Jun 24 / Rob

JMUSB Answers the Tough Questions

Thanks to the wonders of Google auto-complete, we stumbled into the top questions people have about JMU. We included them above. Sure, you could click on each term and painstakingly browse the search results to come up with an answer. Or you could just let us, your trusty blogger friends answer the questions for you. Let’s do that. From the top down, here are your answers.

  • Yes, JMU is D1. The school’s 17 athletic programs compete in the NCAA’s Division 1 (D1) at for all sports, with football playing in the D1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
  • It is. In fact, it was recently recognized as the number one college in Virginia for post graduate employment. 
  • Yep. There’s more to college than just studying. 
  • Guess some people assume it is, because of the name, but nope, it’s not private. 
  • Thought we covered this already, but yeah, JMU is a D1 school. Not sure what the confusion is.
  • It’s selective, but far from impossible to get into. It helps to be well rounded, fun, and good looking. 
  • Sheesh. Why is this so hard to understand people? Yes, the football team is D1 and it plays in the Football Championship Subdivision. 
  • No. Wouldn’t be much of a party school if it was.
  • You can apply to JMU via the Common App.
  • Enough already. We’re done.
Jun 18 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Summer Fun & Alumni Association President Eric Bowlin

The latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast is available for your listening pleasure. It’s a pretty good one if we do say ourselves. Eric Bowlin, the President of the JMU Alumni Association, dropped by to give us an update on all things alumni. Then we dive into a discussion of the most beloved JMU athletes of all time. Finally, in honor of Father’s Day, we wrap things up with a little OT chat about the most “dad” things we did all year. Give it a listen.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

Jun 17 / Rob

Needs Is Not the Right Word Here

Wants and needs. They’re different things. Of course that doesn’t stop people from using “needs” to describe things that are nothing more than wants. We want football season to arrive, we don’t literally need it to. So we stumbled upon this throwaway list of 10 best nonconference games in FCS pushed out for no other reason than to create “content” in the offseason, said “JMU needs to improve its nonconference scheduling,” it hit a nerve. Well, that might be overstating it. It really did nothing more than give us an opportunity to respond and thus create some throwaway offseason content of our own.

First of all, the mere fact that JMU’s game against Chattanooga is considered by the author to be one of the top 10 nonconference games, kind of damages the entire argument that the schedule must improve. But that’s not really what got to me. It’s the “needs” thing. Football fans might want to see JMU play more good nonconference games. But it’s a stretch to say the Dukes need to.

JMU wants to win championships. To do that, JMU needs to make the playoffs. And they certainly want to earn a seed, but technically they don’t need one. So the powers that be build a schedule that best gives them a chance to make the playoffs, and the hopefully earn a seed, and prepare the Dukes for the type of competition they’ll face in the postseason. Given how competitive the CAA is most years, teams don’t have a big margin for error in conference play. Any team that heads into conference play with 2 or 3 nonconference losses, will have a tough road to a bid. And because the CAA is one of the top FCS leagues, with multiple playoff teams most years, conference play usually gets teams ready for December football. Which leads many teams to conclude that it’s smart to schedule a few easy tune-ups.

JMU is one of those schools. Most years, you can count on two things when you go to Bridgeforth in September. One, it will be hot, and two, you’re gonna see JMU light up the scoreboard. JMU usually plays a “stretch” road game against an FBS school, and then schedules teams from surrounding FCS conferences. And those teams can rarely keep up. It’s not as exciting as seeing an FCS power team come to town, and it’s clearly a risk averse approach, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

But it works. JMU has made the playoffs the past 5 seasons. They won the title for the 2016 season and made it all the way back to the championship the following year. Last year, the Dukes crashed out in the second round, but if anyone can connect the disaster that was that game to the nonconference schedule, they’re seeing things we’re not. The Dukes are a perennial playoff team and always in the mix for the CAA title. The scheduling philosophy is working. It’s not hurting the Dukes and doesn’t “need” to change.

Now given all that, we agree that as fans, it would be very fun to have more 2008 JMU vs. App State type match-ups. But that’s a want, not a need. And those aren’t easy to pull off. Coaches and ADs all say they’ll take on any team, anywhere. Top teams are not lining up to come play in Bridgeforth. And JMU doesn’t need strength of schedule building nonconference games, so there’s no pressure to take tough roadies. We’ve all heard the rumors about NDSU wanting to put together a game against JMU…in the Fargodome. Jeff Bourne was right to turn that down. Home and home or hang up the phone.

We get it. The multiple early season games against teams with no chance are not exciting. It would be fun to have some more competitive games. But the goal is to get to the playoffs and make a run. Yeah, picking the “needs” word to death is a bit pedantic, but it’s true. JMU doesn’t need to change a thing with its scheduling. We want the Dukes to make it back to the playoffs. And they need to play better then they did last year, once they get there.

