The Wildcats will open the 2016 Football season ranked 23rd in the nation.
Villanova finished out of the playoffs in 2015, after superstar quarterback John Robertson’s knee injury forced them to hand the reigns of the offense over to freshman Zach Bednarczyk a season earlier than expected. Bednarczyk was turnover-prone as a freshman, but showed some promise.
The Wildcats return a lot of familiar faces on both sides of the ball, and should be particularly strong on defense. While linebacker Don Cherry will be missed this fall, Austin Calitro will become one of the leaders of a strong linebacker corps, and defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon is expected to turn in a very strong season. If some of the young players get off to a fast start this season, the ‘Cats could turn in a strong performance this Fall to send-off the program’s longtime coach, Andy Talley.
That’s why the ‘Cats open the season in the STATS FCS Preseason top-25 poll. Voted on by a panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers, and other FCS “dignitaries,” the STATS poll is the most-respected ranking of FCS football programs.
The poll is topped by North Dakota State for the sixth year in a row -- no surprise, given their five-straight national titles.
Villanova is joined by five other programs from the CAA. Richmond checks in highest on the list at 4th, followed by number-nine William & Mary and number-12 JMU. The Wildcats are bookended by number-22 New Hampshire and number-24 Towson.
|1||North Dakota State (0-0)||3941 (152)||NR|
|2||Sam Houston State (0-0)||3636 (2)||NR|
|3||Jacksonville State (0-0)||3569 (4)||NR|
|7||Charleston Southern (0-0)||2734||NR|
|8||South Dakota State (0-0)||2554||NR|
|9||William & Mary (0-0)||2517||NR|
|10||Illinois State (0-0)||2303||NR|
|11||McNeese State (0-0)||2151||NR|
|12||James Madison (0-0)||2037||NR|
|14||Eastern Washington (0-0)||1879||NR|
|16||Coastal Carolina (0-0)||1397||NR|
|17||Portland State (0-0)||1262||NR|
|18||Northern Arizona (0-0)||1189||NR|
|19||North Dakota (0-0)||977||NR|
|20||Western Illinois (0-0)||876||NR|
|22||New Hampshire (0-0)||657||NR|
|25||North Carolina A&T (0-0)||395||NR|