Jan 24 / Rob

2012 Football Schedule Sets Dukes Up for a Run

JMU announced its official 2012 Football Schedule this afternoon. And we like it. We like it a lot. First things first, there are 6 home games (regular season that is) compared to only 5 last year. And if history is any indicator, we can count the game at Richmond as at least 3/4 of a home game attendance wise anyway.

Last season’s CAA was full of surprises and proved that teams can easily outplay expectations. Be that as it may, JMU’s opponents were collectively 9 games under .500. And as I’m sure you’ve heard AD Jeff Bourne explain, he expects the JMU program to win consistently and be primed for a deep playoff run about once every four years. Well, JMU won the National Championship in 2004 and ran the table in the CAA and made it to the semi-finals in 2008. This will be the fourth season since that semi-final run. Therefore the completely un-scientific and statistically baseless conclusion is that the Dukes are going deep into the playoffs this season. Coach Matthews brings back a talented and experienced roster. With this favorable schedule, we’re drinking the Kool-Aid and setting ours sights on JMU winning it all.

Here is the full schedule with some thoughts on each game. Home games are in bold.

September 1 – St. FrancisSacrificial lamb to start the season. Hopefully an evening kick off for some extended tailgating. 

September 8 – Alcorn StateSteve McNair went there. That’s all I got folks.

September 15 – vs. West Virginia (at FedEx Field) – Agent Steinz might be poking fun at this game (and lighten up, it’s a funny post), but we’ve had it on the calendar since last summer. We’re expecting a huge crowd, some great tailgating, and a loss quite frankly. But last time WVU beat JMU, the Dukes won it all. So, good omen. Good omen.

September 22 – vs. Rhode Island – Just days before my wifes’ birthday and the Dukes coincidentally have a road game a mere 30 minutes from Newport, her favorite place on earth? Sounds like a set up for the perfect gift. Happy Birthday to me.

October 6 – Towson (Family Weekend) – Good to play the defending CAA Champs in Bridgeforth. Bad to have to do it in front of the historically subdued and boring Family Weekend crowd.

October 13 – William & MaryAlways a game to look forward to. If you’re student who has to study that weekend, stake out a spot in the library early before the visiting fans get there for their unique brand of research focused “tailgating”. 

October 20 – vs. Richmond – JMU’s first chance to beat Rocco at his new home.

October 27 – Georgia State (Homecoming) – Oh gawd. Tough draw for the Panthers. Not only do they need to come to Bridgeforth in their first year of CAA play, but they have to do it on homecoming. 

November 3 – vs. Maine – The least intimidating stadium in the CAA, yet still one of the most intimidating places to play purely due to the weather. A cold, wind exposed stadium. Glad that it’s early in November instead of late.

November 10 – vs. Villanova – Nova took their lumps with a very young squad last season. They should be a much tougher out this season.

November 17 – ODUMy personally most anticipated game on the schedule. Heading into the first meeting with ODU last year, we said the Monarchs were already JMU’s biggest rival. Then they beat JMU. We’ve been anxious for a rematch on our turf ever since. And we love that the CAA and both schools have said that they want this match-up to close the season annually. 


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  1. 2004 Duke / Jan 25 2012

    Love the schedule, except for Alcorn State and St. Francis. I’m on board with the whole sacrificial lamb thing, but seriously? Is that the best we could do? I’ve never evern heard of “St. Francis”. That sounds like an all-female prep school.

    First, I would like to see us never play a Division II school again. Ever. Its degrading. If we want a punching bag, why not play VMI, Hampton or Norfolk State? It may help our recruting. Second, one of our 2 non conference/non-BCS games should be against a legit FCS team (Crappy Appy, Liberty, Wofford, Furman, etc.) Third, we need to quit playing top-25 FBS teams unless we are going to actually try to win (here’s looking at you, Mickey). VT fluke aside, we should play FBS teams that we might actually play in the future like Marshall, ECU or Navy. Or perhaps a crap team that we could beat, like Maryland.

  2. JMU95 / Jan 25 2012

    I had never heard of St Francis(PA) myself but it is a DI-AA (FCS) school from the Northeast Conference. Same conference that Central Conn State was from on last year’s schedule. Nothing wrong with ‘tuning’ up against a school you should beat, especially if you are not playing down to a DII school. I see no issue with that particularly if you have a FBS school on your schedule.

    Also, I know nothing about Alcorn State but there is nothing wrong with playing a team from the SWAC. You do the best you can with the schedule, just b/c you want to play someone does not mean one they want to play you, much less have a home-home with you or more importantly can fit it in their schedule.

  3. Rob / Jan 25 2012

    I’ve never really been a fan of the games against BCS competition, but the novelty and potential exposure that could come from playing at FedEx has be excited for the game against WVU. The upset over VA Tech was awesome, but that’s because it was so rare. In most years, I’d rather not play FBS schools and instead play a top tier FCS program. I’m probably in the minority, but I’d be more excited for JMU to face off against an App State or Montana, than I would to see them play some random ACC school.

  4. 2004 Duke / Jan 26 2012

    The SWAC may as well be D-II. Same with the MEAC (At least the MEAC gets a playoff bid). We used to play teams like Hampton and Delaware State and annihilate them. I’m just saying we should play St. Francis’ OR Alcorn St, but not both.

  5. Jason K. / Jan 27 2012

    I think somewhere in between is probably the best given JMU’s program. I think playing the VTs and other powerhouse FBS teams can hurt us more long term. If our win against VT helps really in recruiting long term I will eat crow but in the RARE chance we win, yeah we get a little glory, but it doesn’t do much for us in terms of FCS playoffs in that season. We lose, well we weren’t supposed to win anyways and many times we look very pathetic (see previous loss to WVU, and VT) and not as exciting for our fan base. If we play a fairly weak FCS team like this year for a non-conference game then we should pound them, and if we don’t we look weak (see opening game against CCSU this past year), and then even if we win it’s not really good competition for rest of season preparations and we can’t use it for marketing for recruits. I think the best is in the middle – play a FBS team that we realistically can beat. It gives us exposure in the media if we win and allows for recruiting material, and then if we lose, again it doesn’t hurt us in FCS polls / playoff chances. Plus playing the lower FBS teams also allows the chance for players on those teams who may not have a shot of seeing the playing field (i.e. Rascati) see the quality program that JMU is at the FCS level and think about transferring. I think playing a REALLY good non-CAA FCS team is a little risky, especially right out of the box of a season because it counts towards your playoff chances if you lose and may be a tough loss to overcome. Losing to any FBS team is fairly easy to ignore because players can rationalize that they weren’t supposed to win and move on.

  6. Dale / Feb 1 2012

    Alcorn has been pretty decent..Mississippi State (SEC) had them 14-7 at halftime in 2010 before the depth set in. Wouldn’t overlook them.

  7. Dale / Feb 1 2012

    Get you can take..It’s not this CAA conference is top notch! Whoever heard of this conference??

  8. virgin / Feb 19 2012

    Actually Hampton has a winning record against JMU. And JMU has never annihilated Hampton. JMU is afraid to play Hampton. Richmond will nplay Hampton in 2012.

  9. JMU Fan / Apr 10 2012

    What has Hampton done lately? Your program is garbage.

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