Jun 5 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Putting a Bow on the 2018-2019 JMU Sports Year

On the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast, we close the book on the 2018-2019 JMU sports season. We talk about some highlights and lowlights, and start to look toward next year, and chat about Todd’s debut on the radio with Al Galdi. Finally, with Rocketman in the theaters, we go OT and discuss our favorite Elton John tunes.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

May 30 / Rob

His Name is Jimmy Effin Moreland

The Washington Redskins did something right. Seriously, it’s true. After repeatedly trying to win offseason championships year after year by signing overhyped, washed stars of yesteryear, the organization actually did its homework and sought out high value players in the 2019 draft. And one of those high value players was JMUSB favorite Jimmy Moreland. Or Jimmy Effin Moreland as he’s officially known.

Jimmy was a seventh round pick. Seventh round picks are no lock to make the final 53 man rosters. But Jimmy is Jimmy. And he’s already doing Jimmy things. He turned heads in the Skins rookie camp. And now he’s making plays during Washington’s first rounds of OTAs. He’s a dog. As JMU fans, we all know this. And now Washington fans are starting to see it. Seats on the bandwagon are filling up fast. Beat writers, fans, and coaches are excited about him. We’re thrilled for him personally. At least one of us if thrilled for the Skins fanbase and all the joy he’s going to bring it (hint: not me). But let’s get one things straight. His name is Jimmy Effin Moreland. He might need an introduction, but he doesn’t need a nickname.

We’ve read the tweets, enjoyed the coaches’ comments, and heard the soundbites. They’re all great. We love them. Watching Jimmy play has brought us immeasurable amounts of joy the past few years. It’s really, really fun to see newbies who haven’t had the pleasure of watching him play, catch the Jimmy bug. It’s infectious. But let’s get one thing clear. He has a nickname. Actually, it’s more than a nickname. It’s his official name (check the birth certificate) and it’s Jimmy Effin Moreland.

Look, we get it. There are dead spots in the sports calendar. Folks need to create content. There’s a serious temptation to make too much of the latest amazing 3 interception performance by a 7th round pick who is a serious ball hawk, won’t back down from anyone, and can not only make picks but can return to the house. We understand how folks might get a little ahead of themselves and think it’s time to create nicknames for OTA studs. It’s not. And not because they’r not future NFL studs. But because some of them already have the nicknames covered.

JMU fans are passionate. We can also be a prickly bunch. But y’all need to let us have this. We’ve known Jimmy for years. We saw greatness from the get go. We were all in from the breakout performance against Lehigh. We were in his corner during his hiatus from the team. And of course we were all in during his triumphant return. So forgive us if we feel somewhat protective of our guy. We love him getting shine, but also want folks to know the history. He’s not coming out nowhere. He’s coming from JMU, a place where he made plays, won championships, and became a legend.

Much like JMU fans, Washington coach Jay Gruden seems pretty hyped about Jimmy. He loudly proclaimed “there’s a mouse in the house” when talking about our guy making 3 picks at practice. Jimmy is no rodent and he ain’t gonna go by “mouse.” Let’s make a deal Jay. You do your thing and let JMU fans do ours. That means we’ll cover the nicknames for all time great Dukes, and you can continue to keep the seat warm before Emperor Snyder gets an itchy trigger finger and replaces you with another perfectly pleasant, yet ultimately mediocre individual who’ll be hamstrung in all the same ways you are. And in other situations “the people’s corner” would have potential, but it’s completely unnecessary at this point. He already has a name. It’s Jimmy Effin Moreland.

Finally, please spare us the cries about it being an offensive nickname. Our guy is playing for the Redskins. The Redskins! This ain’t the franchise to pull that card. And even if the media comes down hard on the PC angle, we’re sure Danny Boy can just pay some random dude to pretend like he speaks for a proud history of Effin lineage. The man already has a nickname. It’s pretty official. Let’s not overthink this folks. Just go with it.

May 23 / Rob

Beer in Bridgeforth. What Is the Ideal Tap List?

There you have it. Fans (age 21 and older of course) can buy and drink beer in Bridgeforth Stadium starting this fall. Previously, beer was only served to the ballers in the club level. This was a bit of open secret after folks sharing the news at multiple stops on the Duke Club Spring Tour, but now it’s official.

Nobody wants to waste their time reading us analyzing this. Beer in moderation is good. People overdoing it is bad. Yada, yada, yada. Personally, it will be nice to grab a beer while watching our Dukes and this is potentially a nice little revenue stream for the athletic department. We’re on board, as you’d expect us to be. So instead of discussing the particulars, let’s have some fun and create our dream tap list for Bridgeforth concessions.

We need some ground rules before we get started. First of all, we’re talking about a stadium, not a craft beer bar with a 10 page menu. Let’s keep things simple and stick to 6 beers. And we’ll break it down as follows: 1 IPA, 1 pilsner or lager, 1 dark beer, 1 classic (define this however you want), 1 wild card, and 1 mainstream/non-craft. And that’s about as much thought/structure, we want to put into this. If you want to pick your 6 favorites, have at it. If you want to create some algorithm trying to optimize the 6 best beers based on Beer Advocate ratings, Untappd check-ins, and predicted weather patterns on JMU football home dates, we won’t judge you. (ed. note – That’s a lie, we’ll judge you. Nerd.) Without any further ado, here’s my ideal Bridgeforth tap list for the 2019 JMU Football season.

