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Schedule and Odds
Duke football isn't the same pushover it has been in years past. Sure, they were killed by some of the top teams in the country last year, but making it to a bowl game means a lot for this school as it took them 18 years to get to one. The news gets better for the Blue Devils as Stanford, Florida State and Clemson are all gone from their schedule.
The offense will have to fill some holes as three-year starting QB Sean Renfree is out along with WR Conner Vernon who notched at least 55 receptions in four straight seasons. Anthony Boone takes over at the QB spot and that will likely lead a different kind of offense with his ability to run the ball. Juwan Thompson is also in the backfield and should lead the slew of RBs on the roster. The line returns four starters which will help even more in the rushing game. Boone will still have Jamison Crowder to throw to who finished with 76 grabs and eight TDs last season.
Duke's defense is another problem as they allowed 36 points per game in 2012. They allowed at least 42 points in their final five games (all losses) of the season. Their strength will be up front on the line and at linebacker where they have a good amount of depth. The secondary is led by All-ACC performer Ross Cockrell at cornerback. Unfortunately, he's the only returning starter in the secondary. Also in the special teams department, the Blue Devils have an all-conference worthy kicker and punter which will be big as they'll likely have plenty of close games.
2013 Duke Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. North Carolina Central
Sept. 7 at Memphis
Sept. 14 vs. Georgia Tech
Sept. 21 vs. Pittsburgh
Sept. 28 vs. Troy
Oct. 12 vs. Navy
Oct. 19 at Virginia
Oct. 26 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 9 vs. NC State
Nov. 16 vs. Miami (FL)
Nov. 23 at Wake Forest
Nov. 30 at North Carolina
Duke's schedule looks a lot better than it has in year's past which means another bowl game is a good possibility. They could very well exit non-conference play with an undefeated record. Their toughest games will come at home against Troy and Navy.
Their ACC opener comes in mid-September against Georgia Tech which will be tough, but they follow that with Pittsburgh. At the end of October, Duke will have back-to-back road games against the two Virginia schools. They beat the Cavaliers by 25 points at home last year.
It'll be difficult for the Blue Devils to overpower North Carolina for the second straight season, especially on the road, but a couple games before that can lead to wins. Home against NC State and at Wake Forest are their best chances at a couple conference wins.
If Duke's offense can continue to score points with a new quarterback, this team should be able to reach six wins. Then again, if their defense doesn't improve and Boone can't be accurate throwing the ball, six wins will be a stretch.
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