Friday, September 19, 2008

Is Appalachian-JMU a rivalry in the making?

While No. 1-ranked Appalachian State's game at No. 5 James Madison appears to be the next step in what is turning into a huge rivalry in the Football Championship Subdivision, Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore doesn't quite see it that way. He is a longtime friend of JMU coach Mickey Matthews, but it goes beyond that.

When the Dukes won the national championship in 2004, Moore actually attended all of JMU's playoff games.

"I followed them," he said this week. "I've sat with some of the administrators, I've sat with (Mickey's wife) Kay Matthews some. I've known Mickey a long, long time. I've been pretty involved with some of their fans. They've got great support."

The teams used to play regularly, meeting first in 1980 at JMU in what was the Duke's first Division I-AA season. Then James Madison joined the Yankee Conference and the series lapsed. JMU's league evolved into the Colonial Athletic Association. The schools have met
15 times with Appalachian winning 12, and the Mountaineers are 5-1 in Harrisonburg.

Appalachian hasn't played in Harrisonburg since 1992, but both coaches would like to resume the series on a fairly regular basis again.

--Stan Olson


Rabbit said...

This game has three levels as far as "rivalry" goes.

First, they represent the two "power" conferences of FCS/1-AA.

Second, after last year's heart attack of a game, JMU wants revenge and App wants to assert its dominance.

Third, bad blood brews between the fans. App fans are annoyed at the streamer carrying fans of JMU. JMU fans are annoyed at the arrogance of App fans.

This game will likely decide whether this is a "rivalry" or just 2 schools that often play each other. If App wins big, its no rivalry. If its close or if JMU wins then, the next matchup between these two teams will be huge.