Delaware 2010 News, Notes and Previews

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A full 30% of my extended family graduated from the University of Delaware, I watched my first college football game in Delaware Stadium, and I've spent many summers and holidays milling around slower-lower.

It is easy to say the Delaware Blue Hens are one of my favorite football teams, right up there with Pitt. One of the storylines I follow regarding the whole conference realignment saga is the Big East's need to add at least one more team to balance the football schedule. Could Delaware's upcoming stadium expansion indicate Blue Hen interest in moving up to the big time? As it is, their stadium has the 16th largest capacity in the D1-AA, and their average attendance is 4th in all of D1-AA. The stadium needs to be brought up to date if they want to continue attracting the backwash transfer athletes of top D1-A teams.

Delaware has the tradition and they have a history of success, but they have, to date, shown little interest in moving up to the next level. After this planned expansion they won't have any problem filling the stadium at 30,000 seats, but Delaware alone doesn't deliver any serious TV markets. Coupled with Villanova the Hens could make a splash in Philly, but adding Delaware in all sports kind of defeats the purpose of bringing Villanova football up to D1-A for Big East football's sake. A basketball/football split within the Big East might convince Villanova to bring their football team up, but for all their recent success who knows what Villanova football would bring to the Big East? The Philly media market?.. maybe.

With Delaware the known quantity is their football - they have stability in their methods and throughout their football program. This, taken with their history that indicates that Delaware could compete at the 1-A level. On the other hand, they provide no prize market, and for all of their success they have never hinted that they were interested in 1-A football. That doesn't necessarily mean that the time isn't right to move.

The upcoming stadium expansion will bring Delaware's gameday facilities up to date, and it should place them in a position where they can evaluate their program and consider a move from there. Perhaps I'm applying my own big wishes to Delaware's construction plan, but Delaware has long deserved the challenge of playing Div. 1-A football. Once they go to 30,000 seats they won't even have to sell the building out to claim the top attendance #s in the FCS. (PDF)

Anyway, there's a lot of good Delaware stuff floating around this summer. Phil Steele ranks the Blue Hens #15 FCS and has his in-depth preview available here (PDF).

A brief Delaware preview by the Sporting News. In short, the Blue Hens are seen as a surprise team in the CAA and return 26 players with starting experience.

JMU Sports Blog has a Delaware preview up as well and there is some good stuff over there as well.

2010 JMUSB Prediction: 8-3, 5-3 CAA – with no FBS game, they could end up the very definition of a bubble team. No more divisioins in the CAA should help though because they might be fourth overall and might have been fourth in the old CAA South.

If you're inclined go ahead and hit all those links, they all are very interesting reads.



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