The beauty of college football is that one week can make or break a season. That especially holds true for I-AA where one bad game could cost you a shot at the national title because of the limited amount of spots available in the playoff. This means that even a #1 ranked team in the nation is not immune to falling victim if they are not careful.
James Madison has so far played the best football since its national championship year in 2004 and they are going to need to be on the top of their game this Saturday as they face a very game Villanova team that should be ranked higher than 7. The Wildcats have absolutely manhandled every team they have played including Richmond at least according to Coach Matthews who stated that ‘Nova should have beaten them by more than they did.
It should be noted that JMU is about to face its fourth top 10 team this year. This is incredible and will go down as the one of the toughest schedules in the history of I-AA. What will be more incredible is if the Dukes get past Villanova because that would make them 4-0 against top 10 teams. Hopefully JMU will be prepared to go against arguably their toughest test yet. GO DUKES!
Onto the new playoff predictions!
We first start with notable updates from the Big Eight conferences. Southern Illinois routed Youngstown State, 33-0 to help keep its inside track in the Mizzou Valley. In the Ohio Valley, Tennessee State eeked out a win over Austin Peay, 37-34 to stay undefeated and atop the conference. While we won’t know much about the Patriot league for awhile, we’ll keep Lafayette atop after their convincing win over Liberty last weekend. There’s no change for now in the Southern conference but crucial games await this weekend when #4 Wofford travels to Elon to take on the 3rd ranked Phoenix while #2 App State hosts 18th ranked Furman. By the end of Saturday, we will know who the power teams are there. Finally, the MEAC title may be on the line this weekend as the Hampton Pirates travel to South Carolina State in a battle of the only two undefeated teams. Hampton stays for now.
Liberty is now gone thanks to their lackluster performance. We can also eliminate UMass after the Minutemen were routed at home by Richmond. Those two eliminations open the door for Northern Iowa and New Hampshire to slide in. Here’s how the new matchups could look:
1 JAMES MADISON v. Hampton
NORTHERN IOWA v. Central Arkansas
VILLANOVA v. Lafayette
4 WOFFORD v. Richmond
3 ELON v. Northern Arizona
MONTANA v. Cal Poly
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS v. New Hampshire
2 APPALACHIAN STATE v. Tennessee State