HARRISONBURG, Va. --The James Madison University football team has been picked eighth in the preseason Football Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll, announced today. This is the second of the two major polls in determining playoff berths to come out, as the Dukes were ranked fifth in The Sports Network FCS Preseason Top 25 poll.
Returning 16 starters from a team that advanced to the second round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Football Championship, the Dukes garnered 456 points and was second among CAA teams, as Old Dominion is ranked sixth. Four other league teams are in the top 16, as Towson is right behind JMU in ninth, with New Hampshire in 12th, Delaware in 14th and Maine in 16th. William & Mary also received votes in the poll.
Last year's national champion North Dakota State received 19 of the 26 first-place votes and leads the poll with 640 points. Runner-up Sam Houston State was second at 623 points with six first-place votes. NDSU and JMU met in the second round last year in Fargo, with the Bison taking a 26-14 victory, one of their closest games en route to the NCAA championship.
The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.
The Dukes have earned significant recognition in several national preseason publications, with four of the five putting JMU in the top five. Phil Steele's Annual picks JMU second in their preseason rankings, while USA Today has Madison fourth. Athlon College Football and College Sporting News both have James Madison in the fifth spot, while Lindy's College Football picked the squad 13th nationally.
Madison will open the 2012 season at Bridgeforth Stadium on Sat., Sept. 1 at 6 p.m., hosting Saint Francis (Pa.).