In the 2011 season Duke reached the final of the College Cup and narrowly lost 1-0, despite being unranked in the preseason. This year the Blue Devils will start the season off higher than they have ever been in school history, at the lofty heights of No. 2, after the NSCAA released its preseason poll Tuesday.

Stanford, which went undefeated in 2011 and defeated Duke in the final, will start the season off at No.1. The losing semifinalists, Wake Forest and Florida State, will start the year as No.3 and No.4, respectively.

A number of other ACC schools are also ranked highly with Virginia and North Carolina also in the top 10, at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Boston College is not far behind at No.11 and Maryland at No.13. Virginia Tech is the last school from the conference to be ranked in the preseason at No.22.

That eight of the 12 ACC schools are ranked in the preseason clearly shows the strength of the conference. The Blue Devils will definitely have its hands full defending its regular season  title.

The full rankings can be viewed here.

The Blue Devils are currently training in Wilmington, N.C., and will have an exhibition against South Carolina Thursday. They open the season at Koskinen Stadium on Friday August the 17th.