Tag Archives: Duke-Alabama

A Loaded Alabama Team is Too Much For Duke

The Duke Blue Devils have the unenviable task of opening their college football season against #2 Alabama in the Chic-Fil-A kickoff game.

While the game is technically played on a neutral field, Crimson Tide fans will be  in 99% of the seats in Atlanta, Ga.  Duke Coach David Cutcliffe said during his press conference, that he turned up the crowd noise as loud as it would go trying to prepare for the noise factor expected in Atlanta.

Adding to the difficulty in this matchup is the fact that Alabama has incredible depth and talent.  The Tide simply reloads from season to season with future NFL players and they have multiple All Americans on their roster.

Alabama is coming off an unusual lopsided loss to Clemson in the national championship game a season ago.  So, yeah, they will be more than a little focussed and they have already tabbed as a 35 point favorite over Duke.

If you need more hype for the Blue Devils opponent, Alabama has won 44 consecutive non-conference games.  The Tide has also won 17 straight season-opening games.

Alabama has it all.  Check the boxes off on household names like quarterback Tua Tagovalga who leads a bevy of NFL talent at every position on offense.

Another box to be checked is overall talent where this teams roster has the nation's top recruits for several years running.  In short, they have playmakers galore on offense with too many names to mention.

If that is not enough bad news, Alabama has what is projected to be the best defense in the country.   The Tide backups would start at most of the schools in the country.

The Tide will actually start four freshmen, two of them being interior linemen.  But these are diaper dandies or young men who will be gone after their sophomore season to the NFL draft.

You may have heard Duke coach David Cutcliffe say his program has earned this opportunity and they have.   Duke has been to 6 bowl games in the past 7 seasons.  Duke is also 9-2 in openers since Cutcliffe took over at Duke.

The last time Duke faced Alabama, they added extra bleachers in Wallace Wade Stadium.   That game took place nine years ago and Alabama embarrassed Duke 62-13 and this was when Alabama was just returning to the dominance they display today,

The talent gap has closed since that time, but Duke is rebuilding on offense with the loss of Daniel Jones to the NFL.  Duke will have three true freshmen on their two-deep at wideout and not necessarily because they are ready for this kind of playing time.

While Duke has recruited better, especially up front since the last meeting, Alabama has pretty much gotten every other player they wanted since that time under Nick Saban.

I suppose cutting to the chase is in order here before going any further.  Duke is not going to win this game.

Duke will compete as best they can and Cutcliffe will use film from this game to learn a lot about his team moving forward. The Blue Devils can ill afford injuries at certain positions, so they will look to come out of this one as healthy as possible.

If this game gets out of hand, look for Quentin Harris to be pulled for Chris Katrenick.  The good news is that Duke needs quarterback reps.  The bad news is Duke drops off a lot without Harris due to their backups inexperience.

The bottom line is that Duke has to survive this game.  And this is the best team they will face all year.  Heck, Alabama is the best team every team in the nation would face.

While Duke has some good talent at several positions, Alabama is the kind of juggernaut that just wears you down and then runs roughshod in the second half.

Duke will struggle to find the end zone against Alabama.  The Blue Devils need to control the clock but you have to move the ball in order to do that.  This is quite simply a nightmare of a match up if not the worst possible scenario on paper.

While the Duke defense is a strength, Alabama has a boatload of skilled players want to wipe the loss to Clemson from their memory.

So what I see happening is the defense letting up some points, not so much from not playing well but just getting worn down.  I do not think Duke has the horses to gain a lot of yardage against a stellar Alabama defense.

If Duke turns the ball over, the game can get ugly which is what the majority of people in America expect.  Duke just needs some positives in this game and to come out of the contest relatively healthy. while learning about themselves as a team.

There are just too many negative intangibles in this one.  It is not a good match up for a Duke team breaking in new wideouts and with the kicking game still in question.

The pick here is Alabama 45 Duke 10

Our brass tacks season projecion can be seen by site members on the Blue Devil Nation forum.

BDN’s Monday Musings – Bama hangover, the shadow of basketball

A Monday Musings tradition is the Cheerleader of the Week - Lance King, BDN

It's time for another edition of Monday Musings where I talk about whatever comes to mind with concerns to the Duke Athletic programs. 

Tide rolls in, Tide rolls on, Tide rolls out

When Alabama fans travel, they do so in force and when their fan base got wind that they could feel Wallace Wade Stadium the trip was considered a tourist event for many of their fans.  Waves of Crimson filled the Triangle area this past weekend where they boosted the local economy by six millions bucks.  In all honesty, it was closer to an Alabama home game than a Duke one for the crowd was 60-40 from my vantage.    It was mere seconds before one realized that Duke didn't stand a chance against a superior team.  Fans watched on as several athletic plays made one realize that this Bama team was just down right nasty good.  As the dust cleared from a 62-13 day and what seemed like the longest first quarter ever the Bama fans slowly packed up and headed back to the Deep South where they'll take on Arkansas in a dandy matchup.

