Category Archives: Duke Football


Fearless College Football Predictions

imagesThe College Football season begins tonight with a decent slate of games on television.  And then there is the first football Saturday where fans have awaited the annual day of celebration.  That said, here are one mans thoughts and predictions going into kickoff.----

-- There will be two teams from one conference in the College Football Playoff.  Those two teams will come from either the ACC or the SEC.  Clemson and Florida State would be the two representatives from the ACC if they can get past opening day games against SEC foes Auburn and Ole Miss.  Or they do not stumble in the league against fellow division mate, Louisville which has spoiler potential.  In the SEC, I like Western Division teams Alabama and LSU.  Bama, like Clemson seems most likely due to scheduling and LSU has to get past their opener in Wisconsin and then avoid SEC upset which will not be easy.

-- The Pac 12 will be shut out of the playoff picture again.  The reason being is that there are actually a lot of good teams in this league but no great ones.  Everybody in their brother is picking Washington but they are in my opinion one of the most overrated teams in the nation this pre season.  By years end, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Utah, Oregon, Washington and Washington State will all have made some noise and be solid bowl teams.  Picking a conference champ in this league is a difficult task and whomever it ends up being will have at least two losses.

-- So, Michigan is the popular pick in the Big Ten and Ohio State was gutted a year ago.  Beware those who thinks this points to the Wolverines for this year they are not sneaking up on anybody.  There are some other good teams in this league but few great ones and for that reason the Big Ten will miss out on the CFB Playoff this season.  However, if there is a team that breaks through it will likely be Michigan with their paltry non conference schedule.

-- I like Oklahoma as a playoff team but in no way is that a sure thought.  They play Ohio State at home in a key early game not to mention Houston on the road in the opener.  Wait... maybe this is a silly pick.  I do think Texas improves in the Big 12 that is really ten teams.  I also think Oklahoma State will make some noise and that Baylor and TCU will still be pretty good.

Here are my picks for the top 7 teams with playoff hopes by seasons end.

1-  Alabama

2-  Oklahoma

3-  Clemson

4-  Florida State

5-  LSU

6- Tennessee

7- Michigan

Heisman Trophy Winner - Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Most overrated teams in the preseason - Washington, Ole Miss, Houston

Most underrated teams preseason - Oklahoma State, North Carolina

Opening week picks -

Louisville over UNCC by 44

Wake Forest over Tulane by 20

South Carolina over Vanderbilt by 1

Minnesota over Oregon State by 11

Tennessee over App. State by 19

Temple over Army by 16

Colorado over Colorado State by 11

Stanford over Kansas State by 17

Georgia Tech over Boston College by 6

Michigan over Hawaii by 45

Penn State over Kent State by 24

Iowa over Miami, Ohio by 27

West Virginia over Missouri by 7

Arkansas over La, Tech by 31

Northwestern over Western Michigan by 13

Clemson over Auburn by 8

TAM over UCLA by 1

Washington over Rutgers by 22

LSU over Wisconsin by 14

Georgia over North Carolina by 1

Oklahoma over Houston by 17

Alabama over USC by 14

BYU over Arizona by 1

Notre Dame over Texas by 4

Florida State over Ole Miss by 10

Duke over NCCU by 42




Sirk to Miss 2016 Season

downloadDURHAM, N.C. – Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe announced that redshirt senior quarterback Thomas Sirk will miss the 2016 campaign after suffering a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon during Thursday evening’s practice.  Sirk will undergo surgery at a date to be determined.

The surgical procedure will be performed by Dr. Annunziato Amendola of the Duke Sports Science Institute.

Sirk ruptured his left Achilles tendon on February 9 of this year.  He missed the 2013 campaign after suffering a ruptured right Achilles tendon in April of that year.

A 6-4, 220-pound native of Glen St. Mary, Fla., Sirk started 12 games in 2015 and completed 251-of-427 (.588) passes for 2,625 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions while rushing for a team-best 803 yards and eight scores on 163 attempts.  Sirk’s 3,428 total offensive yards rank as the second highest single-season total in school history, trailing only Anthony Dilweg’s 3,713 yards in 1988.

In the ACC, Sirk finished the season ranking third in total offensive yards per game (285.7), fifth in passing yards per game (218.8) and 10th in rushing yards per game (66.9).  In addition, he guided an offense that was one of just three units in the league to rank among the conference’s top five in scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense and passing offense, joining Clemson and North Carolina.

