HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Entering the final three weekends of the regular season, James Madison was ranked No. 2 by the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Selection Committee, as the group unveiled its current top-10 ranking on Wednesday night on ESPN2.
This is the committee's only in-season ranking it will release ahead of Selection Sunday, which takes place on Nov. 24 at 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
The Dukes are 8-1 on the year, including a perfect 5-0 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play.
JMU ranks in the top five nationally in eight statistical categories, which includes leading the FCS in first-down defense (14.56). The Dukes are second in rushing defense (67.3), third on third down (53.5%), fourth in completion percentage (68.1%) and fifth in scoring offense (38.9), scoring defense (16.1), total defense (289.9) and tackles for loss (9.2).
They also rank in the top 10 in blocks (6th – 4), third-down defense (7th – 29.1%), rushing offense (9th – 238.0), sacks (9th – 3.22), total offense (10th – 463.1), first downs (10th - 24.22), fewest interceptions (10th – 4) and kickoff returns (10th – 24.84).
The Dukes were one of two CAA schools to be ranked in the top 10, as this week’s opponent, New Hampshire, was #10.
North Dakota State (9-0) paced the field with the #1 ranking. Following #2 JMU were #3 Weber State (7-2), #4 South Dakota State (7-2) and #5 Sacramento State (6-3). Rounding out the top 10 were #6 Northern Iowa (6-3), #7 Central Arkansas (7-2), #8 Montana (7-2), #9 Furman (6-3) and #10 UNH (5-3).
The Missouri Valley and Big Sky led the way with three top-10 selections each, while the CAA had a pair and both the Southland and Southern had one.
The 2019 championship field consists of 10 automatic qualifiers and 14 at-large qualifiers. The top-eight teams will be seeded, receive first-round byes and host second-round games.
The 16 other teams will bid to host first-round games, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 30. The NCAA Division I Championship game will be at noon Eastern on Saturday, Jan. 11, in Frisco, Texas, and will be broadcast on ABC.
Tickets for the playoffs will go on sale after the selection show on Nov. 24. More information on postseason ticket opportunities will be announced soon.