updated at 3:05 a.m. Monday
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updated at 3:05 a.m. Monday
If you read through the various media coverage of the news that Notre Dame has agreed to join the ACC, you might wonder if you were reading a story about Russia joining NATO.
PALO ALTO, Calif.—Duke football head coach David Cutcliffe and his team have played just two games, but the young campaign has already been a tale of two seasons. The Blue Devils were just a 3.5-point favorite against Florida International in the season opener last week, but efficient performances on both sides of the football led to a 20-point win and hope that they could upset No. 25 Stanford.
In a way, last week was a wake-up call for both Duke and Stanford. The Cardinal barely escaped San Jose State at home in their opener, and the Blue Devils opened some eyes with a commanding 20-point win over Florida International in Durham. But after meeting at Stanford Stadium Saturday night, both teams have reversed their fortunes in the season’s second week after Stanford routed Duke 50-13.
On September 3, 2011, a week before last season’s road matchup with Duke, Stanford hosted San Jose State in the opening game of its season. Behind three touchdowns from junior quarterback Andrew Luck, the Cardinal trounced the Spartans 57-3. They then beat Duke 44-14 and rolled through seven straight more wins en route to an 11-2 season and a heartbreaking overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.
On April 25, 2004, the New York Giants used the 203rd overall pick in the NFL Draft on offensive tackle Drew Strojny, who was just months removed from a 2-9 season under head coach Ted Roof at Duke. Seven drafts went by without another Duke player being selected, but with the 2012 draft on the horizon, it looked as though there was one player poised to break the streak—safety Matt Daniels.
Duke managed to upend Florida International on the road last year despite relinquishing 568 yards of total offense, but the Golden Panthers will be hard-pressed to match that number against the Blue Devils this year.
To get it out of the way—the Blue Devils won’t make a bowl game this year, but it won’t be because they are worse than they were last year.
Always one of the most unique and formidable offenses in the ACC, Georgia Tech remarkably projects to improve in 2012 on a rushing attack that racked up an average of 316.4 yards per game last season. All of the top three rushers return in head coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense—quarterback Tevin Johnson, A-back Orwin Smith, and B-back David Sims. The trio combined for just shy of 2,300 rushing yards in 2011, led by Washington’s 986.
Four months ago, Stanford head coach David Shaw watched as four of his players were selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, including quarterback Andrew Luck at No. 1 overall. The dropoff for the Cardinal in 2012 will be minor at worst, as Shaw’s top-notch recruiting class pairs with a strong collection of returning talent that should compete as one of the top teams in college football.
Even after all the anticipation for a critical Duke basketball game, it’s the rain I remember most. It started a little after midnight, and it seemed appropriate. Even the relentless street lamps of Krzyzewskiville seemed dimmer than usual as they shined on the wreckage of nights hazily passed and a game that was scarcely competitive.
Nothing about Marcus Stroman seems small, least of all his 97 mph fastball and the knee-buckling slider that routinely makes ACC hitters look silly.
Rhythm is critical to a pitcher, and on occasion even the slightest disturbance can throw a hurler off his game. This was the case for Duke freshman Nick Piscotty, who breezed through three innings before allowing his first baserunner in the fourth and unraveling in a six-run fifth inning for opposing Davidson.
ATLANTA — Luke Loucks is Florida State’s sixth-leading scorer. Yet as the clock ticked towards the 12 second mark, with an ACC championship appearance on the line, the Seminole coaching staff put the ball in the senior point guard’s hands.
ATLANTA – Luke Loucks is Florida State's sixth-leading scorer. Yet as the clock ticked towards the 12 second mark, with an ACC championship appearance on the line, the Seminole coaching staff put the ball in the senior point guard’s hands.
You have given up on this team before. You gave up on the Blue Devils after they were trounced by Ohio State in November. You gave up on them after they lost two out of three home games as the calendar turned to February—and nearly lost the third game as well after a half-hearted second period against St. John’s. You gave up on them at North Carolina, when the Tar Heels led by 10 with 2:20 to play, and at halftime of the next game, when they trailed 46-30 to N.C. State.
On Jun. 24, 2009, Duke shooting guard Elliot Williams announced that he would transfer to Memphis for family reasons. The move left Duke with just two players under 6-foot-8 heading into the 2009-10 season.
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is the first to admit that this year’s Duke roster is not the most talented he has ever had.
Prior to Saturday’s win against Maryland, head coach Mike Krzyzewski showed his team film from two games in his program’s history. The first video was from a contest that even 20 years later holds a place in college basketball lore, when Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils took down Jerry Tarkanian’s then-undefeated UNLV squad in the 1991 Final Four. In that game, Duke overcame its biggest obstacle of the season, but still had to keep its focus in order to win the ensuing championship game and bring home Krzyzewski’s first national title.
For the first time in years, Duke is reeling heading into its first matchup with North Carolina. Beginning with Wednesday’s rivalry game, the Blue Devils’ final eight conference contests will include two matchups with the Tar Heels and a road date with surging Florida State. With the postseason looming now is the time to explore how Duke might improve and survive the upcoming slate.