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Yeah, Villanova plays football, and it’s pretty good at that, too

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The basketball national champs aren’t a football high-major, so to speak, but they still win a lot.

Villanova v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Villanova just won its second men’s basketball national title in three years.

This has led some football-minded folks to wonder about the state of Wildcats football and whether that state exists. Well, for anyone who wondered that but did not find the time to research the matter, here are answers.

‘Nova football is at the FCS level, the second level of Division I, making the Wildcats the first and second non-FBS/I-A school to win March Madness since someone did it in 1985.

Who did it in 1985? Oh, Villanova.

(Yeah, this also means Michigan lost another high-profile game to an FCS school.)

The 2009 FCS football national champions* have made 12 playoff trips since 1989, most recently a trip to the second round in 2016. A 2-2-1 bowl record and three AP Poll top-20 finishes preceded the Division I split.

* Technically, the NCAA Division I champions, since the NCAA has nothing to do with the BCS/Playoff. That means the Wildcats had won an NCAA football title before their recent basketball titles. Good to see football schools do well in other sports.

Between Brian Finneran, Brian Westbrook, and John Robertson, the Wildcats have won as many Walter Payton Awards as anybody. That’s the FCS Heisman, so to speak.

Villanova’s in the prestigious Colonial Athletic Association for football, but nearly jumped to FBS to fully join the Big East a few years ago. The Big East gave up football shortly after that, morphing into the AAC, in which ‘Nova is a member for rowing, AKA the ultimate football gateway sport. (No, seriously.)

Nova’s not quite North Dakota State, but is still one of those FCS teams your FBS team shouldn’t ever schedule. Over the last four years, the Wildcats have played Boston College close, taken Syracuse to double overtime, nearly beaten Temple, and nearly beaten UConn. Since 1928, they’ve had a sporadic trophy fight (the Mayor’s Cup) with local rival Temple, and the Wildcats can tie up the all-time series record this season.

Anyway, the millions of you seeking more VU football information are in luck. Presumably, the football Wildcats continue to see a nice recruiting bump from all the basketball.

This is an updated version of a post from the last time Nova won the title.