Oct 14 / Rob

Gameday: JMU vs. Villanova


Pretty big day today. Pretty, pretty big day. Our beloved JMU Dukes play the Villanova Wildcats in Bridgeforth Stadium at 3:30 pm. And of course there’s the matter of College Gameday being broadcast from the lovely confines of the Quad. We’re fortunate to be taking in the festivities with a few thousands of our closet friends. If you’re tuning into ESPN and then watching this one from the couch, feel free to chat with your fellow Dukes fans here. No matter where you are, we hope that you’re having a blast and that you’re rootin.

It’s time to Lock the Damn Gates!

Go Dukes!

Oct 13 / Todd

JMUSB Game Preview #6: Villanova at JMU

Just to make sure we don’t forget like the last time College Gameday was in town, there’s an actual football game Saturday afternoon at Bridgeforth. Against a really tough opponent that starts the “real” part of the season for the Dukes.

The Basics

#11 Villanova Wildcats (4-2, 2-1 CAA) at #1 James Madison Dukes (5-0, 2-0 CAA), 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Bridgeforth

Weather: Sunny 77 degrees, 80% humidity

Coverage : CBS Sports Digital Game of the Week, this is JMU’s only appearance this season on the CAA’s new “flagship” broadcast. The JMU Sports site links to a “404 error” message. Thankfully, it looks like this may be on MASN2 in most places.

How Villanova Can Win

Shut down the Dukes running game and force turnovers. Villanova has given up basically zippy running yards on the year so you know their odd 3-3-5 stack defense will be geared up to attack the Dukes bread and butter. If they can do that and force the types of mistakes in the passing game that JMU has been prone to so far this year, they are probably better equipped to contain the Dukes than most teams. If you need proof, watch last year’s 20-7 slugfest again. On the other side, they have a gazillion injuries on offense so they’ll need to chip away and control the ball, which also would keep JMU off the field. The Wildcats will be starting Redshirt freshman Jack Schetelich, who will get his second career start at quarterback. Three-year starter Zach Bednarczyk was injured on the opening series two weeks, underwent knee surgery this week.

How JMU Can Win

Exceed Villanova’s intensity and play mistake-free ball. One of the toughest things this year for the Dukes has been matching the intensity of teams taking their shot at the champs. Hopefully with the big stage this week, JMU won’t have the problem and can start like they did in their FBS win over ECU. If the Dukes play their game, they’re simply better than the current Villanova team but this is still a squad that has beaten Maine and Towson the last two weeks by a combined 55-9 and is incredibly stingy defensively. The Wildcats lost two defensive players to the NFL last year and are injury-riddled on offense right now, but they’re more than capable of capitalizing if the Dukes make mistakes. Last week they blocked two punts – exactly the kind of thing the Dukes need to avoid. Week after week, we’ve been harping about JMU’s need to take better care of the football, and this week is no different.

Beer of the Week

Pale Fire Brewing Co’s Village Green Double IPA – Not even sponsored, but on Gameday week, it had to be local and really, what are we all doing but meeting on our very own Village Green, the Quad! Honestly, this Double is probably best saved for the post-show/pre-game tailgate (it’s thick and tasty), but join us after the game in going to see the incredible work Tim and Susan and their whole crew are doing downtown!

Official JMUSB Prediction

Dukes 23, Wildcats 13 – Houston and a more mature squad do what the Dukes could not in 2015 – channel the Gameday adrenaline into the actual game – and the Dukes roll!

Oct 12 / Rob

It Is Also Duke Club Week

Everyone knows that it’s College Gameday week at JMU. (And if you don’t, we hope you’re doing well since awaking from your coma.) With all of the excitement however, you might not be aware that it is also Duke Club Week. In what can only be described as fortuitous timing, these things just happened to line up together. That’s both good and bad. It’s good because there is a ridiculous amount of excitement surrounding the JMU athletic department this week. It’s also a little bit unfortunate because the College Gameday hype might cause some folks to overlook Duke Club Week.

Trust us when we tell you, the Duke Club should not be overlooked. In case you need a refresher, or you simply never thought about it, the Duke Club is dedicated to fundraising for athletic scholarships. That’s the mission. They don’t pay for uniforms, or the great facilities we all watch games in, or fund coaches’ salaries. They raise money to cover the scholarships for all the great JMU athletes who provide us so much joy. It’s a win win in the truest sense. Talented student athletes get the opportunity to play the sports they love and attend a great university, and fans like us have great teams to root for.

The point of Duke Club Week isn’t to raise millions or increase the number of donors. It’s simply to shine a light on the Duke Club and all the great work it does. Let us be the first to say it, they do some great work. And every Dukes fan should thank them for it.