Sirk guided Duke to a 44-41 overtime win over Indiana in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl by compiling 318 yards of total offense while rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for a third score and was named the game’s co-MVP along with running back Shaun Wilson.

Duke opens the 2016 season at home against N.C. Central on September 3.  Season tickets may be purchased by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 919-681-BLUE or online at

Jones has to touchdown passes in scrimmage.

Jones Highlights Duke Scrimmage

Jones has to touchdown passes in scrimmage.
Jones has to touchdown passes in scrimmage.

DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones threw two touchdown passes while classmate Quentin Harris added one scoring strike to highlight Duke’s 65-snap scrimmage on Friday night at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Jones finished six-of-10 through the air for 55 yards with scoring tosses of 31 yards to Anthony Nash and 14 yards to T.J. Rahming. Harris hit on four-of-eight throws for 89 yards including a 73-yard touchdown pass to Sayvon Sampson while redshirt junior Parker Boehme also saw time under center and completed four-of-seven passes for 26 yards. Redshirt senior Thomas Sirk, who started 12 games a season ago and accounted for 24 total touchdowns, did not see action as he continues to recover from a ruptured left Achilles tendon suffered in February.

Duke’s rushing attack was paced by redshirt senior Jela Duncan, who rushed six times for 41 yards, while freshman Brittain Brown had 11 carries for 38 yards.

On Saturday from 2:30-4:30 p.m., Duke will host the annual Meet the Blue Devils event in Pascal Field House. Admission and parking are free for the event. The annual gathering allows fans their first opportunity to interact with #OurProgram, including meeting players and coaches with opportunities for photos, autographs and kid-friendly activities. The 2016 team poster also will be unveiled with each visitor receiving a free edition, while supplies last.

Season tickets, mini plans and Good/Better/Best packages are available online at or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 919-681-2583.

Coach Cutcliffe takes in Duke's first 2016 practice

Duke, Sirk opened 2016 practice Monday

DURHAM - Coming off a thrilling 2015 Pinstripe Bowl victory, Head Coach David Cutcliffe and the Duke Blue Devils kicked off the 2016 preseason on Monday evening.

QB Thomas Sirk was able to participate in the opening practice session despite suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon earlier this year. Sirk headlines just 10 returning starters for the Blue Devils, who will open their 2016 campaign in the newly-renovated Wallace Wade Stadium on September 3.

Monday's practice was the first official work for a number of new Blue Devils, including highly touted recruits WR Scott Bracey and S Dylan Singleton.

Preseason Photo Gallery

Coach Cutcliffe remarked on his quarterback's remarkable recovery, his team's maturity, and other highlights after practice. Duke will practice in pads for the first time on Saturday.


Duke Implements New Security for FB

Cn52fKnXgAAlz8FDURHAM, N.C. – In an effort to increase safety and security of campus visitors, fans attending Duke football games this season will take part in new security measures that include metal detectors, a no-bag policy and no stadium re-entry once a fan has exited the gates of Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.

The new measures will be in place for all of Duke football’s home games starting with theSept. 3 contest against N.C. Central University.

The security enhancements are being made as other universities and professional sports teams around the country institute similar policies and steps to create safer environments at sporting events. Duke Athletics originally rolled out use of metal detectors at the end of 2015 for basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“These extra precautions are quickly becoming a necessary trend at large sporting events,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration and Duke’s emergency coordinator. “We appreciate the patience and participation of all those who come out to the games to help us provide the safest possible environment.”

Due to the new security efforts, Duke Athletics encourages all fans to come to Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium as early as possible. Administrators estimate that it will take approximately 60 minutes to screen a maximum capacity crowd of about 40,000 using all available metal detectors at four gate locations.

“These enhanced security measures are essential as Duke constantly strives to provide the safest possible environment for all event attendees,” said vice president and director of athletics Kevin White. “Our rollout of similar policies and procedures at Cameron Indoor Stadium last season was extremely well-received and we expect the same at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium this fall. It is our commitment to provide everyone with a first-class, safe experience.”

All persons – game day staff, ticketed guests and Duke undergraduate and graduate students – will be screened before entering the stadium. For guests who can’t use a walk-through metal detector, hand-held metal detectors will be used with physical pat-downs as a final alternative option. Any person who does not consent to screening will be denied stadium entry.

