Worth a Second Look: What Is Reasonable to Expect From Duke Now?

Mike KlineAnalyst ISeptember 9, 2009

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 29:  Jabari Marshall #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts on the field during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Prior to the season starter, Duke Coach David Cutcliffe made it clear there was no one on the schedule that he felt Duke couldn't beat.

Problem with that is that the opposite is also true. There is isn't a team on the schedule that can't beat Duke.

Richmond proved that last Saturday, and this Saturday Duke goes to West Point to take on Army (1-0). On paper, again it looks like a game Duke could and should win.

However, so was Richmond, and we all saw how that turned out.

Prior to the season, I had predicted Duke would win six games and fall short of their goal of making a bowl by one game. Richmond has changed a lot of expectations about Duke this year, and thus I feel obligated to adjust my earlier prediction.

I still feel Duke is a much improved team, although they didn't show it in Week One. They clearly should be able to compete at the very least with Army, NC Central, Maryland, and Virginia.

That isn't to say those are going to be wins, but they are games that could matchup favorably for the Blue Devils.

I still feel there could be a surprise ACC win coming from somewhere as well.

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Possible candidates include Wake, UNC, and NC State, only because of the rivalries between the schools and historically they are pretty close games.  That doesn't mean Duke will beat any of those teams and if they play the way they did against Richmond in any of those games the results won't be pretty.

Duke needs to get that edge back. They came into last year with a bit of a chip on their shoulder and managed four wins.

This year they come in more talented and experienced, so the thought was that would translate into an even better performance and thus more wins.

After the disappointing loss to the Spiders, many Duke fans and media were wondering where the passion from last year's team went. If they can find it and start performing to their ability, then the Blue Devils may still live up to the pre-season expectations.

My re-adjusted prediction is for Duke to finish 5-7 (2-6 ACC). Vegas predicted a 3.5 over-under on Duke and I still think they can go over.

So far, they've proven already that they can't overlook any team, but I think they are good enough to be a team that others shouldn't overlook either.

That is, unless they want to read in the papers that they were the ones that lost to the lowly Blue Devils.

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