LANDOVER, Md. - While Mickey Matthews would love to be able to walk away from FedEx Field tonight with another monumental FBS feather in his cap, he knows that's a long shot.
Sure, he figures it's possible. Why not? It's happened before, perhaps under even more daunting circumstances.
It was only two years ago, after all, that he coached James Madison to a huge upset over Virginia Tech. That was not only a win by his FCS team over a ranked FBS opponent, it was at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.
At least when the Dukes (2-0) face No. 9 West Virginia (1-0) at 4:30 p.m. today (Root Sports will televise), it won't be in the Mountaineers' own back yard. In fact, the neutral-site game is closer to JMU's campus than to West Virginia's by about 65 miles.
Still, there were circumstances surrounding James Madison's 21-16 win over the Hokies in 2010 that aren't present today, and ironically they involve FedEx Field.
"Well, we wish y'all had played Boise State Monday night like Virginia Tech had,'' Matthews said.
Indeed, when JMU pulled off that upset of Virginia Tech, it was five days after the Hokies had left their game on the turf at FedEx Field. Tech had fallen behind Boise State 17-0, fought back to take the lead and then lost 33-30 on a Monday night.
That Saturday, in the rain in Blacksburg, a letdown was almost to be expected.
"Virginia Tech was a tired football team when we played them that day,'' Matthews said. "During the game their kids got very tired. They did not prepare for us until Wednesday and I said after the game that we beat them, but I'm sure we were better than Virginia Tech wanted us to be, even if they had beaten us.''
Meaning that after the emotionally and physically draining Boise State game, a lesser foe on a short week would have been nice.
Now, fast-forward two years and the situation is not like that one, save for James Madison facing a ranked FBS team.