JMU's Matthews: Some eight-win teams will get left out
Nov 10, 2012 (Menafn - Richmond Times-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison coach Mickey Matthews thinks eight might not be enough. Nine would keep it from being a fine line.
Matthews believes his No. 9 Dukes (7-2, 5-1 Colonial Athletic Association) need to win their last two games to ensure at least an at-large spot in the FCS playoffs.
That makes today's game at No. 21 Villanova (6-3, 4-2) vital for both teams as they try to distinguish themselves from the glut of CAA teams still in contention for the playoffs.
"We're not approaching it to win one out of two," Matthews said. "We want to win the league very badly. We feel like we have some momentum after (Saturday's 31-7 win at Maine), for the first time this year actually."
The last time an eight-win CAA team didn't make the playoffs was 2003. Matthews thinks that could be the bubble line this year.
"This is a crazy year nationwide," he said. "I think there's going to be some eight-win teams left out. ...There are just not enough places."
There are 10 at-large spots in the 20-team field. The CAA put five teams in the playoffs last year but may have a tough time getting a similar number this year.
New Hampshire (8-2, 6-1) and Old Dominion (8-1, 5-1) already have eight wins. JMU can get to nine. Richmond (6-3, 4-2) and Villanova can get to eight.
"The most you can hope for in this league is with the 10th game coming up that you're still in the mix for a league championship and still in the mix for a potential playoff spot, and Villanova is in that mix," Wildcats coach Andy Talley said. "I don't feel comfortable given the fact we have to play James Madison and Delaware, but if you look at who the other guys have to play, they all have to play somebody that's pretty strong.
"We have to win two games, I think, at this point."
JMU may need another win over a ranked opponent to help its strength of schedule. The Dukes' only win over a ranked team was No. 17 Towson. One of their losses, on the other hand, was to FBS West Virginia.
JMU finishes with No. 4 ODU.
"I think our strength of schedule is good, playing West Virginia," Matthews said. "I haven't spent a lot of time looking at it. But look nationwide. They're going to leave someone out, and I think your strength of schedule is going to really jump up there."
firstname.lastname@example.org (804) 649-6965 @timpearrelltd
___ (c)2012 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) Visit the Richmond
Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) at www.timesdispatch.com Distributed by MCT
Copyright (C) 2012, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.