2013 ACC Football Simulated Preview From WhatIfSports.com image

2013 ACC Football Simulated Preview

We simulate the ACC football season

By Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
August 20, 2013

Using our college football simulation engine, WhatIfSports.com simulated thousands of college football games to create the 2013 ACC Preview. Team ratings, player ratings and depth charts are accurate as of August 19th. What you see in the ACC Predictions table is the most likely outcome based on the computer simulations. The team-by-team schedules use Absolute Records, which you can learn more about below. Those same game-by-game simulations also generate average points per game for both teams.

ACC Predictions
AtlanticWLOverall Record
Florida State629-3
North Carolina State356-6
Boston College356-6
Wake Forest355-7
CoastalWLOverall Record
North Carolina629-3
Georgia Tech447-5
Virginia Tech446-6

To hide the details, click here.

For this analysis, thousands of college football games are simulated, with the sum of the winning percentages of those games being our final predicted record. As can be noted, sometimes a team is "favored" (wins more than 50% of the time) in a different number of our games than the expected record shows. We list this record as the Absolute Record. The assumption of the Absolute Record is that the more likely scenario always happens. Since we know that it does not, our expected record (in the table above) is far more accurate. Also, especially since we are rounding, it is possible for a team to win a game more often, yet score the same or fewer points on average. In those cases, for Absolute Records, we always take higher winning percentage and are not predicting a tie or a win by an underdog. This is another reason why the expected records are more accurate, as the teams are so evenly matched, the game could easily go either way.

Florida State

Jimbo Fisher

Next stop: National Championship contention.

Fourth-year head coach Jimbo Fisher is doing things right in Tallahassee these days, methodically building Florida State back to prominence. He inherited from Bobby Bowden a fading program, one that had won 10 games just once in the previous nine years. Fisher has already done it twice in three years, capped by last seasonís 12-2 mark and first ACC championship since 2005.

The resurgent ĎNoles have been using a simple formula for success of late, attracting top talent, both players and staff, and coaching up that personnel, something that had noticeably slipped toward the end of Bowdenís tenure. So when Florida State loses a school-record 11 players to the 2013 NFL Draft, it knows that it has the troops and the process in place to retool instead of rebuild.

Florida Stateís biggest departures occurred at quarterback and along the D-line. QB EJ Manuel was selected in the opening round by the Buffalo Bills, and three ends were chose in the first 162 picks. All eyes this summer will be on Manuelís successor, likely precocious redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. Winston was one of the stars of the spring, drawing all kinds of comparisons, from RG3 to Charlie Ward. If Winston holds off Jacob Coker, and keeps evolving, heíll get ample support from WR Rashad Greene, backs James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman and a fast-emerging O-line.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Florida State Seminoles
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@Pittsburgh Panthers7526-17
3Nevada Wolf Pack7230-19
4Bethune-Cookman Wildcats9556-7
5@Boston College Eagles8227-16
6Maryland Terrapins8428-16
8@Clemson Tigers6527-21
9North Carolina State Wolfpack8029-17
10Miami (FL) Hurricanes6529-24
11@Wake Forest Demon Deacons8527-16
12Syracuse Orange6827-22
13Idaho Vandals9536-12
14@Florida Gators5022-22


Tajh Boyd

QB Tajh Boyd and offensive coordinator Chad Morris will be rubbing Howardís Rock this fallóone of many reasons why Clemson begins 2013 with so much optimism.

Boyd could be preparing for his first NFL training camp. Morris should be someoneís head coach. Instead, theyíll join forces for one final year together, determined to help lead the Tigers to new heights. Clemson is hot. The program has won at least 10 games in back-to-back years, capped by a thrilling signature upset of LSU in last Decemberís Chick-fil-A Bowl. And Dabo Swinney and his staff continue to perennially haul in one of the better recruiting classes in the ACC.

