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Beats' picks: Can Duke football end the regular season on a high note against Miami?

<p>Can the Blue Devils leave Saturday's contest celebrating?</p>

Can the Blue Devils leave Saturday's contest celebrating?

Prior to each Duke football game, The Chronicle’s Evan Kolin, Ramona Naseri, Derek Saul, Shane Smith and Dilan Trivedi make their predictions for the contest and we’ll track their records throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ matchup with Miami Saturday:

Evan Kolin: Miami 24-14

While Duke has undoubtedly struggled this year, Miami is in the midst of its own disappointing campaign as well, coming off an embarrassing loss to Florida International. Nevertheless, the Blue Devil offense has simply been unable to get anything going over the past two months, and the Hurricanes’ top pass rush won’t help matters.

Ramona Naseri: Duke 35-31 

Since this is the last chance for Duke to potentially qualify for a bowl game, the Blue Devils will put some pressure on themselves to pull off a winning outcome. Miami poses some tough competition defensively, with linebackers Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckey leading the charge, so Duke’s offense will have to overcome its recent woes to sustain a drive.

Derek Saul: Miami 35-17

Saturday's outcome will come down to which Hurricane team shows up in Wallace Wade Stadium. The same Miami team that took No. 8 Florida down to the wire and beat ACC Coastal Division champion Virginia has lost to lowly Georgia Tech and FIU. Luckily for the Hurricanes, their opponent has not shown much variability recently, as the Blue Devils have consistently underperformed in their five-game losing streak.

Shane Smith: Miami 34-13

There’s just nothing going right for Duke right now, and I don’t expect much to change Saturday in the rain. Miami simply has too much size and athleticism for the Blue Devils and I’m not sure the hosts will be motivated enough to come out strong.

Dilan Trivedi: Miami 24-13

Although the scoreboard showed a respectable 27 points for the Blue Devils last week, over half of that came from special teams. Duke’s offense has not broken out of its slump and with no realistic chance for a bowl bid, I don’t see the Blue Devils coming out of the locker room overly motivated. The defense has also started to lose its edge in recent contests, so I expect the Hurricanes to come out victorious and end what was once a promising season for Duke.

Overall results:

Evan Kolin: 7-4

Ramona Naseri: 8-3

Derek Saul: 9-2

Shane Smith: 6-5

Dilan Trivedi: 8-3


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