This was the beginning of my favorite email about last week's Doomed Dukes piece. Why was it my favorite? Well, my young Elizabeth, let me count the ways:
1. I’m intrigued. Right out of the gate, this particular fellow — I’m not going to use his name, so let’s call him Orkin — this fellow has grabbed my attention with a great opening line. He sounds like a pro’s pro, a real writer’s writer. He must have an English degree from Syracuse University or something.
2. I’m very comfortable being called a roach. I’m sure there are a few ex-girlfriends from college who can tell you what an un-killable, unwelcome house guest I am.
3. Orkin seems like a very clever, street-savvy fellow. I, however, am not. I’m not familiar with this particular slang, but I do love to learn!
Faced with a new term I was unfamiliar with, I turned to an overwhelming source of pop culture knowledge and wisdom: my 54-year old parents.
“I don’t know what that means,” my mom texted me.
Sigh. I give up. I’m just going to read the rest of this email now.
“Yo Roach!! Don’t ever doubt JMU again!! Let alone write an article about how they are going to lose. You sound so stupid.”
But I… did you even… do you think… what? I’m just going to keep reading.
“Came back to bite ya right in the ass… didn’t it? ROACH!! Think next time before you speak.”
I think Orkin really liked my piece last week. It sounds like he read it diligently, absorbed the concept, reflected thoughtfully on why I might be trying to reverse jinx my own alma mater, and then got a concussion.
I can’t throw too much shade at my new friend Orkin though. In truth, there were quite a few fans of my new JMU series who may or may not have just stopped reading once they got through the title. Quite a few "readers" didn't understand the term concept of a reverse jinx, and made that clear by reaching out via Twitter, or email, or in the article’s comment section.
They wanted to make sure I had seen the final score of that beloved James Madison game. Many of the responses were quite similar in nature — "Nice prediction, clown. Go Dukes!"
You’re quite welcome! I’m just happy to be here.
Another email, from someone we’ll call French Fry: “Mr. Kiddy, I know your an alumnus of James Madison. After they’re 20 point win in a game you said they were ‘doomed’ in, what say you now? Can we expect your next article to reflect how much better JMU football is than you thought? Just curious.”
Well, French Fry, I’ve got bad news.
DOOMED DUKES: WHY JMU WILL TOTALLY LOSE TO EAST TENNESSEE STATE
For JMU, a win over East Carolina must feel awfully good. The Dukes have beaten an FCS team for the second time in three years, and they still own the longest winning streak in Division 1 football (currently at 13 games). The emotions must be running high.
But are they running… too high?
That’s right, folks. JMU is in prime position for a classic college football letdown game.
On paper, there aren’t too many substantive reasons why East Tennessee State will upset the Dukes. Unfortunately, they don’t play the games on paper, which is why it seems obvious that the Dukes are totally going down.
Let’s fast-forward to this Saturday afternoon. It’s going to be 74 degrees and picturesque in the Shenandoah Valley. JMU will recognize the 2016 national championship team in front of a raucous home crowd, eager to see the purple-clad champs. The Convocation lot will be rocking. Conley and Duke Dog will be posing for pictures. JMU will add to its 13-game winning streak, the best mark in Division 1 college football.
…Doesn’t it all sound a little too perfect?
East Tennessee State is good enough to surprise JMU, folks. JMU coach Mike Houston spoke highly of the Bucs earlier this week at a press conference, complimenting how the unit played mistake-free, physical football in their season opening win.
He also called out 6-foot-6 defensive end Nasir Player by name.
“He’s a special player. He would start on our defense. He would start on most teams at the FCS level and probably at the mid-major level… I’m really impressed with him. They’ve got quality defensive personnel.”
Houston also talked up this ETSU team as better than he originally thought it might be.
“They are much better than I expected them to be when the game was scheduled,” Houston said. “They have 59 returning players. They have 24 of 27 starters back, so in a lot of ways, they’re a much more experienced football team than we are.”
Another football concern: Cardon Johnson looked as lethal as ever in last week’s game in Greenville, but he must be awfully tired after all that running.
East Tennessee State is out for blood, and the Dukes are just punch-drunk enough to be vulnerable. Back in the late 90s, during the pre-Mickey era of JMU football, the Dukes took down a pretty solid Bucs squad in Harrisonburg in a mild upset. That was 1997, the last time the two teams played.
Now, exactly 20 years later, the Bucs are back for revenge.
Normally, a bloodthirsty crew of Buccaneers might not matter against a good team like JMU. But with all this talk of FBS upsets and going back-to-back, ETSU has just enough juice to catch the Dukes off-guard.
JMU has no recent history against mascots of the swashbuckling variety. With emotions running high and an upset-minded ETSU squad coming to town, I don’t have to tell you how this ends.
It’s Week 2 with ETSU, and the Dukes are doomed.