Tag Archives: Bob Green

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!

Cincinnati Bengals’ LB Vincent Rey picks against the BDN Staff in Week 12

Andrew Slater added to his lead last week and finds himself with a two game cushion heading into the final two weeks of the college football season. With ten tough games each week, it's still anybody's ball game, but time is running out.

1. Andrew Slater
2. Bob Green -2
T-3. Patrick Cacchio -5
T-3. Guest -5
5. Mark Watson -7

The Guest picker has slowly surged back into a tie for 3rd place on the season, a testament to the quality of guests we've had join us this season. The tradition continues this week as we welcome back former Duke LB Vincent Rey. Rey has seen action in all nine games this season for the 6-3 Cincinnati Bengals. He finished his Duke career 9th all-time in tackles (330) and is the Duke all-time record holder with 3 fumbles returned for TDs. Thanks for joining us this week, Vinny!

Mark - The Blue Devils have been hit hard by inuries and they'll face the option for the first time this season. The secondary has been missing assignments of late, but it'll be the very young front that will have to be disciplined for Duke to win. Tech is beatable, just not on this day. Georgia Tech 35 Duke 21

Patrick - A year ago, the Blue Devils faced three option offenses, but this season, just one. The option offense is difficult to prepare for and with a plethora of injuries on both sides of the ball, Georgia Tech will represent a significant challenge for Duke. Duke should have success moving the ball against Georgia Tech if they stick to an aggressive gameplan; expect another big day for Duke’s “Killer V’s.” An emotional pair of seniors in Matt Daniels and Charlie Hatcher will try to will the Blue Devils’ defense to an upset victory, but the explosive Yellow Jacket offense will still find its way into the end zone. Georgia Tech 35, Duke 24

Bob - Duke has lost five games in a row and if the Blue Devils are to prevent the streak from reaching six the first step is to slow down Georgia Tech's running game. Moreover, the Duke offense must open up and score points against the ACC's top rated passing defense. It is time for Coach Cutcliffe to pull out all the stops and throw the whole playbook at Coach Johnson. With Duke's injury report listing multiple key contributors as Doubtful or Questionable, I believe the Yellow Jackets will be too tough to handle. Georgia Tech 35, Duke 21

Andrew - This should be a dangerous match-up for a reeling Duke team. Georgia Tech enjoys both one of the best passing defenses in the country and one of the most disciplined offenses in college football. Although there were definitely some positives out of last week's road game against UVA, I think the mounting Duke injuries and talent differential will prove to be too much for the Blue Devils. Georgia Tech 35, Duke 21

Vinny - Georgia tech runs the option really well, and Paul Johnson has been developing it as well. However, the Duke defense has seen the option a lot, and will play it well. Led by Matt Daniels, the defense well make crucial plays. The high-powered Duke offense will put up the points needed against the Tech team. Most importantly, Duke will win the drive-starting average, thanks to their special teams players playing fast and physical. Duke 27, Georgia Tech 21.

Taking a look at early season statistics

Two weeks into the 2010 season, with the Blue Devils off to a 1-1 start with a 41-27 victory at home over Elon in the opening game, and a 54-48 loss to Wake Forest on the road, it is appropriate to take a look at statistical rankings for answers to a couple of basic questions. In which areas is Duke being successful? In which areas does Duke need to show improvement?

All statistical rankings quoted throughout this article are from www.theacc.com and www.ncaa.com.

In which areas is Duke being successful?

1. Total offense: In the first two games of the season, Duke has demonstrated a potent offensive attack racking up 514.5 yards per game, which is number one in the ACC and number nine out of 120 teams in the NCAA. Duke is number two in the ACC and number six in the NCAA in passing offense (354 yards per game) and number three in the ACC and number 20 in the NCAA in scoring offense (44.5 points per game).

2. Time of possession: at 32:10 per game, Duke is number three in the ACC and number 31 in the NCAA. With an effective offense, led by talented sophomore Sean Renfree, and questionable depth along the defensive line, Duke is a team which needs to have its offense on the field more than its defense. The time of possession statistic will be a critical indicator of Duke’s ability to be fresh in the 4th Quarter of ball games, and being fresh in the 4th Quarter will set Duke up to finish games strong.

3. Third down conversions: the offense needs to keep drives alive in order to score points and keep the opponents defense on the field. Duke is number one in the ACC with a 55.2 percent success rate (16 of 29) on third down.

4. Red zone offense: taking advantage of scoring opportunities is vital to success. Duke currently sits tied with Wake Forest at number one in the ACC and tied at number one in the NCAA (with 34 teams) with 100 percent success in the red zone. Duke has had the ball in the red zone 10 times scoring seven touchdowns and three field goals.

5. First downs: Duke is number one in the ACC and number five nationally with 54 first downs. The Blue Devils have passed for 34, rushed for 15, and had five awarded by penalty.

In which areas does Duke need to show improvement?

1. Total defense: Duke is number 12 in the ACC and number 105 in the NCAA allowing 453 yards per game. Opponents are averaging 177 yards on the ground and 276 through the air on Duke’s defense. The defense must toughen up and slow down future opponent’s offenses to increase the Blue Devils opportunity to win the football game.

