Tag Archives: BDN college football picks

Matt Daniels claims week 5 victory in BDN College Football Picks

St. Louis Rams’ safety Matt Daniels claimed the week 5 victory with an impressive 9/10 performance. All four Blue Devil Greats and all four Blue Devil Nation staff members correctly picked the Blue Devils to snap their 12-year losing streak to Wake Forest last Saturday. At 4-1, the Blue Devils have a crucial showdown with the Virginia Cavaliers this week, and despite a number of injuries, our experts are all confident Duke will find a way to win again this week.

Here are the overall standings:

In week 6, we’re closing in on the halfway point of the college football season, putting us deep into the heart of conference play. The SEC gets top billing this week with two huge conference matchups, as #4 LSU travels to #10 Florida, and #5 Georgia heads up I-20 to take on #6 South Carolina. Urban Meyer will look to stay unbeaten at Ohio State as they host Big 10 rival Nebraska, and in the Big 12, Geno Smith and the explosive West Virginia Mountaineers head to the Lone Star state to face the Longhorns. Way out west, Washington hopes to pull off another big upset against Oregon.

The Triangle plays host to three big matchups on the ACC schedule this week. Down 15-501 in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels will look to send the Hokies back to Blacksburg with another loss, while over in Raleigh, NC State looks to upset #3 Florida State. Duke looks to get to 5-1 with a win over Virginia in Wallace Wade Stadium. Elsewhere in the ACC, Clemson hosts the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech and Miami travels to Chicago to take on Notre Dame.

Here are this week’s picks:

Patrick Cacchio: There is no love lost in this matchup, as the two teams clash in another critical ACC contest. The Blue Devils will have to keep their emotions in check, but the extra motivation UVA provided with their past unsportsmanlike play will have Duke ready for revenge. Expect Sean Renfree to play and have a big day along with Conner Vernon, who will become the ACC’s all-time receptions leader with his first catch of the day. Virginia will have success moving the ball in Phillip Sims’ first college start; it will be up to the depleted Duke secondary to come up with another critical turnover to set up Ross Martin for the game-winner. Duke 38, UVA 35

Bob Green: Quarterback is the main consideration for everyone analyzing this week’s match-up. Duke’s starter, Sean Renfree, hurt his elbow against Wake Forest and Virginia’s back-up Phillip Sims hurt his leg against Louisiania Tech. Throw in the fact Virginia starter Michael Rocco is the only QB in the ACC with more interceptions than touchdowns and the QB situation for both teams is as clear as a country road in heavy early morning fog.

I’ve seen some reports Virginia desires to open their playbook up and air the ball out this Saturday afternoon. With the success Duke has had pressuring opponent’s quarterbacks so far this season, tied for second in the ACC with 14 sacks, I’d say that strategy would be playing straight into Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles hands, or more accurately stated, straight into Kenny Anunike and Dez Johnson’s hands.

My expectations are for an extremely tight contested ball game that is decided late in the fourth quarter by a field goal. If my scenario comes true, Duke fans have to be excited to have the accurate leg of freshman Ross Martin to pin the outcome upon. Duke 34, Virginia 31.

Andrew Slater: In arguably Duke’s biggest game in more than a decade, they’ll face a UVA coming off of an embarrassing loss to Louisiana Tech. With Renfree listed as a game-time decision, the fate of the Blue Devil may fall on the shoulder of Anthony Boone, who did a great job in the final quarter against Wake Forest, and a severely banged up defense to slow down an aggressive and versatile UVA offense now featuring Phillip Sims, the Alabama QB transfer. I’m sufficiently concerned about the Blue Devil defense, but am hoping that somehow they can slow down the equally pass-happy Cavaliers through schematics, the collective will of the players, and an energized fan base looking at potentially Duke’s first bowl game in eighteen years. It’ll be interesting to see if weather plays a factor in this afternoon game as both teams have struggled to establish the run this year. 34-31 Duke

Mark Watson: This is am important game for both teams moving forward and it will be a battle of wills. If the Blue Devils do not get complacent or play from behind, they’ll win this game and be one win shy of bowl eligibility. Duke 37 Virginia 30

Bob Harris: The Blue Devils will handle whichever QB takes the field for the Cavs. Duke has an attitude now, and 5-1 is coming and UVA heads home at 2-4. Final Duke 45 – UVA 27.

