ACC Football: Florida International at Duke In-Depth Preview

Cody GuinnContributor IIIAugust 31, 2012

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 29:  Safety Matt Daniels #40 and cornerback Ross Cockell #6 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrate a fourth-quarter interception against the Virginia Tech Hokies October 29, 2011 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.The Hokies won 14-10.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

It's no secret that Duke Football hasn't been the "team to watch," ever in the ACC, but their game against Florida International on Saturday night could be one of the most entertaining games of Week 1 if you enjoy offensive shootout-type college football.

In last year's meeting between the two schools, FIU put up an astounding 568 yards of total offense, but that still wasn't enough as Duke took home the victory. With Florida International returning 18 starters from last year, you can expect they will be right back with their high-powered offensive attack.

As for Duke, the key is that starting quarterback Sean Ranfree is back and after a bad turnover year for him in 2011-12, Duke fans hope this year will the year he'll turn it around and become the quarterback coaches and fans alike have been expecting from him since he arrived on campus.

A key sour note for Duke is that it is expected to be without five projected starters, including safety Jordan Byas and defensive lineman Jamal Bruce. Two injured players who are expected to be in uniform include linebacker David Helton and defensive end Kenny Anunike. Both Helton and Anunike are expected to play a major role in the hopefully improved Duke defense.

A key factor for FIU is getting the offense rolling and balancing its running attack led by 1,000-yard rusher from last season Kendrick Rhodes and its stellar passing attack to keep the Duke defense on its toes.

The major factor for Duke is avoiding mistakes on offense and attempting to rattle new FIU starting quarterback Jake Medlock with pressure from the defensive line as well as the home crowd at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Last year's contest showed that even your so-called "cupcake" teams can put on a show as FIU and Duke combined for more than 700 passing yards and seven total touchdowns. Will we see the same from these two Saturday night?

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live on ESPN3.