HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison was ranked No. 2 in the STATS FCS Preseason Top 25, marking the third straight season the Dukes have been either first or second to start the season in the eyes of the media.
JMU received 14 first-place votes and 3,635 points, edging No. 3 South Dakota State by four points. Defending champion North Dakota State earned the top ranking in the poll, garnering 142 first-place votes and 3,971 points. Rounding out the top five were No. 4 Eastern Washington and No. 5 UC Davis.
The Dukes are coming off a 9-4 season last year, finishing second in the CAA with a 6-2 league mark. JMU advanced to the FCS playoffs for a program-record fifth straight season, reaching the second round. It's also the fifth straight year JMU won at least nine games.
JMU returns 19 starters from last year's squad while also bringing back 2017 All-American Rashad Robinson, who missed the entirety of the 2018 season to an injury. Curt Cignetti enters his first season as head coach for the Dukes, bringing in a 67-26 record over his eight seasons between Elon and Indiana (Pa.).
A total of five Colonial Athletic Association teams were ranked, as the Dukes were followed by No. 7 Maine, No. 11 Towson, No. 21 Elon and No. 22 Delaware. Five others received votes in Stony Brook, New Hampshire, Villanova, Richmond and Rhode Island.
The second-ranked Dukes open the 2019 season, presented by CarMax, on Saturday, August 31 at West Virginia. Season tickets, as well as single-game and mini-plan options, are on sale now and can be purchased at JMUTickets.com, by calling 540-568-3853 or by visiting the JMU Athletics Ticket Office inside the Convocation Center.