That was the day I found out that Duke made the Top 25 rankings in both the AP and Coaches’ Poll. Not in basketball, but FOOTBALL.
This is the same Duke football program that was thought to be among the worst in major college football. The same Duke football program that has a hard time competing with its conference powerhouse counterparts (Florida State and Clemson) due to its high academic standards, low undergraduate enrollment, and limited resources (outside basketball).
Yet here are the Blue Devils, ranked #25 and #24 in the AP and Coaches’ Poll, respectively.
Not only are they bowl-eligible again this season, but this is the first time the football program has qualified for a bowl in back-to-back seasons. The more surprising fact is not only Duke’s 8-2 record – the Blue Devils were one defensive stop shy of being 9-1 (the Pitt game).
How did the Blue Devils get there you ask? It’s simple: great coaching.
Coach David Cutcliffe is doing a marvelous job in changing the culture at Duke. He is getting 3-star, mid-level talent and coaching them up to be 4- and 5-star players. His players are buying in, and are now finding ways to win games. Duke won with defense at Virginia Tech, and beat down a more talented Miami team last Saturday by 18 points.
No one would have said that 5 years ago.
Now, the Blue Devils control their own destiny in the ACC Coastal Division with the right to
get crushed by play Florida State in the ACC Championship game. That in and of itself is remarkable.
Props to “Coach Cut” for doing the impossible – making Duke football relevant.