We’re late to the party, but on April 10, The Sporting News’ Tom Dienhart ranked the best coaches in BCS conferences, placing first-year Duke head coach David Cutcliffe No. 51 of 66 coaches and No. 9 of 12 in the ACC. Should Cutcliffe “talk the talk and walk the walk” at Duke, as Tennessee running back Arian Foster told The Chronicle he did in Knoxville, he could be even higher next year, especially given Duke’s futility in the conference over the last few years.
“Think Ole Miss still regrets canning him? Coach Cut is a master offensive tactician, but questions remain about his ability to recruit,” Dienhart writes. “And if there’s one thing Duke needs, it’s a coach who can burn up the recruiting trail. At least Cutcliffe will benefit from an improved commitment to football by university honchos.”
In the national poll, Cutcliffe was put ahead of other household names, like Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini. In the ACC, he is ranked ahead of Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen, Boston College’s Jeff Jagodizinski and Miami’s Randy Shannon. Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe led the pack in the ACC, while USC’s Pete Carroll took top honors overall.
Is Cutcliffe’s preseason rank merited? Where would you rank him among ACC coaches?
–by Ben Cohen