Matt Daniels: Duke is on fire right now, snapping a 12 game losing streak against the Deacs and about to regain a winning streak vs the struggling Cavaliers. Duke wins on offense against a young Virginia secondary 31-14.

Thad Lewis: Duke has to stay healthy and continue to play all around football; defense, offense, and special teams must continue to play consistently.

Vinny Rey: I see Duke’s defense being able to cause key turnovers to be the difference in the game, along with an explosive offense. Duke 27 Virginia 13

Duke-football

BDN staff picks against Blue Devil Greats Bob Harris, Thaddeus Lewis, Vincent Rey, and Matt Daniels

BDN’s weekly college football picks are back, and with some added NFL swagger. For the 2012 season, four Blue Devil Nation staff members will test their college football acumen against four Blue Devil Greats.

Calling the plays for the Greats will be the Voice of the Blue Devils, Bob Harris. In thirty-six football and basketball seasons, Harris has broadcast over 400 Duke football games and more than 1,200 Duke basketball games, including thirty-seven ACC tournaments, twelve Final Four games, nine ACC championship games and four NCAA titles. After winning his third North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year award in 2011 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, BDN is thrilled to have Bob join our weekly college football picks.

Lining up under center for the Blue Devil Greats is Cleveland Browns QB Thaddeus Lewis. A four year starter in Durham, Lewis became Duke’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns during his career. Entering his third season in the NFL, Lewis is 5/8 for 90 yards this preseason.

Two great Blue Devil defenders will quarterback the defense.  A two-year team captain while at Duke, Cincinnati Bengals LB Vincent Rey ranks 9th all-time in tackles at Duke and is the career leader with 3 fumbles returned for TDs. After playing in 18 games his first two seasons in the NFL, Rey enters his third year with the Bengals and has totaled 16 tackles already this preseason. St. Louis Rams safety Matt Daniels finished his Duke career as a 1st Team All-ACC selection and 2nd Team All-America selection in 2011. On Duke’s all-time records charts, he ranks 13th in tackles, third in caused fumbles and tied for sixth in pass breakups. He signed as a free agent with the Rams in April.

BDN’s staff of Patrick Cacchio, Bob Green, Andrew Slater and Mark Watson will try to keep up with this quartet of Blue Devil Greats. Follow along all season long as we pick some of the nation’s toughest games and give our predictions for the Blue Devils’ weekly match-ups.

Mark Watson: Did you know that the Blue Devils’ last win came against these Panthers, who return most of their starters and have made two consecutive bowl games? Duke has few seniors on the roster but despite low numbers they are good leaders. Expect a hard fought game which goes to the wire. Duke 27, FIU 23

Patrick Cacchio: The Golden Panthers, a preseason pick to win the Sun Belt Conference, present a tough opener for the Blue Devils this year. Last year’s thriller in South Florida came down to the wire, with Duke’s Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo forcing a crucial fumble to secure the victory. Expect a similar slugfest under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium, with the Blue Devils emerging victorious thanks to a crucial turnover and clutch special teams play. Duke 27, FIU 24

Bob Green: This game will be won in the trenches. Duke’s offensive line is big, strong and experienced so it is time for them to exert their will over FIU’s vaunted defense and lead Duke to victory. The running backs have to have holes to run through and Sean Renfree must have time to throw the ball down the field. It all starts with the big horses upfront!

On defense, Duke’s defense is unproven up the middle with the graduation of NT Charlie Hatcher and Safety Matt Daniels along with the injury to MLB Kelby Brown. The key will be finishing sets with stops on 3rd down so the offense comes back on the field.

Fans should look for a Duke freshman to make a big play on Special Teams: Duke 27, FIU 24.