We’ve been fortunate to get to know many members of the Duke Club staff over the years. They’ve been beyond supportive of this little blog and all that we’ve done. And Todd and I truly, truly appreciate it. We love JMU and we love the Dukes, but we realize our emotions have gotten the best of us at times and we’ve veered off the reservation. What’s so great about our friends at the Duke Club is that they absolutely get that. They know that loving a team sometimes means things get a little weird in the heat of the moment. I’m sure they’ve rolled their eyes or even cringed at some of the things we’ve said. But they’ve never tried to calm us down or influence the content we produced. They’ve gone the other way and encouraged us to embrace our passion and engage with others who share it. And that’s pretty much everything you could want in an athletic fundraising team.

So by all means, let yourselves get swept up in the College Gameday hype. We certainly have. But take a brief moment this week to consider all that the Duke Club did to help put JMU in this position. If you’re already a Duke Club member, like we assume most of you are, Todd and I thank you. And if you’re not, maybe consider joining the club and making a donation. It doesn’t need to thousands of dollars. Every little bit helps. (And if you want to say JMUSB referred you, we won’t argue.) But really, Todd and I would just like to say thanks to the Duke Club for all they’ve done to help the JMU student athletes who’ve given us so many good memories over the years. If there was no Duke Club, they’re be no rootin.

 

Oct 11 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Villanova

It’s an exciting week for JMU fans, but let’s not forget that there’s a game Saturday. And it’s a big one against a very talented Villanova Wildcats team. A win would push the Dukes’ winning streak to an amazing 18 games. It would also take a little bit of the sting out of the loss JMU suffered last time Lee Corso and the crew came to town.

So let’s get going with the predictions. It’s the same as it ever was. Leave a comment below with your prediction for Saturday’s game. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. It’s that easy. Now let us know you think is going to win, power through the next three days of work, and we’ll see you all on the Quad Saturday morning. Go Dukes!

Oct 10 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Welcoming Bennett Conlin and Talking College Gameday


It’s a big week, so we thought we’d bring you a special podcast. In this week’s episode we had our very first guest, Mr. Bennett Conlin color commentator for Madizone and Online Managing Editor for The Breeze. We talk College Gameday, because of course we do, and Bennett also gives us some insight into what the buzz is like on campus, and shares a story about getting a certain football player banned from media interviews. Then we chat about the Nova game and take a look back at some of our favorite drink specials from back in the day. Finally, we’d like to thank Pale Fire Brewing for sponsoring the pod. Stop by the tasting room for a pint, tell them you heard about them on the JMUSB pod, and they’ll give you a pint glass to take home.

Oct 9 / Rob

Commemorate College Gameday at JMU With This Shirt by BreakingT

College Gameday is returning to the ‘burg for the second time in three years, and we think the occasion deserves to be commemorated with a t-shirt. So we collaborated with the fine folks at BreakingT to offer one. We think you’re gonna love it. Featuring the phrase, “Father of the Constitution, Mother of All Gameday Crowds” and the years in Roman numerals, the shirts are vintage inspired and 100% cotton. We’re pretty excited about how they turned out and hope you all like them. Order yours here today.

Oct 8 / Todd

ESPN’s College Gameday Returns to The Valley!

We really are the luckiest fanbase in the world! For the second time in three years, we knew a few weeks ago that our beloved JMU had an outside chance to host ESPN’s College Gameday. Just like 2015, we needed a 19-game parley Vegas wouldn’t even accept to make it happen. And as always, Dukes Never Disappoint!

As of last weekend, we thought Utah at USC would be the crusher of Dukes’ dreams. Then USC went and lost to Mike Leach and Wazzu on The Paulouse late-night last Friday. And Utah managed to mess around and give a home game to Stanford (ok, maybe Bryce Love had something to do with it) late last night. And in between, Youngstown (hosting NDSU this week) managed to lose a tight one in Vermillion, South Dakota to the USD Coyotes and the vaunted Oklahoma Sooners, whose QB was a Heisman favorite and had already planted the flag at the Horseshoe this year limped out of the weekend with a horrible home loss to a perennial Big 12 also-ran Iowa St. Cyclones’ squad, thus taking any remaining shine off the Red River Shootout versus Texas next week. And those are just the highlights of the ways the college football universe magically aligned to allow the Dukes another few days of unrivaled free advertising for the best place on Earth!

And this year, Coach Houston’s here to make sure the result doesn’t disappoint either! Now it’s time to show the college football world that we can step up our game even more. Don’t think for one minute this is some new normal. There are Power 5 schools that have never hosted once (looking at you Rutgers, Maryland, and Duke) much less twice in three years.

So with that said, by hook or by crook make your signs and find your way to RockTown this week to enjoy every second. Seriously, this is the time to suck the marrow out of your JMU obsession cause whatever greatness lies ahead, it’s hard to imagine a stretch where the highs will ever be this consistent. Besides the fact we both have day jobs and we’re old, we’re going to do everything we can to give you as much great JMUSB content as possible this week and we hope you’ll make us a part of your “GamedayWeek”! Also, come tailgate with us in D-Lot! Follow us on Twitter and FB as always and we’re going to try and break our own record (admittedly, not much of record) for groundbreaking (for us) stuff this week. We’ll be recording our best podcast yet tomorrow night and we’re super excited to welcome our first real guest – someone whose timing could not possibly be better. And to have an actual sponsor for the episode that could not possibly be more “on-brand.”  Hahaha, somebody kick me for that last sentence. Oh yeah, and we’re going to have a very special JMUSB Gameday tee available tomorrow from the badass new site BreakingT. No more all-cotton Dad shirts for us, we’ve got a legit company making cool tees for Dukes everywhere to improve their Rootin abilities!