In comes Army

It won't take long for Duke fans to miss the huge crowds from the Alabama game for there will be plenty of tickets available when Army rolls in.  And you know what?  They can run the ball and the Blue Devils have trouble stopping the run.  This has become a stressful situation for the football team for they so badly need this win and it adds a ton of pressure.  Despite Duke's early struggles they open as a 6.5 favorite.

Live and learn

One day down the road when Sean Renfree looks back on the Alabama game, he will realize the many lessons he learned.  Renfree rushed some passes on Saturday where film shows he could have held the ball a full two seconds or so more.  One must remember just how young Renfree is and that he is a tireless worker.  There is no doubt that he will be a really good quarterback as his career progresses.

Devils entertain recruits

We've already listed the names of several football prospects which visited campus this past weekend, but hoops was at work as well.  A key PG prospect Quinn Cook was on campus where he hung out with players, namely Nolan Smith.  Marshall Plumlee was seen towering over fans at the game as well and while I did not see Michael Gbinije, he was there.  There were a couple of more names as well which we will cover as the week goes on.


Coah K looking cool in his not so cheap sunglasses. You know, the song? Okay, nevermind. Coach K honored at the half.

Duke Baketball casts a huge shadow

No matter how ballyhooed the football game can be in Durham, basketball casts a huge shadow over athletics at all times.  Cameron Indoor Stadium saw about three thousand visiting fans at one time or another this past weekend and Coach K was honored at midfield at the half for winning another Gold for Team USA.  The excitement is already upon us and it should be for this years team will be the pre season number one ranked team in America.  Alabama fans who recognized Duke players were asking for their autographs as if they were celebrities and there were plenty of comments overheard.  FWIW, the pre season magazines are hitting the stands hard and Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith ad Kyrie Irving are all on the first three All Americans teams in each one.  Oh, and ESPNU will televise part of Countdown to Craziness.

Scalpers took a bath on Game Day

Scalpers are a necessary evil for folks always need tickets but when dealing with them you often feel like a shower is in store.  In short, they make used card salesmen look appealing.  Many of them made a killing with on line services leading up to the game but everywhere you turned on game day tickets were available below face value.  This often happens when anticipation outweighs the desire for the game has been called a sell out keeping many folks in front of their flat screens at home.

Pick the score contest winner

Tom4Duke was this weeks winner predicting a 62-17 Alabama win.  You can win one month of BDN Premium by sending us your Duke-Army pick via Twitter this week and being the closest to the score.  If you nail it, we'll give you three months of premium access.  The rules are simple - 1- you must have the winner, 2- be the closet to the actual score of both teams.  Example - You pick Duke to defeat Army 24-17 and the score is actually Duke 28-24, you are 11 total point off and of course the lower the number, the better for you.  Had you picked Army to win, you would have been automatically out.

Okay Duke fans, it’s time to turn out in force and wear your royal blue with pride

DURHAM - If you are out and about in the Durham area today, you can already see those Bama flags with that curious elephant on them flap about on out town cars.  The invasion of Bama faithful is on as the nations number one team has even the most casual fans excited about what is turning into an event unlike any other seen in these parts for some time.

N.C. State and North Carolina are just mere miles from the Duke campus but in Tuscaloosa, the Tide is the only game in town and state with the exception of their rival, the Auburn Tigers.  Duke Coach David Cutcliffe warned of the invasion during his weekly press conference and it's as if he knew exactly what to expect.  He mentioned that the visiting fans would be walking around the campus and stadium to check it out and sure enough after leaving Coach K's Thursday press conference, there they were strolling around campus on two full days before the game kicks off.

But the Tide fans weren't the only curious ones.  Duke fans came by to see the erected bleachers which transform Wallace Wade Stadium into something much different than some are used to.  In the open end of the stadium there is a huge section of bleacher brought in from the games hype.  Across the top, there are three other sections on each side.

All photo copyright BDN

There is even a smaller section in the closed in of the stadium which is reserved for a ton of Duke Football prospects, coaches and others affiliated with the program in some way.  The word is concessions are stocking up as if  two games being played but let us warn you that going to get your soda's and such could cause you to miss big portions of the game so plan accordingly.

Another suggestion is to leave as if this was a 1:00 game for traffic will be at an all time high and confusion will reign as the invading horde tries to find their way around.    In short, there is no trial run for the circus, but that is half the fun for unless you are there you cannot witness what is sure to be a sight for the local fans.

