Foles, Eagles, Foles!: A legend is born. @FakeWIPCaller is ready to call the Eagles' quarterback controversy.

Foles, Eagles, Foles!: A legend is born. @FakeWIPCaller is ready to call the Eagles' quarterback controversy.

In Sunday's thrilling victory over Tampa Bay, Eagles fans got a glimpse at the future of the franchise -- and that future is Nick Foles.
Not only did Foles throw for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, but he was poised, confident, and didn't choke at all. Foles led the first-place Eagles to a big victory and brought the Birds' supposed "quarterback controversy" to an instant end. He even ran for a touchdown, putting forever to rest that stupid idea about Foles not being able to run.

It's more clear than ever that Nick Foles -- and not Michael Vick, Matt Barkley or some other quarterback in next year's draft -- is the future of this team. Merrill Reese said on the morning show Wednesday that he wouldn't trade Foles for the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, and it's hard to disagree with him.

Let's look at Foles' two starts against the Bucs, both last December and Sunday, which represent a pretty fair cross-section of his ability. Foles threw for a total of 54 completions, 677 yards and 5 touchdowns. And, of course, two wins. Donovan McNabb, we all remember, couldn't beat the Bucs in 2003. Foles beat them in both 2012 and 2013.

And the best part of all is, he's only going to get better.

Foles, assuming Chip Kelly doesn't do something foolish like let Vick start on Sunday, will now have a chance to further cement his legend with a signature victory next Sunday against the Cowboys.

With Chip's offense in place and a frontline quarterback like Foles, my only concern is the Eagles' defense. If things don't improve soon, I'm concerned the Eagles will squander Nick Foles' prime.
We've been hearing since last year about that awesome quarterback class in the 2012 draft that's going to thoroughly shake up the league. Andrew Luck. RG3. Russell Wilson. Has Nick Foles' name been on that list?

No.

Not yet.

But after Sunday, it will be.

Other Philly sports takes:

- And how about Riley Cooper, huh? Four catches, 120 yards, a touchdown and complete redemption. I sure hope everyone who's bashed Cooper the last few weeks- especially the ones who wanted him cut in training camp- are ready to line up and apologize.

- On his weekly interview on the morning show Monday, Chip Kelly joked that if Angelo Cataldi were out for any period of time and the other members of the crew hosted in his place, the show "wouldn't miss a beat." That tells me one thing about Chip: He listens to the WIP morning show.

- It was great to see Danny Trejo, the actor who plays "Machete," show up at a Flyers game last week. But why didn't the Flyers offer him a contract, to play on the blue line? We know Trejo  can win a fight, and so what if he's almost 70 years old- he's not that much older than Jagr.

- For way too long, the Flyers organization has been living in the past of the '70s. Now, with Ron Hextall in the front office and Craig Berube coaching, they're finally, at last, living in the '80s. And if Berube doesn't work out, I'm all for the triumphant return to the bench of Mike Keenan.

- Speaking of which, I'm so glad to hear the Phillies have brought Larry Bowa back to the coaching staff. Having both him and Ed Wade back in the organizational fold really brings back the Phils' glory days. Anything to wash off the stink of the Charlie Manuel years. I can't wait for Bobby Abreu to be named special assistant.

- My Phillies offseason plan? Trade Ryan Howard for pitching. Move Jimmy Rollins down in the order. Spend some money on free agents for once. And most importantly, trade Domonic Brown. Boom- first place, here we come.

You can follow @FakeWIPCaller on Twitter

Instant Replay: Villanova topples Creighton, clinches Big East title outright

Instant Replay: Villanova topples Creighton, clinches Big East title outright

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA – Sophomore transfer Eric Paschall scored a team-high 19 points – including five dunks – and Kris Jenkins added 15, as No. 2 Villanova pulled away late to beat No. 23 Creighton, 79-63, and clinch the 2017 Big East Conference regular-season title outright.

Paschall, starting during Darryll Reynolds’ injury absence, shot 8 for 12 from the field and added six rebounds.

Creighton’s last lead was 45-43 six minutes into the second half, but a Paschall slam and Jenkins’ first three after five misses sparked a 16-4 run that gave the Wildcats a 59-49 lead with 8 ½ minutes left. Creighton got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Paschall’s career high is a 31-point game for Fordham against NYIT on Nov. 14, 2014.

Villanova again struggled from three-point range but had tremendous success attacking the basket, especially in the second half of the final game at the Pavilion for two years.

The Wildcats shot just 17 percent from three (3 for 18) but 69 percent from 2 (24 for 35) and repeatedly got to the foul line in the second half, when they were 14 for 18.

Jenkins again struggled from three (1 for 7) yet still finished with 15 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.

Josh Hart shot 7 for 11 for 16 points and added seven rebounds and three assists.

Villanova opened a streaky first half by taking a 7-0 lead, but Creighton hit four straight threes in less than two minutes and led by three. Villanova then went on a 17-2 run and led by as many as 10 points before Creighton finished the half on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 33.

There were seven lead changes in the first seven minutes of the second half, but Villanova finally pulled away and outscored Creighton 36-18 over the last 14 minutes.

Mikal Bridges added 11 points and eight rebounds for Villanova, while Jalen Brunson had nine points and three assists.

Freshman Dante DiVincenzo came off the bench to contribute nine points and four rebounds for Villanova.

What it means
Villanova improved to 27-3 overall and 14-3 in the Big East, clinching the conference title outright. Entering play Saturday, only Villanova or Butler was in position to win the conference title, with Villanova holding a magic number of one.