Lastly, we’re working on Old Man Dos and Don’ts On Gameday for you to plan your trip. Have fun this week and Go Dukes!

Oct 5 / jmusport

Guest Post: As Fans, We Need to Clean Up Our Act

Brandon Newbill won our predictions contest last week and earned the right to guest post. This one will touch a nerve with some, but we want to go on the record saying we agree with him. We all should be a little more mindful of how our behavior impacts others and reflects upon JMU.

At the ripe old age of 33, I realize I am quickly becoming one of those “get off my lawn” type of guys. If you’ve ever seen the South Park where all music sounds like crap to Stan, that’s pretty much me.  That being said, and amidst another great football season for the Dukes, I want to use this opportunity to address something that bothers me about our fan base.  

Our business school has a great reputation.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met people in the business world and when we discuss where we went to school I’ve heard something along the lines of “JMU, yea I heard they have a great business school there.  We hire a lot of those folks”.  They aren’t basing that statement on Business Week rankings or where JMU ranks in Playboy’s list of party schools (RIP Hugh Hefner). They are basing their opinion on real world experiences and interactions with JMU Dukes.  I’m sure other JMU grads have similar experiences regardless of their major.  I wish the same could be said about our football fan base. read more…

Oct 3 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: 17 Straight, Gameday, Tom Petty, & Cheap Beer

We recorded another JMUSB podcast last night and it’s a relatively adequate one. Tune in to here us discuss the Dukes’ tough road win up in Newark and ramble on way too much about Gameday, before venturing off topic to touch on our favorite Tom Petty songs and cheap beers. And spoiler alert: we’re having our first pod guest next week. Stay tuned to find out who it is later this week.

Subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Bumpers or iTunes.

Oct 2 / Todd

Dukes Win 17th Straight, Beat Delaware

The Good

Tyler Gray – What can we say. Whatever else happened, Tyler iced this game in the final three minutes with a 48 yard bomb. He may make us nervous when it doesn’t matter, but he turns into Robert Horry when it matters. Money!

Raven Greene – The Human Turnover was back to work this week picking off one and forcing another fumble.

Welcome Back Brandon Hereford! – Even rotating frequently at LB, Hereford picked up where he left off back in last year’s Soft Houston game by leading the beastly defense with 11 tackles and a sack.

Winning Ugly – Yes it was ugly. Yes, the Dukes needed a massive UD botch to put any distance between the teams. But they’re 5-0 (2-0 CAA) heading into their bye week and exactly where they need to be. As we said last week, this stuff is hard, especially when you’re the hunted every week, and winning a road game at a place the Dukes haven’t had much success should still not be taken for granting. No phase was consistent, but grinding out an ugly win is just as important a skill and running out of streamers.

USC losing to Wazzu Friday Night – It’s almost impossible to believe, but there is a legit chance at this point that our beloved James Madison University could end up hosting College Gameday AGAIN in two weeks. Who knows, but it’s still stunning to even discuss.

The Bad

The Running Game – Look, Trai Sharp had a stat line that covers up a lot of inconsistency, but make no mistake, there is still inconsistency. We hope it’s still just an issue of needing to gel with lots of new faces and not a reflection of losing Cardon Johnson and Tyree Chavious early, but the running game is just not quite there yet. The Dukes got back Nick Edwards who rotated in on the right side and that may become a plus, but it’s unclear if all the shuffling on the right side has help or hurt the group. On the bright side, while we’re by no means giving up hope that Marcus Marshall can be a stud, one great thing from this outcome was the aforementioned Trai Sharp. After busting out for a career-high 185 yards in a game where they were all needed, he has likely seized the #1 job at about the same point this season as Abdullah really locked it in last year and hopefully he goes on a similar tear.

Intensity – This is a hard thing to gauge from a fan’s perspective. And the Dukes have brought enough intensity to win 17 straight and be on the verge of breaking the record for longest-ever CAA Football winning streak. But one thing that this year’s team still needs to figure out is how to match opponents who are consistently fired up to be playing the National Champs, the #1 team, and clearly each of their biggest game of the year. Even with the garbage broadcast (more on this later), it was apparent that UD’s players and coaches were fired up to a Super-Bowl-esque level from the opening kick.

The Ugly

Comcast SportsNet Plus – Now that was a horrendous broadcast. Not sure where you were watching, but that thing had to be refocused every other play. Supposedly it was windy. Well it was windy at other games and that’s still one of the worst broadcast qualities we’ve ever seen. Get us back to MASN or Madizone!