The Duke Blue Devils came out of nowhere last year to win the coastal division of the Atlantic Coast Conference, but then took it on the chin with a 38 point loss to the Seminoles in the ACC title game Duke does have 14 starters back from that team, but im not sure they will have the same success as they did a year ago. Prediction & schedule below
Offensively, the Blue Devils averaged a solid 32.8 ppg last year, but still the play was very erratic from QB Anthony Boone, who had 13 TDs and 13 INTs on the year. He is back this year and has the luxury of returning WR Jamison Crowder, who smashed the Duke record books last year, catching 108 passes for 1360 yards and 8 TDs. Over all this is a deep WR corps as 5 of the top 6 pass catchers all return from last year. The running game was very good last year but just 1 of their top 3 backs return, so they should dip from the 170 ypg they averaged on the ground last year. The OL has 3 starters back, including OG Laken Tomlinson, who is on the first team All-ACC list. The defense was not all that good last year, allowing 26.6 ppg on the year. The secondary for this team was solid last year, and returns 2 of 4 starters to that group this year, but it is the LB corps led, by Kelby Brown and David Helton, who combined for 247 tacks and 13 TFL last year, that is clearly the strength of this defense. The DL will be the weak link here, with just 1 starter back and not much depth. Special teams is a strength of this team and is rated 2nd best in the ACC and 3rd best in the nation by Mr. Steele.
The Blue Devils had a very nice season a year ago, but still the defense wasn’t all that great and the QB play was erratic at best. They just caught some breaks at the right time. That doesn’t usually happen two years in a row. The offense is not a 30 ppg unit and if the DL doesn’t shape up then I could see them allowing at least 28 ppg this year. The Coastal Division is also much stronger this year and Duke won’t sneak up on anyone this time around. They should make another bowl game this year, but that’s about it. KEY TREND: 2-10 ATS as road dogs of 4 or more after scoring 35 or more points.
2014 Duke Blue Devils Schedule
Sat, Aug 30th, 2014 Elon
Sat, Sep 6th, 2014 at Troy
Sat, Sep 13th, 2014 Kansas
Sat, Sep 20th, 2014 Tulane
Sat, Sep 27th, 2014 at Miami-Florida
Sat, Oct 11th, 2014 at Georgia Tech
Sat, Oct 18th, 2014 Virginia
Sat, Nov 1st, 2014 at Pittsburgh
Sat, Nov 8th, 2014 at Syracuse
Sat, Nov 15th, 2014 Virginia Tech
Thu, Nov 20th, 2014 North Carolina
Sat, Nov 29th, 2014 Wake Forest
Info gathered From Phil Steele's CFB Preview and Athlon Sports
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