Heather Dinich is ESPN’s ACC correspondent, part of the Worldwide Leader’s new college football blog network, consisting of seven bloggers to cover every major conference. In just a few weeks, Dinich’s blog has become a go-to source for any ACC football fan, and the sheer bulk of posts usually guarantees at least a quip about Duke every day. Today, she answers three questions that will define Duke’s season:
- How will progress be measured in David Cutcliffe’s first season?
- How productive can the combo of quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and receiver Eron Riley be?
- How many games can Duke win this year?
The final question, obviously, is the one most weighing on the minds of Duke fans, and over the past few days, Dinich has made it known that she believes Duke can win three games–specifically, the first three, at home against James Madison, Northwestern and Navy.
We’re still a few weeks away from unveiling our staff’s predictions, but one pressing objection: If the Blue Devils can, somehow, win their first three games (and it’s not as completely outrageous as it sounds), then confidence and momentum builds immeasurably. Then up-in-the-air games become realistically winnable; Duke could capitalize on a bye week and a buzzing campus to knock off Virginia at home in their fourth game, or Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech might be susceptible given possible problems in instituting a unique offensive system. Hypothetical, yes, and unlikely, probably. But if David Cutcliffe and Co. can notch wins in the first few weeks, it’s impossible to predict how the team will react.
How many wins do you think Duke is capable of?
–by Ben Cohen