Boyd is the linchpin of this seasonís expectations, the triggerman of a Morris-designed offense that ranked ninth nationally in total yards and sixth in scoring. Had Boyd taken his diverse skill set to Sundays, Clemson might have been labeled as a fringe Top 25 squad. With No. 10 taking snaps and vying for Heisman votes, the sky is the limit for the Tigers.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Clemson Tigers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Georgia Bulldogs3421-28
2South Carolina State Bulldogs9548-7
4@North Carolina State Wolfpack7728-18
5Wake Forest Demon Deacons6925-19
6@Syracuse Orange6026-23
7Boston College Eagles6726-20
8Florida State Seminoles3521-27
9@Maryland Terrapins6023-20
10@Virginia Cavaliers7326-19
12Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets5225-23
13Citadel Bulldogs9550-7
14@South Carolina Gamecocks4522-22


Jerome Smith

Syracuse finished 2012 on quite a roll. Seizing that momentum will have to be done with a lot of new faces in critical places.

No team closed hotter than the Orange, winners of six of its final seven games. There were routs of Connecticut and eventual Big East champ Louisville, a win in Columbia over Mizzou and an exclamation point blowout of West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl. Syracuse was relevant on a national level. And then the changes began.

QB Ryan Nassib had used up his eligibility. Head coach Doug Marrone accepted the same position with the Buffalo Bills. Now that the two seminal figures in the programís resurgence are gone, can Syracuse maintainóor even buildóas it prepares for its first year as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference?

Taking over for Marrone is Scott Shafer, the teamís defensive coordinator since 2009. It was an attempt at continuity that made sense since the play of the attacking D had been instrumental in the Orangeís recent success as well. Taking over for Nassib? Stay tuned. Shaferís most visible decision this offseason will be his choice of a starting quarterback, a gig thatíll go to either sophomore Terrel Hunt or Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen. Allen has made plenty of headlines since leaving Norman, but Hunt had the luxury of impressing the staff in the spring.

Syracuse is heading to the ACC with the steely resolve to show its new athletic home that itís a lot more than just a basketball school. Orange football has the wind at its back, courtesy of last seasonís torrid finish. Avoiding the see-saw of mediocrity that often follows success in Upstate New York, though, will be a challenge in 2013, as the program begins a new era behind center and on the sidelines.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Syracuse Orange
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Penn State Nittany Lions3921-25
2@Northwestern Wildcats4021-26
3Wagner Seahawks9549-9
4Tulane Green Wave8430-20
6Clemson Tigers4023-26
7@North Carolina State Wolfpack5923-23
8@Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets4122-24
10Wake Forest Demon Deacons7224-18
11@Maryland Terrapins6123-20
12@Florida State Seminoles3222-27
13Pittsburgh Panthers5021-22
14Boston College Eagles5724-22


Randy Edsall

Head coach Randy Edsall has had two seasons to put his stamp on the Maryland program. Itís time for some dividends to start being paid out.

It sure has been a rocky road for Edsall, who left Connecticut as a favorite target among ADs around the country. However, in College Park, his Terrapins have won only six games over the last two years, as fan interest has waned. Still, progress is happening, even if itís not as obvious as many would like; Marylandís problems on the field have not impacted the school on Signing Day, and the staff is as stable as itís been in four years. Oh, and the 2012 edition did double its win total from the previous year. Baby steps.

At the intermission of last season, Edsall looked as if he might vie for ACC Coach of the Year. His undermanned team was 4-2, having toughed out back-to-back nail-biters over Wake Forest and Virginia. And then the dream unraveled to the tune of six consecutive losses, three by a touchdown or less. The decline wasnít entirely the fault of the Terrapins, a program that was snakebitten by injuries, especially to the quarterbacks. You want bad luck? How about three season-ending knee injuries to quarterbacks, forcing the team to use a fifth-string true freshman who arrived thinking heíd play linebacker?

