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James Madison ranked in first season of FBS play

The Dukes are undefeated, and are in the midst of perhaps the most successful transition to the top-tier of college football ever.

NCAA Football: James Madison at Appalachian State David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The Associated Press poll for Week 7 of the college football season was released on Sunday and there is an interesting newcomer in the land of the ranked.

The James Madison Dukes checked in at No. 25 of the new poll, and this feat is impressive considering that fact that this is their first season of FBS football. Seriously, they’re ranked just five games of playing in a new classification.

This is a monumental accomplishment for the new Sun Belt program, but it isn’t surprising considering its prior credentials. JMU was an FCS powerhouse before making the jump, owning two FCS national championships in the last 18 seasons as part of the CAA. Their title victory in 2016 temporarily broke up the extended run of dominance by North Dakota State over the entire division.

This year’s Dukes team is continuing that tradition of success, currently boasting a 5-0 record heading into Saturday’s road matchup at Georgia Southern. The team has been led by quarterback Todd Centeio, who has thrown 1,312 yards and 15 touchdowns so far this season.

Unfortunately, NCAA rules prohibit newcomers from participating in the postseason during their first season, barring the Dukes from qualifying for the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game or a bowl at the end of the season. Still, this is a program you want to keep tabs on for years to come.