The following includes more details on Duke’s new measures:

Metal Detector Screening

Before passing through metal detectors, guests will be asked to remove cell phones, large key rings, cameras, wristlets/clutches and any large metal objects from their pockets and place them in a provided container for inspection. Guests do not need to remove jackets, belts, coins, wallets, watches, jewelry or shoes. A full list of permitted and prohibited items can be found here.

If a walk-through metal detector finds the presence of items that require further inspection, visitors will be asked to step aside and undergo secondary screening with a hand-held metal detector or physical pat-down.

Accommodations will be made in certain situations for children, items of religious and cultural significance and guests with disabilities or medical devices.

For full details, see the see the "Football Game Day Entry Screening Policy" section on

Bag Policy

To increase security in a large crowd setting and provide a better entry and game experience for all guests, no bags or purses of any kind will be allowed to enter the stadium on game days with the following exceptions:

 -- Wristlets/clutches (with or without a strap) that fit in the palm of the hand (no larger 5 inches x 8 inches x 1 inch).

 -- Duke Stores merchandise bags with receipt for purchase, with restrictions on stadium prohibited items.

 -- Bags for medical and/or childcare needs.

 -- Bags for credentialed game day staff.Guests with wristlets/clutches may use any lane in the screening area and place the item in a provided bin for inspection.

Ticketed guests entering with Duke Stores merchandise bags and bags for medical and/or childcare needs must use designated a medical/family lane located at each gate screening area. The lanes will be located to far right of the Bostock Gate (north entry) and Powers Gate (west entry) and the far left of the Wilson Gate (east entry) and Finch-Yeager Bridge (Blue Devil Tower entry). Bags will be searched and tagged for entry into the stadium.


Cutcliffe talks Duke Football with media

David Cutcliffe is a Fit at Duke

cutIt doesn't seem like David Cutcliffe has been at Duke for nine years, but in one of his opening statements during ACC Kickoff, he reminds us of that.  He mentioned that along with Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, that the two were the elder coaches in the league.

When Cutcliffe inherited the reigns at Duke, the Blue Devil program was nothing more than a doormat.  He immediately gave fans something they haven't had in a long time.  In his first season Duke went 4-8 against the second toughest schedule in the country. While four wins might seem paltry in hindsight, one must note that it had been a decade since Duke had won near that many.

There were to be a few more years of rebuilding the program to where it is today.  Having covered Duke throughout the journey has been interesting for me.  There was a time when many in the fan base coveted things like wins and bowl games.  Many wondered if they would see either before their life was to end.  I was one of those people.

Make no mistake, the steps it took to get to where the program is coming off four consecutive bowl games was at times methodical.  It was easier for Duke fans to grant the rebuilding process patience in that winning would be something new.

What Cutcliffe has done is devise his own system.   It's not always perfect but he is known for being one of the best coaches in the nation for good reason.  His system promotes character and his staff teaches what it preaches.

When prospects come to visit Duke and their ever improving facilities most will point to one thing.  The word family is always mentioned to those who find a fit.  That fit is also important to the staff in that they know what it takes for players to mesh with what they're doing.

In a sense, Cutcliffe took out a page from Mike Krzyzewski's notebook.  He did so with developing a family atmosphere and going after kids with high character.  Even as I type, Duke has already zeroed in on and gained 20 football commitments for the future and are ranked 18th in the country per ESPN.

The bottom line is that prospects want to play for Duke,  They have seen that you can compete on the field and in the classroom.  They have seen that the staff is honest and genuine and that they will develop them as a players, student athletes and men.

Everything is coming full circle for the program.  While there is sure to be more growing pains, the foundation has been set.  With much improved facilities and playing in a conference that is improving every year -- the future is bright.

Duke scored big with the hiring of David Cutcliffe.  And in Durham on Brooks Field and in Wallace Wade Stadium, he has found his final home.   It is quite simply the perfect paring.

As for the aforementioned long time fans of the program who suffered along with teams past.  Well, the wait for a winning program seems worth it,  As for me mentioning that it doesn't seem like Cutcliffe has been at Duke that long ... time flies when things are going well.

Next up - Cutcliffe talks Duke Football for the 2016-17 season.