Matthews: Five-Loss Dukes Deserve Playoff Consideration

By: Damon Dillman Email
By: Damon Dillman Email

James Madison coach Mickey Matthews knows it's unlikely the NCAA would put a five-loss team in the FCS playoff field.

But Matthews, whose Dukes are currently 5-5 with 2-8 Towson coming to Harrisonburg for Saturday's regular season finale, believes an exception should be considered for his team.

"We're almost like one of those teams at the Big East, when it gets ready for March Madness," Matthews said Monday. "Everybody gets mad because they're going to take all of those teams out of the Big East every year, and they seem to select them every year. They do pretty well in the tournament.

"When you investigate it, there are some things in our favor to be considered," he said. "Not that we're going to make the tournament, but to be considered."

According to Matthews, the two things most in JMU's favor are the strength of the Colonial Athletic Association as a whole, and the strength of his team's 2009 schedule.

"Nine of the 11 teams we've played have been nationally ranked," he pointed out.

That includes five teams in the Sports Network's most recent FCS Top 25 poll, released Monday: Villanova (No. 2), Richmond (No. 4), William & Mary (No. 5), Liberty (No. 16), and Delaware (No. 25).

The Dukes are 2-3 against those five ranked teams this season.

"And we've gone in and beaten two tough teams on the road here. It's very difficult to win at Delaware and at (Massachusetts)," Matthews explained.

"Our league is that good," he said. "Whether the committee agrees with me, I don't know that. But our league is that good."

The NCAA states that "less than seven Division I wins may place a team in jeopardy of not being selected" for the FCS playoffs.

"There will be some people who say you're totally crazy for even thinking it," Matthews admitted.

"I think we have a pretty good case."


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