Why isn't James Madison eligible to play in a bowl game, Sun Belt Championship?

Let's discuss why it is so beyond moronic that the James Madison Dukes can't even go bowling.
Ty Son Lawton, James Madison Dukes
Ty Son Lawton, James Madison Dukes / Ryan M. Kelly/GettyImages

Let me introduce you to the stupidest rule still very well intact in major college football. Despite being 10-0 on the year and 6-0 in Sun Belt play, the James Madison Dukes are not eligible to even go to a bowl game. This is because they are in the second year transitioning up from the FCS level to the FBS. It has something to do with the number of scholarship players, but JMU should be going bowling.

When a team makes the leap up from FCS to FBS, it must wait two years to be eligible for a bowl game. Teams that are newish to FBS like JMU, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston are not able to participate in a bowl game. Sam Houston is terrible in its first year since moving up, but Jacksonville State is a strong 7-3 over in Conference USA. As for JMU, the Dukes are New Year's Six bowl good.

What should bother you about this to no end like it does me is these kids and coaching staffs did nothing wrong to be punished. So what if strong FCS programs like JMU, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston want to go up a level? Once Kennesaw State goes to the FBS level next year, the Owls will have to wait two years before they can even be bowl-eligible. It is a stupid rule that makes no sense?!

While I doubt that the NCAA will allow for JMU or Jacksonville State to go bowling this year, I have pretty good faith that this antiquated bylaw is going to fall to the wayside by this time next season.

This is why JMU football cannot go to a bowl game, despite being 10-0

When this rule was first conceived, the thought was no team could possibly be good enough be bowl-caliber right away. This is a level of competition higher, and these teams just aren't ready for it ... until they are ... like JMU. While the Dukes will be able to participate in bowls and other postseason games next year, I believe that College Football Playoff changes will bring about even more change.

Follow me on this. Let's say JMU was having the season it is having now next year. In this exercise, they are still one year away from being bowl eligible, even though they actually will be this time next season. If the Dukes went 12-0 overall and 8-0 in Sun Belt play, to not allow them to take part in its conference championship would be blasphemous, especially because they could make the playoff!

That right there is everything, folks. College Football Playoff expansion is all about giving every team at the FBS level an opportunity to play for a national championship. Although the pathway for teams in the Group of Five like JMU are rather treacherous, it feels like someone like Jacksonville State, Sam Houston and Kennesaw State transition would be getting the shaft for reasons that are very illogical.

JMU and Jacksonville State may not get their due this year, but the rule will change because of them.

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