The Fallout: JMU-Tech
The I-AA rankings aren’t out as of this writing. (They’re due out in a couple of hours from our posting.) They’re worth nothing if JMU isn’t #1 after winning in Lane Stadium.
Interesting note about the I-A rankings: JMU is in them this week, in the others receiving votes category.
Second bit of fallout: Where the upset ranks, impact on Boise State
The Appalachian State win in the Big House over then-#5 Michigan in 2007 is the only point of comparison for us in terms of how big this win was for I-AA JMU, and even that one falls short in a key respect. App State was the two-time defending I-AA national champ heading into that one, and Michigan’s #5 ranking was a preseason ranking (i.e. we had no idea if they were really #5 or not, except that the writers looked at them on paper and deemed them so).
Virginia Tech was coming off a last-minute 33-30 loss to #3 Boise State heading into its game with Madison. The jury is obviously back to being deadlocked on how good Boise will be regarded now that its signature win is against a team that is effectively 0-1 in the CAA, but I don’t think anyone thinks Tech will anything other than bounce back from this and be very competitive in the ACC, and that Boise will end the regular season being part of the mix for a berth in the I-A national-title game.
If Tech loses to East Carolina this weekend and isn’t a player in the ACC, that’s one thing, and if Boise loses to Oregon State later this month and drops another game or two out west, that’s another. Right now, JMU’s win at Tech is bigger than App State winning at Michigan.
Third: Does this push a move for JMU into I-A?
Speculation has abounded since JMU unveiled its plans a couple of years back to expand Bridgeforth Stadium to a 25,000-patron capacity, with the possibility of another expansion to 40,000 down the line. Those are awfully big numbers for I-AA, obviously, so the assumption on the part of a few observers (this one included) is that the administration at Madison at least wants to have the option of a move to I-A in its future.
If there was ever a time to ramp up the due diligence work to that end, you’d think it would be now.
Question: Where would JMU fit in? That’s the sticking point to me. Is it worth the extra money to fund 22 more scholarships (in the ballpark of $300,000-$400,000 a year) to move up from the CAA to the MAC or Conference USA? If the Big East were a possibility, sure, but I’m not sure I see the Big East interested in a JMU unless the Big East were to suffer a raid by the ACC or Big Ten.
Finally: What about Mickey?
It’s the old Can they keep him on the farm after he’s seen Parie? at play here. Mickey has a better career record against Frank Beamer than Al Groh, and he did it with kids that the likes of Virginia Tech and UVa. decided weren’t good enough to play I-A football.
Mike London moved from I-AA Richmond up to the head job at Virginia. Paul Johnson is doing well at Georgia Tech after a successful stint at Georgia Southern preceded another run of success at Navy. Brian Kelly won D2 national titles at Valdosta State on his way up to Notre Dame. Jim Tressel was a winner at Youngstown State before turning the Ohio State program around.
Maybe Mickey would be content running up a few more winning seasons in Harrisonburg before retiring, but I dunno …
Column by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.