Call 2009 local college football’s version of the “Perfect Storm.”
Start with Football Championship Subdivision power Villanova (10-1), which opened the season by knocking off Temple and is now Colonial Athletic Association champions. They’ll host Holy Cross on Saturday as the No. 2 seed in the FCS playoffs.
Add Penn, which ended a six-year string of futility by winning the Ivy League outright for the 11th time, seventh in the Al Bagnoli era. The Quakers (8-2) ran the Ivies, losing only to ‘Nova and Lafayette.
Finally, mix in Temple, which hadn’t had a winning season since 1990 and only two in 30 years. The Owls (9-2) are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. They play at Ohio University on Friday for the right to face Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference title tilt. Then, almost certainly a Bowl game.
“I think everything came together this year,’’ said Bagnoli. “It’s unusual to have three schools within a few miles all playing for a championship in different leagues.”
“We’ve been a good football team for a long time and so has Penn,’’ Villanova coach Andy Talley said. “Now Temple, which has been down so long, has made the switch. So, this is the first chance for all three teams to be at an elite level.”
Will it be the last? Not necessarily. According to Temple coach Al Golden, the rebirth of college football in Philadelphia goes hand in hand with the rebirth of the city itself.
“There’s never been a better time to be in the city of Philadelphia,’’ said the Temple coach.
“Whether you live here, invest here, own a restaurant here or play football, we’re all benefactors of the renaissance of Philadelphia. We’re happy to do our part.”