Have you ever waited for a ride, glancing repeatedly at your watch, and staring at the line of people in front of you while wondering — 'When is this going to happen? It's way past due.'
That's how James Madison fans feel.
Two years ago, they had the effervescent scene of ESPN College GameDay on their campus. Lee Corso dressed up as the founding father — James Madison — and delivered a rousing speech instead of just a game pick. Kirk Herbstreit was there to impress all the young ladies with a charming smile every toothpaste company in the world would love, and Desmond Howard was there too, to show everybody in the crowd where the Heisman pose originated. Rece Davis was the maestro of it all, and the atmosphere was electric and very, very purple.
ESPN Gameday is iconic, a part of Saturdays now. The personalities transcend CFB. And it's time for this whirlwind of energy to come back to Harrisonburg, Va., because James Madison is even better than it was in 2015 — by a mile. The show has only spotlighted FCS games six times in its 20+ year history, but four of those trips have come the past four years.
It is time for James Madison to become the seventh FCS stop. Three home games against 2016 playoff teams look ripe for being picked by the King of Sports. Oct. 14 against Villanova would be good, or maybe New Hampshire on Oct. 28 or Richmond on Nov. 11. No matter which date is picked, it needs to happen. After James Madison's convincing showing against FBS East Carolina, it seems possible the Dukes may be undefeated for awhile — though conference games in the CAA are no cakewalk.
So now that JMU's toughest hurdle of the early season has been cleared, decisively (that would be ECU), let's start talking about a Gameday visit to the Shenandoah Valley. We don't need another visit to the seventh-best SEC team or a trip to see Touchdown Jesus and a 3-3 Notre Dame team in South Bend.
What we need is the lightbulb to come on … to realize that FCS programs like James Madison, North Dakota State, Jacksonville State you name it are pretty darned strong, and can hang with at least two-thirds of FBS schools, if not more. Even with 23 fewer scholarships. Just ask Iowa last year, who North Dakota State beat, or the Auburn players who went to overtime with Jacksonville State in 2015. Or the Virginia Tech team a few years back that lost to JMU, or the Pitt team that barely survived Youngstown State on Saturday. Or the Baylor team that lost to Liberty this weekend.
This is very good football, and at the top of it right now is James Madison — the defending FCS national champion that just mauled its lone FBS competition.
It's time to pencil in … no, strike that … write it with a Sharpie Pen, ESPN: Oct. 14 at James Madison. Be on time, Gameday. Harrisonburg, Va. has been waiting awhile. This fanbase will make it worth the trip.
ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY TRIPS TO FCS GAMES
NOTE: On campus shows began in the mid 1990s.
November 26: Southern vs. Grambling State in New Orleans, La.
November 15: Hampton at Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla.
September 21: Delaware State at North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D.
September 13: Incarnate Word at North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D.
November 22: Yale at Harvard in Allston, Mass.
October 24: Richmond at James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va.