It’s time. We know you’ve all been patiently waiting for the hard hitting and deadly serious analysis you’ve come to expect from us here at JMUSB. It would be unfair, perhaps even cruel, to deprive you of our knowledge and wisdom any longer. So without further ado, here’s the Official JMUSB JMU Football Season Preview. This preview is absolutely guaranteed to be the most thoroughly researched and carefully constructed piece of analysis you find anywhere on Earth lots of words. read more…
As Todd mentioned we’re going to have our season preview posted this Friday. Before we get to that though, we’d like to know how you think JMU will do this season. We’re going to keep things simple. Really simple. Just vote in the poll above to let us know how many games you think JMU will win this (regular) season. If you have thoughts you’d like to share about the QB battle, new coaches, the potentially dominant RB duo, or anything else, drop ’em in the comments.
So we’re less than two weeks away from the 2016 opening of Bridgeforth, but Women’s Soccer already got the year started in the ‘Burg this past weekend. While we’re going to pretend the two results didn’t happen and give them a mulligan (plus we’re confident Ashley Herndon will get them turned around right quick), you should check out this highlight of the Dukes scoring twice in the final minute, including a long-distance free-kick with nine seconds left, to tie Arkansas at 3 and send the game to OT.
Also, we’re planning to have a big season preview post up Friday for football.
The JMU women’s soccer team kicked off the school’s 2016 sports season last night with a home game against Arkansas. The Dukes found themselves down 3-1 in the 90th minute, when Steffi Page fired a shot into the goal to bring them within 1. Then just seconds later, JMU earned a free kick from about 45 yards out. Haley Stein stepped up to take it and, well, see above. She dropped a bomb that the goalie got a hand on, but couldn’t stop. And just like that the Dukes had tied the game and forced OT. Stein also set the bar pretty high for “goal of the year” in only the first game.
Unfortunately, JMU’s luck ran out in the second overtime. Arkansas scored to capture the 4-3 win. Tough result for sure, but we’ve got to think the resilience the Dukes showed coming back to force OT is a sign of good things to come. Oh, and Ashley Herndon picked up where she left off last season with an assist. If you’re not watching her, you’re missing it. She’s quietly developed into an absolute superstar for the Dukes.
Actually, no. No we realize that we shouldn’t be outraged. And honestly, we’re not. Truthfully, we had a bit of fun discussing Brian McLaughlin’s list of 8 FCS Stadiums You Have to Visit Before You Die with some fellow JMU fanatics today. For one thing, the list just represents one man’s opinion. And that man happens to be a guy who’s coverage of FCS football, and JMU football, we really enjoy. For another thing, it’s just a silly list on the internet and despite what some folks think, not everything on the internet is worth arguing about. But that doesn’t mean we agree with every stadium on Brian’s list. Of course we don’t.
Brian’s got some great (i.e. obvious) picks on his list. It’s easy to see why the FargoDome is a must visit for any FCS fan. Likewise, you don’t even need to be a football fan, to appreciate the beautiful surroundings of Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Montana. A couple of stadiums were real head scratchers though (Presbyterian and Lehigh???). And unless you have a closet full of chinos with anchors on them you’re dying to wear to a tailgate, you can probably choose either Yale or Harvard.
Again though, this was a fun list. We thought we’d offer our personal list of 8 FCS Stadiums we think FCS fans should visit. Without further ado, here it is.
Bridgeforth Stadium – JMU
Bet you didn’t see that one coming?
Robins Stadium – Richmond
Yes, it’s a high school stadium. However, the next best thing to seeing a JMU home game in Bridgeforth Stadium is seeing a JMU home game in Robins Stadium.
Washington-Grizzly Stadium – Montana
Snow capped mountains in the distance and one of the most loyal and raucous fanbases in all of FCS. What’s not to love? Plus, as a novice (very, very novice) fly fisherman, a trip to Montana is on my bucket list anyway.
Fargodome – North Dakota State
We’ve had our fun mocking Fargo and the Fargodome before, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the great atmosphere the Bison have for home games. Good gracious, some other team better win the Championship this year though.
Franklin Field – Pennsylvania
You pretty much need to include an Ivy League stadium on any list of FCS stadiums to visit. It would be hard to poke holes in either of Brian’s selections (er, even though we did just that above). Personally, we’ll take Franklin Field over Yale’s or Harvard’s stadium. We dig the backdrop of the field house behind the west end zone.
Eddie Robinson Stadium – Grambling State
Just like you need an Ivy League rep, you’ve got to include an HBCU entrant on any list of top FCS stadiums. “The Hole” gets our vote due to the Grambling State football tradition and earns bonus points for incorporating a hill for additional seating.
Finley Stadium – UT Chattanooga
Pilgrimage to the site of the Dukes 2004 National Championship. ‘Nuff said.
Fitton Field – Holy Cross
Admittedly, this is a bit of wild card. Fitton Field is pretty much just a couple of grandstands. My old man went to Holy Cross though, so it’d be fun to check out a game there with him.
The one and only Zach Lantz put together this video highlighting all the action from week one. Reports out of camp are that Bryan Schor, with the benefit of spring ball, has looked really impressive. And a little birdie told us that Cole Johnson is likely to redshirt, but has been turning heads with his play. Start your Monday by checking out the video. It’s not going to give you the secrets of the new JMU defense, or clearly reveal the depth chart. It’s going to make you smile and get pumped up for football though. The season kicks off in 18 days.