Andrew Slater: Florida International presents a challenging opening round opponent for Coach David Cutcliffe’s strongest and deepest Duke team. Both teams return a lot of starters, but it will be interesting to see the early impact of the slight permutation of moving Durham native Desmond Scott to receiver and the addition of big play sophomore Jamison Crowder to Duke’s record-setting wide receiver, Conner Vernon. Last year, the Blue Devils did an excellent job in pass protection for QB Sean Renfree against FIU, but FIU 6’4″ DL Tourek Williams, the Sun Belt’s preseason defensive player of the year, will provide an early test for Takoby Cofield and arguably Duke’s strength, the offensive line. Duke’s special teams should see, at least, a marginal improvement with the addition of freshman All-American kicker Ross Martin. In what very well may end up being a close battle between Duke’s short passing game, which can take advantage of the veteran Renfree’s accuracy and long-standing comfort level with Vernon, and FIU’s keep and contain defense, the improved field goal kicking, which was an abysmal 45% last season, could be the deciding factor in a third opening game victory for Coach Cutcliffe at Duke. Duke 30, FIU 24

Bob Harris: DUKE in a great game. Duke’s run-game is much improved, and the versatility of this team will send them into the winner’s circle. Duke 38, FIU 21

Matt Daniels: Although Duke is troubled by injuries going into the season, as usual, they will top FIU due to the work of their special teams. I look for Lee Butler, Jamison Crowder and Tim Burton to make huge plays on special teams to give Duke the edge to win the game. Duke 28, FIU 17

Thad Lewis: Duke, of course, with a 28 to 14 victory with Sean throwing 3 TDs and one of the backs giving us one TD on the ground. Duke 28, FIU 14

Vinny Rey: Duke, led by fifth year senior Sean Renfree, will continue their aerial attack afresh and anew in Wallace Wade. Kenny Anunike and the defensive linemen will win up-front, causing major havoc. This will be Duke’s year: Duke 34, FIU 17

BDN College Football Picks – The Final Week!

Well, we took one on the collective chin last week as it was upset city in the top 25. With rivalry week upon us, anything can happen and the coveted BDN inaugural pick’em championship is still up for grabs.

1. Andrew
2. Bob -1
3. Patrick -3
T-4. Mark -6
T-4. Guest -6

With the Victory Bell at stake this week, we welcome in former Duke lineman Brandon Harper, who knows what it’s like to face the Tar Heel pass rush. Thanks for joining us, Brandon!

Mark – A handful of seniors will play their last game for Duke as they travel to North Carolina to take on the Tar Heels. If Duke were healthy, I think they could pull off a win but the team is battered at this time. Still, I expect Duke to play with a lot of heart and give the home team all they want only to come up just short in the end. UNC 28, Duke 24

Bob – Duke can salvage a disappointing season by knocking off Carolina and returning to Durham with the Victory Bell. This game like all games will be decided by which team controls the line of scrimmage, wins the turnover battle and executes without making mistakes. Duke must achieve balance on offense by successfully running the ball and I’m still waiting for the special teams to make a huge play such as a blocked punt or return for a touchdown. Tomorrow would be a great time for something special to happen.
Duke 28, UNC 26

Patrick – The Blue Devils are desperate for a win to build momentum for the program into 2012. Duke’s seniors led a strong effort a week ago against Georgia Tech, and they’ll have one last chance to ring the Victory Bell on Saturday. It’s Duke vs. North Carolina and anything can happen, but I think Matt Daniels and Donovan Varner will find a way to win this game against their rivals. Duke 28, UNC 27

Andrew – Although Coach Cutcliffe has brought a level of respectability and stability to the Blue Devils, Duke is looking to end the extensive losing streak to arch rival, North Carolina. The last two weeks have brought promise in frustratingly close games to quality opponents. If they can accomplish the and defeat the ethically challenged Tar heels, it would generate momentum for next year’s squad and show a clear sign of progress for in-state recruiting. Unfortunately, a chance to ring the victory bell is likely at least a year away. UNC 31, Duke 21(unfortunately)

Brandon – Rivalry Week, lots of emotions will be left on the field this week. For the Blue Devils to achieve their desired outcome they must come together and play their most consistent game of this half of the season. History tells us this is always a close game; this year will be no different. With both teams ability to rally in the second half, it will be interesting to see how this one turns out. I think the Defense will continue to feed off senior safety Matt Daniels and give the Carolina offense some trouble. If QB Sean Renfree and the Duke offense can start where they left off last weekend against Georgia Tech, the high powered offense could potentially lead them to a win. I see Duke coming out playing with their backs to the wall, feeding off adrenaline from rivalry of this game and the seniors especially Senior Offensive lineman Kyle Hill who’s season ended early, Duke takes this one and rings the bell Duke 31, UNC 28

Thanks to all who followed along with us this season, and a big thanks to all who participated. Please send your feedback for our inaugural college football pick’em to patrick@bluedevilnation.net. Happy Thanksgiving!