Last week, I said people around the country are starting to understand that James Madison is a pretty damn good FCS football team.
Apparently, someone at College Football Gameday was also paying attention to the Dukes as well.
At 7-0, James Madison University was chosen as the site for ESPN's pregame show College Football Gameday, to highlight their game versus another Top 25 school, Richmond.
It's not the first time College Football Gameday has elected to cover an FCS school. The nationwide program has already made a couple stops in Fargo, North Dakota to cover the North Dakota State Bison, and last year the hot rumor was that Gameday was going to cover Lehigh vs. Lafayette's 150th celebration at Yankee Stadium, but ultimately decided to go with Harvard vs. Yale, as "The Game" was for an Ivy League championship and "The Rivalry" ended up being for pride.
Harrisonburg, Virginia I'm sure will be a great host for Gameday. It's also worth mentioning Dukes fans, and possibly their athletics reps, will be doing a great job showcasing Bridgeforth Stadium and their "FBS-ready" program. Already some have taken to the papers to talk a little about an FBS move.
And why not? I don't blame them. As much as I like the Dukes in FCS, I can very much see their team end up in the FBS eventually, ideally as a travel partner/rival to Old Dominion in Conference USA.
1: James Madison Dukes
2: Jacksonville State Gamecocks
3: Illinois State Redbirds
4: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
5: Harvard Crimson
6: Eastern Washington Eagles
7: Chattanooga Mocs
8: North Dakota State Bison
9: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
10: Dartmouth Big Green
11: Richmond Spiders
12: McNeese State Cowboys
13: Portland State Vikings
14: Fordham Rams
15: Sam Houston State Bearkats
16: Southern Utah Thunderbirds
17: Indiana State Sycamores
18: William & Mary Tribe
19: Eastern Kentucky Colonels
20: Western Illinois Leathernecks
21: The Citadel Bulldogs
22: Weber State Wildcats
23: North Carolina A&T Aggies
24: Charleston Southern Buccaneers
25: South Dakota Coyotes
- Down go the Bison! Where to put the Bison? It was a dilemma that undoubtedly faced many voters this week as North Dakota State went down to hitherto unranked South Dakota. It's the Bison's second loss, and second FCS loss, but they're the Bison, the x4 National Champs. What do you do? Do you drop them to the lower reaches of the Top 20? Ultimately, I hedged. North Dakota State has made it harder on themselves, but they still look like a Top Ten team despite the two losses. And that's why I decided that it was more the great play of unheralded South Dakota instead of the Bison not being a good team. It was not easy, and in retrospect I probably should have put them a little bit lower. But I had a hard time putting South Dakota State, whom the Bison beat handlily on the road, and Dartmouth, who still is largely untested, ahead of them.
- Johnnies On The Five Spot. Harvard is unquestionably an elite team. Their 42-0 shutout of Lafayette was every bit as impressive as I'd thought it would be, and yet their out-of-conference schedule has also been exactly as uninspiring to the rest of FCS nation as I thought it would be. But their numbers are starting to become staggering. The Johnnies have given up a grand total of a field goal in three games, while averaging over 42 points per game in every contest this year. Brown, the best team they've played at 3-2, lost 53-27 to the Crimson, and it's been by far their most competitive game of the season thus far. Harvard takes on Princeton this coming week, and it will be very interesting to see how the Tigers do. But Harvard looks like such an elite team, it might not even be a contest. And it's a terrible shame that the rest of FCS nation won't be able to see them compete in the FCS playoffs.
- Weber State and Charleston Southern? It wasn't easy finding the teams that deserved to be in at the bottom of my Top 25, but when you look them over they definitely deserve it. Quietly, Weber State has defeated Montana and North Dakota in consecutive weeks and have only lost to Oregon State, North Dakota State and Southern Utah, another darling team I have in m Top 25 up at No. 16. Eastern Washington looms ahead in the coming weeks, but I like the Wildcats and they seem to have something going. Also on the quiet side, Charleston Southern has gone 5-1 and lost to Troy (expected) and beat East Tennessee State and D-II North Greenville (expected). However they've also beaten another team I have in my Top 25, The Citadel, and are also 2-0 in the conference with wins over Monmouth and Presbyterian. When Liberty played themselves out of the Big South championship this year, it was logical to have the Bucs take their place.