Head coach David Cutcliffe has, at the very least, revitalized a sullen program in just nine months on the job—this we all know. But perhaps the most telling sign of change came in the form of this week’s Sports Illustrated’s college football power rankings, which pitted Duke at No. 66 in the country, followed in order by Stanford, Arizona and Michigan.
You read that right: the Blue Devils are better than the Wolverines, according to SI.
The two schools have more in common than Tommy Amaker (circa 2006, that would be an apt analogy). Both have new coaches—Cutcliffe in Durham, Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor. Both are proponents of a spread offense, even if Cutcliffe prefers the term “pro-style.” Both teams, um, wear blue. The similarities end right about there; Michigan has earned a bowl bid in every season since 1976, whereas Duke has been waiting for a berth since 1994.
Now, though, they’re separated by another strand: apparently, Duke is the better team.
—by Ben Cohen