While Duke Football has lost its last two games, they achieved one of their goals two weeks ago with their 6th win to become bowl eligible. The losses to Clemson and Florida State knocked Duke Football down a few pegs, but there’s still a strong possibility they could end up as the 3rd choice for bowl committees from the ACC. The Blue Devils sit in 3rd place in the Coastal Division, behind Miami by 1 game and UNC (ineligible) by 1/2 game.
Remarkably, Duke’s final win total is still in their hands with games against Georgia Tech in Atlanta and at home still left on the schedule. With a bye game this week to heal their injuries and get ready for the Yellow Jackets’ triple option offense, Duke will focus on one of their other preseason goals: winning the Coastal and making the ACC Championship game in Charlotte.
There are a few scenarios where this could happen, most notably if Duke were to win their last two games. If this occurs, no matter what the other teams in the division do, they would be tied with Miami at 5-3. With Duke owning the first tiebreaker over the Hurricanes via head-to-head competition, the Blue Devils would face a rematch with either Clemson or Florida State in the title game.
If Duke isn’t able to overcome the Hurricanes in the final regular season game, they’ll need a lot of help in order to win the Coastal. Here are the possible regular season scenarios for the end of Duke’s best football season since 1994 to end in an appearance in the ACC Championship game.
- Win out. (Finish 8-4 overall, 5-3 ACC)
- Beat Miami and lose to Georgia Tech. (7-5, 5-4)
- Miami has to lose to Virginia AND Virginia Tech needs to lose 1 more game (FSU, BC, UVA)
- Beat Georgia Tech and lose to Miami
- Need Miami to self-impose a bowl ban (could happen) AND Virginia Tech to lose 1 more game
While Duke having a bye week so late in the season certainly didn’t do them any favors as they struggled with early injury troubles, coming before the Georgia Tech game is always the right time to have a bye. Per YieldToFrump, Georgia Tech under Paul Johnson has faced 16 FBS opponents with more than a week to prepare. Their record against those foes? 3-13.
While that all sounds great, stats are not necessarily on Duke’s side when looking for precedent. Under David Cutcliffe, Duke’s road ACC record is 5-14. But, this season isn’t like any other Duke season since I was in high school. That was a long time ago. If there is any season where past results shouldn’t matter, it’s this one for Blue Devils football.
So this week, since there won’t be a Duke Football game to root for, do your part to root for the teams that could help Duke end up in Charlotte for the ACC Championship game.
- Tune in Thursday night at 8 PM to root for FSU against Virginia Tech on ESPN.
- Tune in on Saturday at 12 PM to root for Virginia against Miami on ABC.
- And tune in on Saturday at 12:30 PM to root for UNC (yes UNC, they already beat themselves) on the ACC Network.