The Terps were so close to breaking through a year ago. Can it build on that progress now that the QBs are off the DL? Maryland has to be better behind center. C.J. Brown, who led the team in rushing in 2011, is the frontrunner heading into summer. While heíll continue to motor on the ground as the pilot of the attack, his main objective will be to get the ball in the hands of his skill players. Stefon Diggs and Deon Long are the front men for a dynamite corps of receivers, and three talented sophomore backs continue to push one another for reps.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Maryland Terrapins
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1FIU Golden Panthers6723-19
2Old Dominion Monarchs9541-7
3@Connecticut Huskies5220-19
4West Virginia Mountaineers3019-27
6@Florida State Seminoles1616-28
7Virginia Cavaliers5020-20
8@Wake Forest Demon Deacons5421-19
9Clemson Tigers4020-23
11Syracuse Orange3620-23
12@Virginia Tech Hokies4118-22
13Boston College Eagles5522-21
14@North Carolina State Wolfpack4320-22

North Carolina State

Quintin Payton

Tom OíBrien cultivated mediocrity at NC State. So did Chuck Amato and Mike OíCain before him. Dave Doeren has been brought aboard to change the culture and bring championships to the Pack.

In Doeren, the Wolfpack nabbed one of the rising young stars of the coaching ranks. Heís been a success everywhere heís worked, from a young coordinator at Kansas and Wisconsin to the head coach at Northern Illinois. In two years with the Huskies, he went 23-4, guiding the team to the 2013 Orange Bowl. Doeren maximized the potential in DeKalb. He was hired to do the very same thing in Raleigh.

NC State last won an ACC championship in 1979. Itís won 10 games in a season just once in school history. It has never played in one of college footballís marquee bowl games. And yet, the Wolfpack has terrific facilities, a supportive fan base and a recruiting territory that consistently produces NFL talent. So, itís no wonder that AD Debbie Yow is thinking big going forward.

The Packís final year under the watchful eye of OíBrien was predictably run-of-the-mill. Seven wins. Six losses. Yeah, there was the shocking upset of Florida State on Oct. 6, but a 38-24 Music City Bowl loss to Vanderbilt was a classic reminder of just how far this program is from its goals.

Doeren inherits an average roster of talent by ACC standards. QB Mike Glennon must be replaced, as will three starting offensive linemen and last seasonís top four tacklers on defense. That coveted championship run is not likely to occur in 2013.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 North Carolina State Wolfpack
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Louisiana Tech Bulldogs6928-23
2Richmond Spiders9543-8
4Clemson Tigers2318-28
5Central Michigan Chippewas6124-21
6@Wake Forest Demon Deacons4919-21
7Syracuse Orange4123-23
9@Florida State Seminoles2017-29
10North Carolina Tar Heels1918-29
11@Duke Blue Devils6124-22
12@Boston College Eagles5022-21
13East Carolina Pirates5123-23
14Maryland Terrapins5622-20

Boston College

Chase Rettig

New Boston College head coach Steve Addazio finds losing intolerable. He never would have survived the Heights over the past couple of seasons.

The Eagles have been on a steady decline over the last three years, going 13-24 over that time. Last season represented the ground floor of the descent, the programís first 10-loss season since 1978. The administration couldnít sack Frank Spaziani fast enough, replacing him with Addazio last Dec. 4.

If BC isnít the worst of the ACC teams, itís certainly at the forefront of the discussion. The Eagles didnít just lose games in 2012; they often lost badly, including six times by at least two touchdowns. Now, Addazio is off to a very fast start in recruiting, one of his strengths as an assistant at Florida under Urban Meyer. But those targets wonít be eligible until 2014, if they sign at all. The personnel that Addazio inherited? Not so good. There are depth issues just about everywhere, the ground game is necrotic and sacks have been harder to locate in Boston than Yankees fans. The cold, hard reality is that BC remains in the embryonic stages of its rebuilding plan.

Boston College has a rich past in football that often included power running games, next-level offensive linemen and stingy defenses. Addazio has been brought aboard to construct a bridge to that past, going back to basics in order to gradually make the Eagles relevant once again in the fall.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Boston College Eagles
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Villanova Wildcats9546-8
2Wake Forest Demon Deacons5021-20
3@USC Trojans2220-30
5Florida State Seminoles1816-27
6Army Black Knights7528-20
7@Clemson Tigers3320-26
9@North Carolina Tar Heels2519-28
10Virginia Tech Hokies4319-23
11@New Mexico State Aggies6927-21
12North Carolina State Wolfpack5021-22
13@Maryland Terrapins4521-22
14@Syracuse Orange4322-24

Wake Forest

Jim Grobe

Wake Forest needs to change its direction, it has the talent to do just that in 2013.