Villanova, which lost to Butler on Wednesday, has now won 12 straight games immediately following losses (15 if you carry over to the next year).

The Wildcats last lost consecutive games at the end of the 2012-2013 season, when they fell to Louisville in the Big East quarterfinals and to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Creighton fell to 22-7 overall and 9-7 in the Big East. The Bluejays are 4-6 since an 18-1 start.

Stat of the day
Marcus Foster had 25 points and eight assists, becoming the first player with 25 points and five assists against Villanova since Ben Hansbrough of Notre Dame, who had 30 points and 10 rebounds (and five steals) in a 93-72 win over Villanova on Feb. 28, 2011 at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind.

Turning point 
Villanova led by one at 48-47 when Jenkins finally buried a three for a four-point lead.

Moving out
This was Villanova’s last game at the Pavilion for about 20 months. Villanova will play most of its home games at the Wells Fargo Center next year while renovations are made to the Pavilion.

Villanova is 293-62 all-time at the Pavilion, which opened in 1985. That includes a 131-12 mark since the start of the 2004-2005 season.

By the numbers
Khyri Thomas scored 17 points for the Bluejays … Creighton was 7 for 14 from three in the first half but 4 for 13 in the second half ... Villanova has won six straight against Creighton since a 101-80 loss in February of 2014 when Doug McDermott scored 39 … Reynolds, Villanova’s second-leading rebounder at 5.5 per game, sat out a fifth straight game with a rib injury.  

What's next
Villanova has a week off before facing Georgetown at the Verizon Center in Washington at noon Saturday. Georgetown is 14-15 overall and 5-11 in the Big East.

Phillies 6, Yankees 5: Maikel Franco, Rhys Hoskins, Brock Stassi shine with bats

ap-maikel-franco-phillies-spring-training.jpg
AP Images

Phillies 6, Yankees 5: Maikel Franco, Rhys Hoskins, Brock Stassi shine with bats

BOX SCORE

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pete Mackanin assembled what will probably end up being his opening day lineup for Saturday’s spring home opener against the Yankees.
 
He liked what he saw.
 
Especially from cleanup man Maikel Franco.
 
Franco’s big challenge in becoming a more complete player is to improve his selectivity at the plate. The 24-year-old third baseman looked pretty good in that area in three at-bats.
 
Franco fell behind 0-2 in his first at-bat then battled back to a full count before popping out in the second inning.
 
He smacked a homer to left on a 2-2 slider in the fourth and then in the sixth, he stroked a first-pitch gapper to left-center that went for an inside-the-park homer. The ball got stuck under the padding on the outfield wall and the umpire did not rule it a ground-rule double.
 
“Hey, you see my speed?” the not-so-fleet-footed Franco said with a laugh after coming out of the game. “It’s like Cesar’s (Hernandez) speed.”
 
Mackanin liked the totality of Franco’s at-bats, not just the results.
 
“He had two long, deep-count at-bats,” Mackanin said. “He worked the count deep and that was good to see.”
 
There are many miles to go before opening day, and Franco still has many miles to cover before he’s the complete player he wants to be and the selective hitter the front office wants to build around.
 
Franco vowed to keep working on it under new hitting coach Matt Stairs.
 
“He told me my focus should be when I stay to the middle of the field, I'll have a lot of success,” Franco said. “I am trying to work on it and put focus on it. I talked to (Howie) Kendrick about hitting and he's helped me. I'm going to stay on it every single day. I'm trying to do my job, trying to do the best I can.
 
“When I stay in the middle, when I try to hit the ball up the middle, something is going to happen. That's what I want to do, what I want to keep doing.”
 
Franco hit .255 with 25 homers and 88 RBIs last season, but his on-base percentage was just .306.
 
He was asked whether he had any personal goals for the season.
 
“The first thing is to try to be healthy,” he said. “I just want to play in 162 games. Other than that, I'll just do everything I can do.
 
“Every single day I want to do my best and not try to force the situation. I think I can do better than last year. This year should be very good and much better than last year.”
 
The game 
The Phillies won it, 6-5, on a walk-off RBI single by Brock Stassi in the bottom of the ninth inning. The hit scored Rhys Hoskins, who had doubled. Hoskins drove a homer to deep center earlier in the game.
 
Hoskins, who turns 24 in March, has 55 homers and 206 RBIs the last two seasons. He will move to Triple A this season and play first base.

Stassi is a candidate to win a job on the bench (see story). He hasn’t hurt himself in the first two games. He homered Friday and had the game-winning hit Saturday.
 
“I’m feeling pretty good early on,” he said. “Gotta keep it going.”
 
Pitching in
Adam Morgan pitched two scoreless innings. Prospect Ricardo Pinto pitched a scoreless inning. It’s not out of the question that he transition to the bullpen at some point this season.
 
Mark Appel showed his big stuff with three strikeouts in two innings of work, but his control problems also surfaced as he threw a wild pitch that resulted in two runs.
 
Up next
Probable opening day starter Jeremy Hellickson makes his spring debut Sunday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.
 
Here is the Phillies’ posted lineup for that game:
 
1. Cameron Perkins CF
2. J.P. Crawford SS
3. Daniel Nava LF
4. Cameron Rupp DH 
5. Andres Blanco 2B
6. Dylan Cozens RF
7. Ryan Hanigan C
8. Brock Stassi 1B
9. Taylor Featherston 3B
 
Right-hander Joe Biagini will start for Toronto.
 
Jerad Eickhoff will start for the Phillies against Tampa Bay on Monday. Clay Buchholz will start against Baltimore on Tuesday. Both of those games are in Clearwater.