It’s no secret that money is the engine of college football. And television networks are the primary source of much of the money. Recently we’ve seen pushback against Big 12 expansion from the league’s TV partners. The network exec’s position is essentially that if they’re going to pay escalator clauses tied to the league adding more teams, they better be marquee teams. Nobody seems anxious to pay up for a diluted product.
There are also potential changes happening in the ACC. The Worldwide Leader announced plans to create an ACC network as part of its new deal with the league. As Harry Minium reports, the network is now trying to exert influence with ACC’s scheduling. Like the Big 12’s media partners, ESPN wants premium content and doesn’t want to get stuck with a inventory of sub-tier games. They already got their wish in hoops, with the league agreeing to move from and 18 to 20 game conference schedule. Next on the agenda is preventing, or at least severely limiting, ACC games against non-P5 programs.
ESPN is going to get its way by forcing the ACC to agree to one of two things, either a 9 game conference schedule, or guarantees that every school plays two P5 schools in out of conference play. This would put a split between the P5 and everyone else one step closer. Because you can bet that when the other networks see ESPN getting more bang for its buck, they’re going to try the same thing. As Jimbo Fisher points out, this might be good for ESPN, but it has potentially devastating consequences to college football as a whole. There’s a trickle down effect when the power schools play programs with lesser resources.
JMU has been a beneficiary of this guarantee games, and the money earned is valuable to the athletic department. This all be certainly will impact JMU’s ability to schedule ACC teams as an FCS program. But FBS status alone won’t help too much. ODU will probably need to move at least 6 games against Tech depending on how things shake out. This move makes things more difficult for everyone outside of the P5. And it might be the very thing that eventually leads the P5 to breakaway entirely.
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We’re as excited as anyone about the upcoming JMU football season, but right about now we’re stricken with a serious bout of Olympic fever. There’s no point in fighting it. Let’s go ahead and rank our Top 5 Olympic events. Obviously, we’re going to keep this current and stick to summer events. If we opened it up to winter sports, this would turn into a 3,00o word piece debating whether curling or short-track speedskating would earn the top spot. Without further ado, here’s our official Top 5 Summer Olympic sports.
5. Ping Pong
Don’t knock it until you watch it. I got sucked into a ping pong broadcast Saturday night. And I’m not even embarrassed about it. It has the advantage of being familiar. Pretty much all of us have played ping pong, which makes us think we can relate to the Olympic athletes. We cannot. They are playing a completely different game than the version you played in your friend’s basement back in high school. We couldn’t handle that spin and we certainly couldn’t handle the pace. Ping pong rules. (Caveat: this spot probably goes to basketball, in years its actually competitive.)
Let’s be frank. Gymnastics is pretty badass. In Olympic years, the entire country rallies around our men and women gymnasts. Yet the male athletes are routinely dismissed or even mocked all other years. Which is crazy, because those dudes could flat out rip limbs off the average man’s body with ease. And gold medal winning female gymnasts have Wheaties Box status pretty much locked up. But forget about all that and just think about the actual sport of gymnastics. While watching Simone Biles on the balance beam tonight, I heard the announcer say “This dismount is difficult because…” and like everyone in America I immediately tuned her out. Because do you really need to qualify why jumping, flipping, and twisting on a 4 inch wide beam is difficult? No. No, you do not.
3. Beach Volleyball
I love all forms of volleyball. But I’ll give the spot in our Top 5 to the beach variety. The games are a little bit quicker and the 2 vs. 2 format is a little easier to follow. Plus, since it’s played on sand, the players are more likely to dive. For some reason I’ve been obsessed with diving plays in any sport since I was a little kid. What can I say? I’m easy to please. Bonus points for being played on a beach. Everything is better on the beach.
I swam all growing up and in high school. I was just good enough to be marginally competent, but so (very) bad enough to really be awed by those who succeed at the highest levels. Swimming has several things going for it. First off, it’s incredibly easy to understand. Go fast and finish first. That’s it. It’s also pretty quick, which enables the entire country to tune in briefly and share an experience watching together without sacrificing an entire afternoon or evening. It’s like the Kentucky Derby. Well, except it has dozens of main event races over the course of a few days, involves actual human beings, and none of the athletes get shot if they get hurt.
1. Team Handball
Like most Americans, I’m not too familiar with the world of team handball. Like every American, whenever I watch it two thoughts immediately come to mind: 1. The U.S. should be really good at this, and 2. I think I could be really good at this. The former is probably more true than the latter. The sport really is like a mashup of all the great sports we love in this country. It’s a blast to watch and looks like it’d be even more fun to play.
Honorable mention: water polo, badminton (seriously, they hit that thing over 200 mph), track & field, fencing and definitely not dressage.
— JMUFB Recruiting (@JMUBreed) June 28, 2016
The boys of JMU of football are back in town. Finally. All players reported to campus last night and the first day of camp is today. And it’s only 25 days until the first game kicks off against Morehead State. Y’all better start getting in tailgate shape.
h/t @JMUBreed for the video