'Nole Your Opponent: Bill Connelly Previews Duke

DURHAM NC - SEPTEMBER 25: Sean Renfree #19 of the Duke Blue Devils drops back to throw a pass against the Army Black Knights during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 25 2010 in Durham North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

SB Nation football research genius and expert analyst Bill Connelly is previewing the ACC this week and next. First up: Duke.

FSU welcomes Duke on October 27. Here's an excerpt from 2012 Duke Football Preview: When Capable Isn't Enough

Defining Success

It's been almost 18 years since Duke went to a bowl game, and after teasing with increasingly competent play in previous years, it's hard to imagine that 2012 will be considered a success unless the Blue Devils make a serious run at bowl eligibility. Home games versus Florida International, North Carolina Central and Memphis could get the Blue Devils halfway there (then again, they might be underdogs against FIU), but the other half might be dicey. The other home games are against Virginia, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest and Miami, and the only seemingly winnable road game is against Wake -- whom they have lost to in 12 straight contests.

Prognosis

It's hard to be the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. As I said last year, David Cutcliffe was quite brave to take the job in the first place, and he has performed capably and admirably. But "capable" isn't quite enough. You need to be great.

Duke has a stellar pitch-and-catch combination, a decent secondary, two former four-star recruits at running back and hope for improvement on both lines. The Blue Devils also have no margin for error whatsoever. If they stay competitive at home, pull a pretty big upset along the way and win every close game they have, they could finally sneak away with a six-win season. But while it's easy to root for Cutcliffe and the perpetual underdog football team to succeed, it's pretty hard to predict it.

That's just a few hundred of this 2400-word beast. Make sure to click and read up on Duke's offense, defense and special teams. Also included is the statistical profile!

You may ask why an entire post is devoted to Duke. That's a fair question. I find that games are much more enjoyable, regardless of the quality of opponent, if you know more about the opponent.

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