This is the game where Duke fans should all wear their royal blue with pride and cheer like they never have before and back the team and program no matter how the game progresses on the field.  This team deserves that support for they are young.  Coach Cutcliife deserves this for he is truly turning the once moribund program around.  The Administration deserves this for they allowed this game to remain in Durham instead of selling out for short term bucks.

Get out there and tailgate folks!  Go to the Chapel and or line the way as the Blue Devils march through two hours before game time on their way to Wade.  Simply get out there and enjoy the atmosphere of big time college football and learn from the experience.  And when you leave you will not only say, "I was there," but you will take away a unique experience and a part of the process of growing the program to where they desire to be.

Duke Senior TE's Huffman and King BDN Photo, may not be used without prior permission

Alabama is good.  Heck, they are real good, awesome if you will.  You can almost see Godzilla mving in from tree tops afar.  As solid as they are though, too much local focus has been on them instead of our own.  When you are watching the game, keep in mind that the vast majority of these Devils will return next season and that a solid quarterback in Sean Renfree is just beginning his career.

Very few people expect Duke to win but that's okay for sometimes you can actually win a bit in a loss.  This may be the case for Duke in that they can measure themselves against future NFL starters and carry any positives over into the rest of the season.  They will see the highest level of football and can take away gains from the experience.

And for gosh sakes, cheer them on even in the toughest moments.  Be heard on third down plays despite what may have happened in the previous possession for just one stop can lead to good things.  It will seem like a Alabama North game to many but this is still our house and our turf.  Let's not roll over and concede without a fight both in the stands and on the field.

Your team needs you.  Cheer loud, cheer often and wear your Duke Blue and if you are on the fence about going, if you don't you can never say, "I was there when the nations best team came to town and the place was packed."  Don't fret the worries about a ticket if you don't have any, just go and things will work out.  This is a call to arms for Duke fans from BDN.  Don't let "your" Blue Devils down.

The spirit of Wallace Wade will be roaming about, but will you?  Bring the spirit!

Monday Musings – Another Gold for Coach K, Recruiting, Duke-Bama, need 2 tickets!

Back by popular demand is a shot from cheerleaders past! Okay, we cannot access our latest pics so this weeks Monday Musings cheerleader of the week is from the past.

It's Monday morning and that means more musings from BDN and we start it off talking of Coach K and his added wears.  We then go into basketball recruiting and end of course with a game which is rocking the headlines, that being the #1 team in the nation, Alabama visiting Duke.

No lickings but he sure keeps ticking

What could Mike Krzyzewski possibly do after coming off a gold medal in the Olympics and winning a national championship with Duke just months ago?  That's simple for him.  He goes out and restores USA atop the FIBA rankings and returns the Naismith Trophy to the United States.  Watching Duke, er, Team USA defeat Turkey in their backyard yesterday, it was easy to see why I mistakenly thought I was watching the Blue Devils.  Team USA used some lock down defense and their quickness to squelch any hopes of  a comeback from Turkey once they built an early lead they never relinquished.  The end result is more confetti atop the heads of the HOF Coach and his sidekick Robin, otherwise known as Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins.  I found that many Duke faithful felt they were pulling for their beloved home team when watching the games, hanging on every made basket or turnover.  Meanwhile, back in Durham, construction began at the Krzyzewski home where an extra room was being added to house all of his trophies and wears.  Yes, I am kidding.  I do wonder where he puts all of those awards though.

Another shot in the arm for recruiting

So here is Coach K without a single player from the Olympic team, referred to by the media as the "B" team but my thinking is that Coach will have none of that chatter.  Krzyzewski has proved time and time again that he adjusts to his teams strength and weaknesses and in the process he made Kevin Durrant a household name.  His team bought into the defensive philosophy that it takes to win in International Basketball and each players, despite being the man for their NBA teams bought into the scheme which is a testament to his communication skills.  Any prospective Blue Devil could not help but be impressed with how the NBA guys took to Krzyzewski and his staff and you can bet that this was another shot in the arm to recruiting.  Add that to the style his 2010-11 team will play and you can bet that some good names will start to show up soon.

BDN Premium has the latest on several prospects

In our latest offering on BDN Premium our all access  extended service subscription site, we take you inside the recruiting front.  Our first offering of the week is an update with prospect Tony Parker, a load of talent in the paint.  Parker talks to BDN's west coast correspondent Varand K, yes we have our K around here too, about the recruiting process.  As you can see by the headlines, Parker has confirmed he will attend Countdown to Craziness and he chats of Nate James recent visit as well.   It is truly a good time to join and learn of what is going on on the recruiting trail which will soon be red hot.  Heck, it already is inside!  Join and come on in and talk about the latest happenings with other members.

