Hello, dear reader. Every Saturday this fall, I’m going to take a break from my usual college football odds analysis and provide some quick thoughts following that week’s JMU football game.
Unfortunately, no Dukes will be Doomed during the writing of this article.
JMU returned to an FCS opponent for its second non-conference opponent of the 2022 season: The Norfolk State Spartans.
JMU Obliterated Norfolk State (As It Should)
Norfolk State is an opponent that JMU fans are used to watching in Bridgeforth Stadium during the first weeks of the season. The difference this year is that the Dukes hosted the Spartans as a fully-blooded member of FBS football.
Thus, JMU found itself in an interesting position: The familiarity of a far-outmatched in-state opponent, yet the unfamiliar pressure of playing an FCS school as an FBS power.
Madison did exactly what fans should want to see in this spot – they ground NSU into a fine powder. JMU went up 35-0 in the closing minutes of the first half, then denied the Spartans at the goal line as time expired.
Billy Atkins started the second half at quarterback, and the Dukes cruised to a massive 63-7 win.
They didn’t overlook an FCS team, won by a million and they got out of the game without any major injuries. What more can you ask for?
H-Burg Rewind: 6 Observations from JMU’s 44-7 Win Over Middle Tennessee
This Point Spread Was… Quite Bad
It’s no secret that I’m something of a college football betting expert, and I do tend to have a special advantage over sportsbooks when it comes to JMU odds.
So when JMU spreads started to leak out late in the week, I was pretty surprised to see JMU only priced as a 36-point favorite.
That was quite a bit too light, as we saw from the 56-point margin of victory.
Here’s the part that I really don’t understand. If FCS JMU was good enough to be a 45 or 48-point favorite over a similarly deficient Norfolk State team in previous seasons, why on Earth would they only lay five touchdowns and change today?
The market adjusted to about 42 points by kickoff, but I still felt that was a bit light. Fans who partake in a little bit of online sports betting from outside of Virginia were able to take advantage.
Holy Sun Belt, Batman!
It only gets harder from here. Many of us already knew that the Sun Belt East was one of the best divisions in FBS football, but it really sharpened that reputation today.
JMU got out to a fast start against Norfolk State, which made it far easier to monitor successful upset bids from Marshall (at Notre Dame) and Appalachian State (at Texas A&M).
Enjoy the blowouts, JMU fans. After this week, the conference challenge is going to be extremely difficult.
The Dukes are off next week, but they’ll head to Boone in two weeks to take on an App State team that’s very likely to be ranked in the AP Top 25.
JMU is going to play a conference game. It’ll be exciting as hell, and we have no idea how it’ll turn out.
Isn’t it awesome?