  1. IPA – Cigar City Jai Alai. Every brewery makes an IPA (or 12). Most are good. Some are bad. Jai Alai is good.
  2. Classic – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Is there any other choice?
  3. Pilsner/Lager – Brooklyn Lager. People who know me, know this is one of my favorites. No gimmicks. Just a well balanced, delicious beer.
  4. Dark – Port City Porter. It’s delicious. And the founder is a JMU alum. Bonus points for being a perfect late season cold weather/playoff beer.
  5. Wild Card – Pale Fire Salad Days. Podcast listeners have probably heard me discuss my love of Arrant IPA, but this saison is pretty perfect for front porch or outdoor drinking. That translates to Bridgeforth.
  6. Mainstream – Narraganset Lager. Hi Neighbor! What can I say? My family loves spending time up in Rhody in the summer. Ice cold and crushable.

So that’s my list. Today. It will probably change, but for now, I’m good with it. Thankfully it’s 2019 and you need to go out of you way to drink bad beer. And we’re looking forward to having a few good ones in section 211 this Fall.

May 21 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Dukes Headed to Super Regionals

Megan (Great) Good was amazing and the Dukes defeated Michigan to clinch a spot in the Super Regionals. We’re happy and we talk about it. Give it a listen.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

May 15 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: CAA Gonna CAA

The JMU sports year is winding down, but we had a surprising number of things to discuss on the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast. We start things off by going around the horn and chatting about spring sports, including a disappointing ending to another solid lacrosse season, baseball’s climb back to respectability, and softball’s postseason situation. And since we just can’t leave things alone, we continue with more discussion about the CAA’s newest broadcast deal. Finally, we have a little fun talking about some of the great buzzer beaters or fantastic finishes in JMU sports history.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

May 13 / Rob

JMU Softball Headed to Ann Arbor

JMU Softball entered the CAA tournament on a bit of a heater. The Dukes won 16 straight games to close the regular season and were hoping to do enough in the conference tourney, to secure a seed in the big dance. Then they promptly went out and destroyed everyone in their path, winning three games by a combined score of 33-1. To say it they were dominant wouldn’t do it justice. They hit 10 homers and slugged .589. It sure seemed like it was enough to earn them a seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s not how it worked out though. Instead JMU is headed to the Ann Arbor Regional where they’ll compete with host and 15 seed Michigan, in addition to St. Francis and DePaul.

There are plenty of reasons to be upset by the fact that Dukes aren’t seeded. We thought they did enough in the CAA tournament to earn a little more respect. Perhaps they did too much though. They hardly broke a sweat crushing all comers and maybe the committee thought the lopsided victories said more about the quality of the competition than they did about the Dukes prowess. We really have no clue though. This is a committee with a clear perception about conference strength. They put every single SEC team in the tourney. Again. So forgive us if we’re not going to waste our time trying to figure out what an organization like the NCAA is thinking.

In any case, if you can put the outrage over the seed situation aside, you’ll realize JMU got a decent draw. History shows us that it’s very hard to advance as a road team in the Regionals, but the Dukes will have a shot in Ann Arbor. Michigan is a good team, but far from a powerhouse like Oklahoma or UCLA. JMU can beat Michigan. In fact, JMU already beat Michigan once this season. The Dukes beat the Wolverines 3-0 in extra innings back in March at the ASU Invitation in Arizona. Sure it will be harder to beat them in a true road game, but it’s not an impossible task. As for the rest of the region, St. Francis and DePaul are both solid, but not spectacular teams. We don’t want to show the same bias the committee does, but discounting these teams from non-power conferences, but JMU ain’t scared of either of those squads.

In the big picture, JMU is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 7th straight year and the Dukes have a legit shot to advance. It’s disappointing (and a little baffling) that JMU needs to go on the road, but it’s out of our hands. We could rant and rave, but it won’t make a difference. The NCAA does what the NCAA does. Sometimes things make sense. More often than not though, they don’t. It stinks, but all JMU and the other non-P5 programs can do to change thins is go out and win ballgames. The Dukes will have a chance to do just that starting Friday in Ann Arbor. We think they can.

May 7 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: About That CAA Media Deal

We’re down to the final days of the 2018-2019 JMU sports calendar, but there were a surprising number of things to discuss on the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast. While we both are thrilled for Jimmy, the team he landed with sparked different emotional reactions. We also talked about softball closing out the regular season and lax getting ready to defend its title in the dance. But really, the episode is all about the new CAA media deal with FloSports. Tune in to hear our full thoughts, but we’re not exactly over the moon about this.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.