College Gameday to JMU? Yes.. But No.
The rumor mill has it that College Gameday might be coming to James Madison University for the Dukes’ homecoming game against Richmond next weekend.
And here was my reaction upon hearing of said rumor:
In the hours and days since the rumor first broke, I’ve come to realize that this may be more feasible than originally thought. Here is a great, sensible read from the good people behind the JMU Sports Blog that articulates the pro-Gameday to JMU point of view.
Everything in the JMUSB post seems to add up. The Gameday producer is a JMU alum. The Dukes have a dynamic, record-setting offense. ESPN could get a few feature stories pertaining Vad Lee or Everett Withers and the Urban Meyer coaching tree (see: offensive success at Univeristy of Houston this season under ex-OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman). Then there’s the JMU-Richmond rivalry aspect and how it will be one of the games of the week between not only two of the top CAA teams, but two top-caliber FCS programs (OK, I’m hyping up Richmond a little too much). However, the single-most important factor for Gameday to JMU is the lack of big-time FBS games next week. Just look at the Week 8 slate. Texas A&M (who hosts Alabama today) and Ole Miss (currently losing 24–14 at halftime at Memphis) would be the only Saturday game between featuring two currently ranked teams.
Make no mistake, I would welcome the arrival of College Gameday. Several hours of national exposure on college football fans’ favorite show? Count me in.
But, I must confess…
JMU does not deserve College Gameday. Period. Not when the students’ attitudes toward football resemble Miami residents’ attitudes toward baseball. Or better yet, ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’
“It’s too hot. I don’t want to go sit in the sun for a football game.”
“It’s too cold. I can’t go sit in the stadium for a few hours.”
Heaven forbid there be a 10% chance of rain in the forecast.
Then you get these special kinds of idiots.
“I don’t want to go to the JMU game because we should blow them out and blowouts aren’t fun.”
A) That’s why you play the game. B) So it’s more fun to play in close games and take seven years off my life every Saturday so I can die of a heart attack before age 50 just so you’re slightly more entertained?
The students don’t come when the Dukes lose, and evidently, don’t come when the Dukes (off to the best start in school history) win either.
We have a 25,000 seat stadium. Attendance has declined every year since 2011 despite the fact that the team has made wholesale culture changes and now plays an exciting, up-tempo brand of football.
And yet, it’s amazing how bad student attendance is. The few that show up halfway through the first quarter and are long gone by halftime. Pathetically pitiful.
JMU Athletics even devoted a lot of resources to finding out how to improve the student game day experience including the most suitable start times.
And yet, it seems, the problem only continues to grow. The tickets must be getting too expensive, right? Nope, student tickets are FREE. You would think broke college kids would take advantage of what their tuition is going toward. But alas, conventional wisdom and JMU students don’t belong in the same sentence.
Now, the talk around campus is that College Gameday might be coming and that it’s time to get excited. Where are you people every Saturday afternoon? You people have been to fewer games and know fewer players than Jason Pierre-Paul has fingers and now you want to get excited about JMU Football. Stop it.
I’m a die-hard fan. Been going to games since the 90s. Home and away. Playoff trips. If you’re reading this blog, then you probably have a vested rooting interest in the Dukes and want what’s best for the program: to have College Gameday come to Harrisonburg.
And because of everything not related to the football team itself, it would be the most undeserved trip to a campus that Lee Corso and friends ever made.