James Madison has a lot on the line this weekend, but there’s only one subject you’ll hear discussed about with the team — Elon. Maybe that’s why this program hasn’t suffered any peaks or valleys this year.
But we in the media world have no problem telling you what else is at stake.
- A win at Elon clinches the Colonial Athletic Association outright conference title, its the second in a row. Elon has never beaten the Dukes (5-0-0).
- A win at Elon assures JMU finishes the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1975 (9-0-1) — the only other time it happened at JMU.
- A win at Elon would be JMU’s 23rd consecutive victory, currently tops in all of Division I. Miami (Fla.) is tops in the FBS with 14 in a row. JMU is tied for 4th in FCS/I-AA history with Harvard (2013-15) and if it gets to 25 straight wins, it’ll be alone in second place all time. NDSU is tops at 33 straight (2012-14).
- A win at Elon keeps alive the chance of JMU being only the fifth FCS team in history to go undefeated and win a national title.
But of course, first things first. Sure James Madison wants to be at home throughout the playoffs. The Dukes don’t want to take a trip to some far off land in the semifinals, somewhere even colder than the Shenandoah Valley is in December. The Dukes want to be at home, rocking the mountains with about 27,000 crazy fans the weekend of of Dec. 15/16th. The team may not talk about it, but you know the fans are talking about it and the players are thinking about it.
It’s Elon first, and then who? Could we see Jacksonville State and James Madison do battle at some point? At Bridgeforth? What a classic that would be. Maybe the Dukes get a CAA rematch once again with one of the tough opponents it faced. Maybe Delaware? Or could they play Elon again in just a few weeks? How good is this Furman team, could it end up at JMU sometime in December? Or what about Wofford? Or will one of the Missouri Valley‘s best teams be paired up for a December trip?
COMPARE: James Madison to potential opponents
All is possible. The big question is, will James Madison come into the postseason unblemished like many predicted in the preseason? Could it become only the fifth all-time unbeaten/untied FCS/I-AA champions. North Dakota State only did it once in its five-year run — it’s not easy.
We shall see if all of the above comes to fruition But none of the coaches or players are going to talk about it … as it should be.[divider]
Here are the undefeated FCS/I-AA champions of all time (I-AA was created in 1978):
|2013||NDSU (15-0-0)||Craig Bohl|
|1996||Marshall (15-0-0)||Bobby Pruett|
|1994||Youngstown St. (14-0-1)||Jim Tressel|
|1989||Ga. Southern (15-0-0)||Erk Russell|
|1982||East. Kentucky (13-0-0)||Roy Kidd|