James Madison Dukes 2023 College Football Preview
July 5, 2023
Record – 8-3
ATS – 7-4
The Dukes made a fine impression in their first season in the FBS ranks and finished with an impressive record of 8-3. Sure, they beat their share of TOMATO CANS, but they also destroyed Coastal Carolina and MTSU, and don’t forget that they took care of Appalachian St on the road. Fun fact. James Madison would have won the East division last year if they were eligible to do so.
James Madison Dukes 2023 Outlook
The Dukes offense was a devastating outfit to deal with LY as they scored 37 PPG (#1 Sun Belt) and compiled 452 YPG (#3). Unfortunately, there are yuuuge changes on the horizon as they lose their starting QB Todd Centeio (25-5 TD to INT), their #1 RB, and #1 WR Kris Thornton who booked a 1,000-yard season in 2022. We don’t have a great feeling about the replacements but hope that we’re wrong. The QB battle appears to be between a redshirt freshman in Alonza Barnett (one career passing attempt) and a pair of MEH transfers. They return two of their top-three RBs but lose #1 Percy Agyei-Obese (908, 8 TD, 5.7 LY). The Dukes only retain one of the top-five players in receptions from the 2022 squad and losing Thornton is gonna sting. The hope for the THROW GAME is that one (or more) of several transfer portal doods step up and contribute in a meaningful way. All is not lost, however, as James Madison returns their entire starting offensive line (!) and that’ll give the new offensive weapons a fighting chance to succeed.
Things look better on this side of the football as the Dukes bring back seven starters including their top-three tacklers. Sadly, they lose their top-two sack producers (Edwards, Ukwu) who combined for 14 of those BAD BOYS in 2022. The DL should be fine as they have good depth and feature a pair of 2nd Team Sun Belt honorees. NG James Carpenter really filled up the stat sheet LY (#3 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 11.5 TFL, 3 PBU). The LB corps might be the best in the Sun Belt and all three starters are back including the team’s top-two tacklers. The back end will be fine with a pair of returning starters including CB Chauncey Logan who had an excellent freshman campaign (10 PBU). James Madison was impossibly-good on defense LY (#5 FBS total defense), and while they won’t be as impenetrable in 2023, they’re still a top-notch Sun Belt group.
Things look pretty solid as they have a lot of continuity in the unit and they poached a talented punter from Arkansas St in Ryan Hanson. PK Camden Wise was just “ok” LY hitting 11-16 FGA.
Overall – The non-conference assignments are very manageable as the toughest game is a road trip to face Virginia. They got the NIGHTMARE draw from the West and will have to tackle Troy (A, Sun Belt opener) and South Alabama (H).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Utah St (Sept 23)
This is a horrible SANDWICH situation as they’ve gotta travel to the middle of nowhere in the Mountain West right in-between the two tough conference games noted above.
Season Win Total
Market consensus July 5
Over 8.5 +100
Under 8.5 -130
There are a lot of new faces on offense and the Sun Belt schedule is a stern test.
Head coach Curt Cignetti has coached at IUP, Elon, and James Madison and compiled a fantastic career record of 108-34 (.761).
This is a tough one to call. The offense will be down a significant notch but the defense still looks nasty. And where will the motivation lie? It appears as tho they will not be eligible for the Sun Belt crown OR a bowl appearance. Last year they wanted to SHOCK the WORLD in year one of their FBS adventure, but it’s hard to say if the motivation will stay high should they lose a few games in the first half of the season. We think the downside is seven wins and the high-water mark is a nine-win campaign. Go Dukes!