A Season in Purgatory


A Season in Purgatory

Villanova and Life in College Football's Lower Class

Tony Moss

333 pages
11 Illus.


October 2007


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

At a school where basketball is king, the Villanova football team battles opponents both on and off the field. Low on cash and recruiting power, the Division I-AA Wildcats must constantly justify their existence to a prestigious academic institution and the students and alumni who bemoan the team’s “minor league” status. This story of Villanova’s 2005 season is an inside account of a football program wading through the political mire to bring glory to a school largely indifferent to its efforts.
Through the Wildcats' experience, Tony Moss explores the inner workings of college football, particularly the chasm between Division I-A, home of the most visible, successful programs, and Division I-AA, where crowds are smaller but competition is just as intense. As alumni and faculty question the cost of funding sixty-three football scholarships and a full-time coaching staff, Moss leaves us to decide whether the struggle is worth the cost to schools outside the spotlight and whether the game has any inherent value apart from the bottom line.

Author Bio

Tony Moss is NFL editor and columnist for The Sports Network, a wire service in suburban Philadelphia. His writing appears regularly on Web sites of newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, the Charlotte Observer, and the Miami Herald. He has been a weekly guest on ESPN Radio’s V Show with Bob Valvano.


“This is a great look from the inside on what makes [Andy Talley] and the Wildcats tick. It’ll give you a new appreciation of the sport on that level.”—Mike Kern, sports report and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News

“From late August through early January, major college football at the BCS level dominates the headlines and highlights even though the majority of schools have little chance of cashing in on the millions available. This book takes the reader closer to the reality of college football, from the cost to the level of play to the desire of the coaches to do things the right way.”—Todd Archer, reporter for the Dallas Morning News

"John Feinstein has set the standard for these all-access, season-long-college-sports books, but Moss can play in his league. This is an intelligent, informative, and humane look inside a side of college football that fans seldom see."—Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

"This year promises to be different for local readers. . . . Moss’s new book is all about the political issues of its subject matter. . . .  There is a lot more going on in the world of football that makes for interesting reading than the usual annual fare."—Gary Laney, Lake Charles American Press

"Villanova football fans . . . and anybody else with an interest in I-AA football or the local sports scene should pick up the just-published book A Season in Purgatory, subtitled Villanova and Life in College Football's Lower Class. Author Tony Moss, who spent the 2005 season with Andy Talley's team, has a good eye for the big picture and the telling detail.”—Mike Jensen, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"In chronicling a year following the Division I AA football team at Villanova University, where basketball is the dominant sport, Moss makes a clear and convincing case for the plight of these universities."—Randy Hearn, Aethlon

Table of Contents


Author’s Note


Chapter 1 – Huddling

Chapter 2 – The Coach

Chapter 3 – Gearing Up

Chapter 4 – The Big Time

Chapter 5 – Lightning Striking Again

Chapter 6 – The Fourth Estate

Chapter 7 – Recovery

Chapter 8 – Bitten By the Spiders

Chapter 9 – Academically Speaking

Chapter 10 – Coming Home

Chapter 11 – The Prospect

Chapter 12 – Outlaw in Charm City

Chapter 13 – Reaching for the Top

Chapter 14 – The Rivalry

Chapter 15 – Endgame

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