Since tailoring the best three-year run in program history from 2006-08, the Demon Deacons havenít been especially demonic on opponents. Over the last four years, the team is 19-30 under longtime head coach Jim Grobe, settling back toward the rear of the ACC. The 2012 edition was thinking postseason when November began, but got routed in three straight games to finish 5-7. Has Grobe lost his touch in Winston-Salem?

If Wake Forest is going to rebound from its hideous 2012 finishóand four-year slumberóthis would be the season to do it. It begins 2013 with a senior-led team that boasts 19 returning starters, eight on offense, eight on defense and three on special teams. If the Deacons can stay healthy and out of trouble, issues that bit them a year ago, they could be a feisty and dangerous group out of the Atlantic Division.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Presbyterian Blue Hose9541-6
2@Boston College Eagles5020-21
3Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks5324-22
4@Army Black Knights7025-20
5@Clemson Tigers3119-25
6North Carolina State Wolfpack5121-19
8Maryland Terrapins4619-21
9@Miami (FL) Hurricanes3421-29
10@Syracuse Orange2818-24
11Florida State Seminoles1516-27
13Duke Blue Devils4722-23
14@Vanderbilt Commodores2416-24

North Carolina

Bryn Renner

Carolina is one step closer to being whole again.

The Tar Heels wonít be completely out of the NCAA woods for another couple of years, but they survived 2012, a challenging and transitional year marked by a postseason ban during the first season of Larry Fedoraís tenure in Chapel Hill. The program went 8-4, scored a lot of points and was as good as any other Coastal Division squad. Yet, unlike 70 other FBS teams, it was not a part of the postseason, a dynamic likely to change in 2013.

North Carolina will be bowl-eligible and ACC title-eligible this fall, which can only hasten Fedoraís blueprint for success at the university. The coach was modestly successful in his debut. On the one hand, his spread offense produced more than 40 points a game, setting school records along the way. On the other, the defense was a disappointment, allowing at least 28 points seven times. Itís a work in progress, but one that clearly appears headed in the right direction.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 North Carolina Tar Heels
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@South Carolina Gamecocks4223-24
2Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders8133-21
4@Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets6126-23
5East Carolina Pirates7831-22
6@Virginia Tech Hokies6927-19
8Miami (FL) Hurricanes6929-25
9Boston College Eagles7528-19
10@North Carolina State Wolfpack8129-18
11Virginia Cavaliers7728-18
12@Pittsburgh Panthers7026-20
13Old Dominion Monarchs9555-7
14Duke Blue Devils7229-22


Duke Johnson

Are we there yet?

Like a young child on a long car ride, Miami and its fans have grown weary of waiting to reach their destination. The Hurricanes have been in NCAA limbo for close to two years, the victim of poor judgment by past athletes, and a botched investigation by the sportís governing body. The mess has levied a heavy toll, both on the field and off.

The program has self-imposed a bowl ban, including the 2012 ACC Championship Game, in consecutive years, while reducing its number of scholarships. Has it been enough of an internal punishment? Almost two years later, the issue remains very much unsettled and up for debate.

Miami is also pining for a return to the glory days, when league championships were the annual baseline of where the bar was set. The Canes havenít won a title of any kind in a decade. Their last January postseason game was the 2004 Orange Bowl. Expectations around South Florida certainly arenít what they used to be.