2. Scoring defense: When you score 48 points in a game and lose it is obvious your defense didn’t slow down the opponent’s ability to put points on the scoreboard. Duke is number 12 in the ACC and number 114 in the NCAA giving up 40.5 points per game. The number 11 ranked team in the ACC, Wake Forest, is 10 points better than Duke at 30.5 points per game. Duke must reduce the number of points they are allowing.

3. Opponent first downs: Again Duke is number 12 in the ACC having given up 48 first downs to their first two opponents. Those numbers equate to a NCAA ranking of 108.

4. Red zone defense: Duke’s first two opponents have ventured into the red zone six times and scored six times, five touchdowns and a field goal.

5. Turnover margin: Duke’s plus/minus on turnovers is zero. However, with the challenges the Blue Devils face stopping opponent’s offenses, this number needs to be significantly positive. Wake Forest capitalized on Duke turnovers by scoring 21 points, while Duke did not convert the Demon Deacon’s turnovers into points.

Moving on to individual performances, there are three Blue Devils with noteworthy national rankings.

1. Sean Renfree: Passing yards – number two in the ACC and number four in the NCAA with 354 yards per game. Passing efficiency - number one in the ACC and number 20 in the NCAA with a QB rating of 159.4.

Renfree is off to an All-America quality start to the season. He is a very talented quarterback with a bright future.

2. Conner Vernon: Receiving yards per game - number two in both the ACC and NCAA with 155 yards per game. Receptions per game - number one in the ACC and tied for number four in the NCAA with nine receptions per game.

Like Renfree, Vernon is off to an All-America quality start to the season. Watching Sean Renfree throw the ball to Conner Vernon is going to provide Duke fans with much pleasure this season.

3. Desmond Scott: All-purpose yards - number two in the ACC and number 20 in the NCAA with 166.5 yards per game. Rushing yards - number one in the ACC and number 36 in the NCAA with 99.5 yards per game. Desmond Scott’s speed and strength provide Duke with an opportunity to maintain a semblance of balance on offense. Scott’s rushing yards per game could be the single most important offensive statistic for Duke football in 2010.

Duke’s rankings in these and other statistical categories will certainly fluctuate throughout the season so be sure and check back with Blue Devil Nation as we will update this article on a weekly basis to track the Blue Devils team and individual performances during the 2010 football season.

September 27th is a big day for Duke Football

[private]The Duke Blue Devils have the opportunity to build on their early season success when they host the Virginia Cavaliers on September 27th, at 12 noon, in Wallace Wade stadium. Specifically, the following opportunities exist:

- Duke has dropped eight straight games to Virginia with the last Duke victory being a 24-17 overtime decision on October 9, 1999, in Charlottesville. So the Blue Devils have the opportunity to stop an eight game losing streak to the Cavaliers.

- Duke has not won an ACC game since defeating Clemson, 16 – 13, on November 13, 2004. Since that victory, the Blue Devils have dropped 25 straight conference games. So the Blue Devils have the opportunity to stop a 25 game conference losing streak.

- Finally, Duke has the opportunity to improve their overall record to 3 – 1, which would be the best start to a season since Duke opened the 1994 season 7 – 0.

It is not an exaggeration to state a win over Virginia is critical for Duke’s season. This is an important game for Coach David Cutcliffe in his expedition to change the culture of Duke football in that a win over an ACC opponent will validate the legitimacy of wins over a FCS team and a service academy.

The 1 – 2 Virginia Cavaliers have struggled to put points on the board so far this season. They are averaging 11 points per game, while giving up 32 points per contest. Duke’s defense has held opponents to less than 21 points per game, while the Blue Devil offense has averaged just over 30 points per contest. It is important to note that one of Virginia’s losses came against USC the number one team in the country. A game against USC has the potential to ruin a team’s statistics, just ask Ohio State.

Statistics can be misleading this early in the season with the two teams not having played any common opponents but, a quick look at the teams in the ACC shows Duke ranked second in total offense and passing offense, while Virginia is last in total defense, last in rushing defense, and seventh in passing defense. The Blue Devils are ranked sixth in total defense, while the Cavaliers are last in total offense.

In the area of individual performances, Thaddeus Lewis is leading the ACC in total offense at 273.7 yards per game; Eron Riley is tied for second in receptions per game (6.3) and fourth in receiving yards per game (77.3), and Clifford Harris is tied for fifth in rushing with 67.7 yards per game. On the defensive side of the ball, Michael Tauiliili is tied for second in tackles with 10 per game, while Vincent Rey’s nine per game has him tied for ninth place. Kevin Jones’ 45.7 yards per punt has him in second place in the ACC.

Internet fan sites and message boards are buzzing with discussion of a resurgent Duke football program, and even though Duke has a ton of work and multiple steps ahead of them, a win over Virginia will be a big step toward achieving success. Success breeds success so winning games in 2008 will assist Coach Cutcliffe in recruiting top notch talent to Durham, which will result in more victorious Saturdays in the years ahead.

The next step in the resurgence of Duke football is to snap the 25 game ACC and eight game Virginia losing streaks with a victory over the Cavaliers on September 27th. The game will be telecast on ESPNU.[/private]