The Duke Football Essay Project: Tulane

Holy sweet suffering saints on the cross: Duke scored 48 points.

It’s not like it hasn’t happened before. In fact, it happened last year, twice. But after losing to Richmond and barely surviving on the road at BC, I was just hoping we could eke out a win against Tulane. Instead, the Devils brought the mollywhomp sticks to Wallace Wade. Renfree threw for 278 yards. The Killer Vs rolled up 168 yards in the air. Will Snyderwine made a field goal.

It was a great win, and after a miserable first two weeks we’re back to .500. 2-2. Before the season, I wrote a joke post where I convinced myself Duke could win a national title. Now, it’s time to get serious and ask a legitimate question: can Duke make a bowl game? This is the next rung on the ladder for a program starting to poke its head up from the bowels of misery.

It’s going to take six wins, which means Duke has to win four of its last eight. Let’s check out the remaining schedule and see what we can sell ourselves.

Week Five: At Florida International

Verdict: Winnable, but barely. FIU is a strong team (3-1) who already beat UCF, a team that nearly topped BYU last Friday. They won on the road at Louisville the week before that, and only suffered their first loss this past Saturday, 36-31 at home to Louisiana-Lafayette. They’ll almost definitely be tougher than Boston College, so Duke can’t make its usual mistakes and expect to escape.

But since it’s winnable, let’s put it on the board. That’s a 3-2 record.

Week Six: Vs. Florida State

Verdict: Not a chance. Too fast, too explosive on offense, too desperate for ACC wins. Hypothetical Duke is 3-3.

Week Seven: Vs. Wake Forest

Verdict: Very winnable, but by no means a cake walk. Wake took down N.C. State this year and barely lost up at Syracuse. Those aren’t fantastic results, but they show they’re not a walk-over. Nevertheless, Duke seems like a better team. We haven’t beaten Wake since 1999, but this should be the year. We’ll give Duke 4-3.

Week Eight: Vs. Virginia Tech

Verdict: Forget it. 4-4.

Week Nine: At Miami

Verdict: Totally possible. The Canes fell to Maryland and Kansas State, neither of whom look terrific so far, and won against Ohio St. This won’t be an easy game, and Miami will be favored, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. For the sake of argument, we’ll call this one a draw. 4-4-1 for Duke.

Week Ten: At Virginia

Verdict:  Winnable. UVA has played tougher than expected this year, and are 2-2 with tough losses to UNC and Southern Miss, but this is not a powerhouse by any means. They’ve given up 28 points in three of four games, and Duke’s attack should be effective. We’ll call it a win, and 5-4-1 for the Dukies.

Week Eleven: Vs. Georgia Tech

Verdict: Not only can we not win this game, but it’s going to be annoying as all fuck to watch Tech run the triple option to death. This is already the worst game of the year, and it hasn’t happened yet. I hate that Tech. 5-5-1.

Week Twelve: At North Carolina

Verdict: This goes squarely in the ‘you never know’ category. It’s pretty similar to Miami, actually, although considerably more difficult. I don’t think an upset is impossible, but it’s pretty unlikely.

All things considered, let’s make Duke 5-5-2.

Conclusion: We need to win (and should) against FIU, Wake, and Virginia. We will probably not win against Virginia Tech, Florida St., or Georgia Tech.

Which means bowl eligibility will come down to stealing one win at Miami or UNC. Not a fun conclusion, necessarily, but not hopeless either. And seriously, can you imagine a better way to make a bowl than beating Carolina in the final weekend?

At the end, though, I’m left with an important, lingering question: why the hell couldn’t we play State this year?

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3 Responses to The Duke Football Essay Project: Tulane

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  1. You lost me at Miami.

  2. sanfransoxfan says:

    2 out of your 3 “shoulds” at best. This is the year before the year.

  3. Put in the rookie! Go Boone!

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