In his second year on the Duke sidelines, David Cutcliffe led the Blue Devils to a 5-7 season—but once again, Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, also in his second year in Atlanta, earned ACC Coach of the Year honors Tuesday. Cutcliffe finished third for the second consecutive year, coming in with four of 40 votes, behind Johnson's 24 and Clemson's Dabo Swinney's 10.
Midway through the season, when Duke was 5-3 and sniffing its first bowl bid since 1994, longtime local sports columnist Caulton Tudor wrote that Cutcliffe "already has bagged my ACC coach-of-the-year vote," reflecting the sentiment that Duke was a streaking conference program, and the man at the top was most responsible for it. Of course, the Blue Devils went on to lose their last four games, and Johnson—Duke's top candidate before it hired Cutcliffe in 2007—catapulted the Yellow Jackets into the country's top 10 and will face Swinney's Tigers for the ACC's BCS berth.
For what it's worth, it took Cutcliffe five seasons at Ole Miss to win SEC Coach of the Year laurels. That year, he also had some quarterback named Eli Manning, who, I am told, also made a name for himself after leaving Oxford.
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