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Duke Football Preview Picks and Schedule 2011
Poor Duke. Forever a basketball school. If only they could throw the football team into a small conference, maybe the MAC or the Sun belt. Give them the chance to win a few games and perhaps go to their first bowl game in 17 years. Oddsmakers currently list Duke at odds of 150/1 to win the ACC, but it may as well be a million to one as it simply isn't going to happen.
Duke will always be plagued by lack of talent when it comes to football for the same reasons they will always be one of the best basketball teams. There's a pecking order in college sports for good players. Good basketball players choose Duke first. Good football players choose just about every other ACC team as well as just about every other team in the country. Not to mention the high academic standards at Duke.
With that being said, coach David Cutcliffe has done just about as good of a job as anyone could. In fact, we were pretty high on the job he did in 2008, so much so that we though Duke was a lock to make it to their first bowl game in years. After 6 seasons over the course of the 2000's where the team won 0, 1 and 2 games, with a 4 win season thrown in, in 2003, Cutcliffe went 4-8 in his first season but it wasn't the fact that he won 4 that impressed us, it was the fact that he closed the gap on the scoreboard. They were competitive, staying close to teams like North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest. They started the year 3-1 but went 1-7 down the stretch. No bowl again.
We thought for sure 2009 was the year. We predicted a bowl game and Duke had 5 wins with 4 games to play. We looked like geniuses with our prediction. Then Duke proceeded to lose their last 4 games. No bowl again. Then last season, winning just 3 games and no bowl once again. But they were still competitive. They beat Navy and Virginia and came close to Maryland, BC, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
Duke returns 8 starters on offense including QB Sean Renfree. This offense can move the ball on any team in the country. They ranked 22nd in the nation in passing a year ago. But the defense was close to last in just about every category and returns just 6 starters.
When you look at Dukes 2011 schedule game by game it's much easier to pencil in losses than it is to pencil in wins. Who do you give them wins against? Florida International perhaps, but they aren't cupcakes, they were 7-6 last year. Tulane? Maybe, but again, no guarantee. Maybe Boston College based on offense alone. The only game you can pen in is likely Richmond, their first game of the year.
We just don't see more than 3 or 4 wins for Duke in 2011. It looks to us as though the misery continues on the football field while Duke fans count the days until midnight madness and the almighty basketball season!
2011 Duke Football Schedule
9-17-11 at Boston College
10-1-11 at Florida International
10-15-11 FLORIDA STATE
10-22-11 WAKE FOREST
10-29-11 VIRGINIA TECH
11-5-11 at Miami FL
11-12-11 at Virginia
11-19-11 GEORGIA TECH
11-26-11 at North Carolina
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