Alabama is a cure of sorts

Alabama is a temporary cure for the Duke Football team after their defense struggled to contain Wake Forest  in a 54-48 shootout this past Saturday.  In yesterday's call in show, Duke-Bama hype dominated the Q and A session enabling Coach, the team and fans to put the Wake game behind them.  Of course, once the ball is kicked off in one of the biggest games in Wallace Wade history, Duke will be in the fire of fires facing the nations top team, a juggernaut, if you will.

Circus Atmosphere in store for Bama at Duke

The weather reports are stating that high tides are expected in Durham this week.  That would be a high Crimson Tide.  It'll be nuts around Durham leading into the game against Alabama.  As early as Thursday, you will see Crimson red all over the place in the local communities.  I mean, they have installed temporary bleachers for the game and the media doubled during yesterdays call in show.  RVs will be parked at the old South Square Mall and Bama fans will then be shuttled into the stadium.  And let me go ahead and warn you, this will seem like an Alabama home game north for they will wear their colors and cheer in unison in a way which might teach some of the locals how to root for their football team.  Do you think Duke concessions will be ready for the onslaught?  I am giving them a heads up.

Tickets anyone?

As of this morning I have had nine people ask me if I could help them get a pair of tickets to the game.  Folks, this ain't no Duke-Elon game!  Bama faithful bought an ridiculous amount of season tickets for this game. Yes, season tickets.  If you see a few scalpers driving new cars the following week it will dawn on you how much money will exchanges hands making those verminous scalpers a lot of money.  The question is will Duke fans sell out for the moola?  If you do, you will not experience a game they will talk about for years to come. 

My phone is ringing

It started yesterday morning and by dawn of Monday, five people called me to ask if I saw the opening line.  "It's just  23.5 exclaimed each person," as if they were trying to get my okay to lay their hard earned money on the visiting Crimson Tide.  I must say that I was a bit surprised by the line myself, but maybe ... aw heck, I don't know because I don't gamble.  One of them said I would take a 24-0 loss right now.  Let's not be that defeatist no matter how foreboding the game looks.

And that ends another addition of Watzones' Monday Musings.

Monday Musings – Viva Las Vegas, Duke-Bama, Michael Gbinije

It's Viva Las Vegas for Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Kyle Singler - BDN Photo

There will be little rest for the Duke staff as this week marks the beginning of a busy time split between the pro's and the nations top prospects.  Coach Krzyzewski and Chris Collins will head to Las Vegas to where they'll be joined by Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.  The reason is that Team USA is putting together and entirely new roster made up mainly of up and coming players.  With no help from the Dream Team, Krzyzewski will seek to form new bonds of chemistry in his on going effort to aid USA Basketball.  But the staff will also be out during the last leg of the recruiting trail where three major tournaments start in Las Vegas this week.  BDN's Andrew Slater will be on the scene to bring you tidbits as they happen and his unique style has made him a hit with our members.  The following week, it will be down to Orlando for the Showcase and AAU Nationals.  Needless to say, it's quite the busy time for the men's hoops staff.

It's no secret that some Alabama fans are purchasing season tickets for just one single game in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 18th.  Mark my words that this will be the toughest ticket to get in recent memory and rest assured the scalpers are lying in wait for what could be a big pay day.  Speaking of season tickets, the numbers are already better this season which is a testament to keeping big games at home.  Earlier discussions had the game possibly being played in Birmingham or Atlanta, but Cutcliffe fought to keep the game in Durham, not only for the program, but for the fans

I will head to Greensboro on Sunday for ACC Operation Football which kicks off the 2010-11 season.  I've said for a long time now that the four best teams will be in the Coastal Division and it is no fun trying to pick the order in which they will finish.  I could make a case for Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Miami and Georgia Tech.  It'll not be easy to place the Tar Heels who are in the midst of an NCAA investigation yet they return more experience than pretty much anybody in the nation. 

Congrats to J.J. Redickwho cashed in with the Orlando Magic who met the Chicago Bull's offer.  Same goes for Carlos Boozer who will man the paint in the Windy City this season.  And to think, those two could have formeda tandem with Luol Deng.

Lots of buzz for Duke's Michael Gbinije, a class of 2011 commitment.  Gbinije enjoyed a solid tournament as he led his Team Takeover team to the Nike EYBL Challenge.  This kid has constantly improved from the first time I saw him play three years ago.  A voice close to the program said he would play right away with Duke and that he did everything well.  I concur.

Just a reminder that our N.C. Pro Am coverage will continue this week where games are played on the campus of N.C. Central University in Durham and admission is free.