal league. So we really have not even talked with the players about that.
Now I am going to stick my neck out a bit. I really don't care whether Villanova makes the move or not, but I do care about the tone of the conversation that's been going on across many blogs and Twitter over the course of this season. I know a lot of people who are very passionate about this, and I suspect you do too.
It does no one any good to try to spin one's wishes and hopes into statements that people might perceive as facts, or at the very least rumors with substance. I've certainly tried to stir the pot on here a few times, but I've tried to do it in a way that hasn't made it sound like I know what's actually going to happen. I'm not so sure that even Villanova's administration knows at this point what's going to happen in the end.
What I hope is that everyone who writes about this story, whether as a professional journalist or a blogging fan, uses as many facts and as few rumors as possible. I don't care who writes about it or who talks to whom. If news gets broken on a blog, fine; especially when it comes to college sports, many blogs out there cover specific schools much more closely than the mainstream media can.
I guess what it comes down to is this. If you hear something, and you write your own blog, put it out there, but put a name to the source of the information. If the source wants to be anonymous, at least give your readers some kind of idea of where the statement is coming from. That will save fans and journalists alike from chasing wild geese across the Internet.
Alright, enough of that. Let's talk about some real football and look ahead to Saturday's action. I'm heading north to West Haven, Conn., to cover Penn's first Ivy League road game of the season at Yale. I'll be hosting a live chat during the game, and I'll also be writing a story for the Inquirer. The kickoff is at noon, and if you get the YES Network you can watch the game on TV.
Local Sagarin rankings
Each team's ranking progression through the season is listed from left to right.
56. Delaware (35-48-66-92-65-106-112)
62. Penn State (66-32-22-22-27-24-10)
70. Temple (65-56-50-46-60-59-99)
79. Villanova (95-77-72-69-71-104-64)
82. Rutgers (107-86-67-53-57-39-60)
163. Penn (199-140-131-131-128-130-135)
168. Lehigh (197-168-162-168-143-146)
232. Lafayette (236-207-198-204-220-141-156)
233. Princeton (234-201-181-208-187-189-187)
240. Bucknell (244-237-238-235-235-230-213)
241. Delaware State (241-230-227-221-222-220-204)
Delaware remains the top-ranked I-AA team in Sagarin. Among the I-A teams ranked below the undefeated Blue Hens (7-0) are Georgia Tech, Northwestern and Tennessee, all of which play nationally televised games this weekend. Delaware's game at William & Mary will air on the Comcast Network at 12 p.m.
Villanova's home game against James Madison will not be televised at all, despite the fact that both teams are ranked in the top 15 of the Sports Network's Top 25 poll, and that the series has produced some terrific games over the last few years.
Sagarin predictions for selected games
I-A rankings are by the BCS standings, I-AA rankings are by The Sports Network. All games are Saturday unless otherwise noted. The current Sagarin home-field advantage factor is 3.50 points.
Temple at Buffalo (12:00 p.m., WPVI-6): Temple by 5 (69.39 to 60.47 + 3.50)
Penn State at Minnesota (12:00 p.m., ESPNU): Penn State by 10 (70.77 to 57.53 + 3.50)
No. 20 Penn at Yale (12:00 p.m., YES Network): Yale by 1 (49.46 + 3.50 to 51.93)
No. 11 James Madison at No. 6 Villanova (3:30 p.m.): Villanova by 5 (67.35 + 3.50 to 65.60)
Notre Dame vs. Navy at East Rutherford, N.J. (12:00 p.m., CBS): Notre Dame by 5 (77.51 to 72.37)
No. 6 Louisiana State at No. 4 Auburn (3:30 p.m., CBS): Auburn by 4 (86.38 to 87.67 + 3.50)
No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 15 Iowa (3:30 p.m., ABC): Wisconsin by 7 (83.19 to 72.27 + 3.50)
No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 11 Missouri (8:00 p.m., ABC): Missouri by 2 (89.12 + 3.50 to 90.80)
Yes, Yale is favored to beat Penn. I have my doubts about that, so we'll see whether the computers or the humans get it right this time.