We continue our series with the Duke Blue Devils.
Best / Worse Case Record for :
After winning 27 games from 2013-2015, Duke through injuries and plain bad luck slipped to a 4-8 season. Despite the record their were some highlights as Duke won at Notre Dame, and beat arch rival North Carolina. David Cutcliffe is too good a coach to expect Duke to start slipping back towards mediocrity, but 2017 needs to be a rebound or questions will be rise that Duke may have peaked in 2013-2015.
Will Go 8-4 (4-4) if:
The defensive line matures quickly… Duke only returns 1 starter along a defensive line that wasn’t spectacular to begin with. They will be young and inexperienced this year. The schedule starts with 3 home games that are winnable, but not gimmes. After NC Central is Northwestern and Baylor. If Duke wins both of those, the season could take off.
They’ll have one of the best returning QBs in the ACC in Daniel Jones, and we know Cutcliffe can coach QBs. He’ll be in his 2nd year, and the offense could be real problem to deal with for opposing teams.
Will Go 4-8 (3-5) if:
The defense struggles. I think Duke will be fine on offense with Daniel Jones and some solid skill position players, but the defense is a huge question mark. The defensive line and secondary will not have a lot of experience. Duke might put up a lot of points, but they could give them up just as fast. NC Central looks like the only really sure win.
A couple of bad breaks is all it will take to send the season down the drain fast. Duke doesn’t have enough ability on defense to out-talent many teams on the schedule. The defense is the key to the season.