Jun 6 / Rob

JMU is #2 in the First FCS Preseason Poll. Should We Even Care?

The first FCS Preseason Poll is out and JMU is ranked #2. Yes, the Athlon FCS Preseason Poll has arrived. It uses the default setting, so NDSU landed in the top spot. A total of 6 teams from the CAA made the top 25. That’s more than any other conference. New Hampshire was right on the Dukes’ heels in third, and Elon snagged the final spot in the top 10. Villanova, Delaware, and Stony Brook were 11th, 13th, and 25th respectively.

Obviously, it’s nice that JMU is well regarded. And terrific that folks think the CAA will be a strong (the strongest?) conference this season. But should we even care at all about these polls? On one hand, it’s standard blog policy to blow anything that shows JMU in a positive light, completely out of proportion. If JMU lands near to the top of virtually any list, we’ll post about it. Especially in the summer. On the other hand, it’s June! We appreciate Athlon’s efforts to cover FCS football and recognize that they know their stuff. But according to Craig Haley, this thing was put together all the way back in March in order to hit publishing deadlines. It’s really nothing more than glancing at rosters to see who the top teams bring back, and then making some wild ass guesses.

The truth is, we’re probably somewhere in the middle. We know it’s WAY to early to accurately predict how the upcoming season will play out. But also, Dukes rule and we can point to this poll as evidence of that. The other influencing factor is that we’re downright spoiled as JMU fans. The program is 28-2 the past two seasons under Head Coach Mike Houston. So we’re really not too concerned with early polls or how others view the program.

The reality is that JMU is an FCS heavyweight and a threat to go to Frisco again. We know. Everyone who follows or covers FCS knows. And they know, that we know, that they know. The Dukes aren’t sneaking up on anybody. And as a fanbase, we’ve kind of passed the point of looking for validation from others. The Dukes should be national championship contenders again in the 2018 season. And thankfully, the season kicks off in 87 days so we can start talking real football, instead of relatively meaningless stuff like this.


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  1. ShadyP / Jun 6 2018

    I like that JMU comes in #2 (top 5) in pre-season polls……but in reality these pre-season polls mean absolutely nothing. The good thing about being highly regarded, is it give you a little buffer should you stumble somewhere during the season.

    I don’t get UNH #3……when I saw them last season I was very under-whelmed.

  2. Cory / Jun 7 2018

    A lot of people don’t think preseason polls matter, but they are very wrong. Think about it. Would you rather be unseeded now and have to go undefeated to prove that you deserve a top 4 seed for home playoff games (looking at you Ticks and Billy and Mary)? Nope, I would much rather be in the top 10 (or 2 is good) so that when the real season starts all you have to do is maintain what they gave you ahead of time. That way you are assured of a top seed, home games and byes.

  3. Rob / Jun 11 2018

    Fair enough Cory, but that’s not really our point. We’re just saying that JMU is respected enough that as long as they win, they’ll be ranked when it matters, and in position to compete for a title.
    And FWIW, the Dukes weren’t ranked in the 2004 Preseason Poll and were only 12 in the 2016 Preseason Poll. William & Mary wasn’t ranked in the 2004 either, and they went to the semis. And Youngstown was left out of the 2016 edition. So while it’s nice to be recognized, being unranked is not a huge hill to climb if you’re fortunate to be playing in a top conference.

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