Al Golden is set to begin his third season as the head coach. He unknowingly walked into a landmine two years ago, from the NCAA mess to a roster that was a few key players away from building some distance from mediocrity. His first team straddled the .500 mark. Last yearís edition improved to 7-5 and captured a weak Coastal Division, but also suffered black eyes at the hands of Kansas State, Notre Dame and Virginia. Year 3? It remains to be seen.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Miami (FL) Hurricanes
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Florida Atlantic Owls7833-20
2Florida Gators3321-25
4Savannah State Tigers9550-8
5@South Florida Bulls7930-20
6Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets5023-25
8@North Carolina Tar Heels3125-29
9Wake Forest Demon Deacons6629-21
10@Florida State Seminoles3524-29
11Virginia Tech Hokies6225-22
12@Duke Blue Devils7532-24
13Virginia Cavaliers6827-21
14@Pittsburgh Panthers6326-22

Georgia Tech

Vad Lee

The Yellow Jacketsí biggest problem a year ago was clearly defense. Coordinator Al Groh was fired in-season, and veteran Ted Roof was brought aboard in the postseason. Heíll be installing a 4-3 look, which is going to require more production out of the down linemen. Roofís first move was to import outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, easily Techís best pass rusher. But others must rise up in the trenches, because the defense is an improved D-line away from being much sounder in 2013.

While there are changes in offensive personnel, the system remains very much the same. The Yellow Jackets are going to run the ballóa lotómixing in play-action passes to catch defenses napping. In all likelihood, the attack will be in the precocious hands of sophomore Vad Lee, who has as much upside as any of Johnsonís former pupils. Leeís supporting cast, though, is questionable. B-back David Sims is the best of a fair collection backs, and no returning receiver has the look of a cleanup hitter.

Georgia Tech is aiming to recapture what it had four years ago, rolling to a league championship and national respect. Itís not an entirely unrealistic goal since so many starters return to both sides of the ball. While the Yellow Jackets should be improved from a year ago, the emergence of Lee under center and the growth of the D will dictate just how high the team can ascend in 2013.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Elon Phoenix9549-8
3@Duke Blue Devils5727-23
4North Carolina Tar Heels3923-26
5Virginia Tech Hokies5623-20
6@Miami (FL) Hurricanes5025-23
7@BYU Cougars5223-22
8Syracuse Orange5924-22
9@Virginia Cavaliers7125-19
10Pittsburgh Panthers5723-22
12@Clemson Tigers4723-25
13Alabama A&M Bulldogs9549-8
14Georgia Bulldogs1720-30

Virginia Tech

Logan Thomas

The Hokies are coming off their worst season in two decades, finishing 7-6 in a year that they were expected to once again compete for an ACC title. It never happened, and little went right until a season-ending three-game winning streak averted a bowl-less postseason for the first time since 1992. Losers of more than half of its last 15 games, Tech entered the offseason knowing that a change of direction was needed.

Bud Fosterís D is fine. Bud Fosterís D is always fine in Blacksburg. The 2013 version will be every bit as testy and assertive, bringing back nine starters, five of whom earned at least honorable mention All-ACC last fall. Thereís talent, speed and experience at each level, though next-level CB Antone Exum suffered a knee injury during the offseason that has him questionable for the early stages of the season. If Tech is going to get back on track, itíll be up to the offense to begin pulling a little more of the weight.

The Hokies were abysmal with the ball last year, ranking 81st nationally in total and scoring offense. And they regressed down the stretch, averaging 19 points over the final six games. Frank Beamer responded by replacing underachieving coordinator Bryan Stinespring with Scot Loeffler, whose main priority will be to revamp the throwing motion and the confidence of QB Logan Thomas. No, Thomas wasnít the only problem in 2012, but he sure was the cover boy of the futility.

With Loeffler monitoring his every move, Thomas needs to evolve, for the sake of his team and his NFL future. It will not be easy. Thereís a new coach, a new offense and a dearth of elite talent with which to connect. The Hokies are uncertain in the backfield, even as the ground game becomes a bigger priority, and last yearís top two receivers are gone. Like it or not, Thomas will need to put this unit on his broad shoulders in 2013.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Virginia Tech Hokies
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@Alabama Crimson Tide1215-28
2Western Carolina Catamounts9546-7
3@East Carolina Pirates6524-20
4Marshall Thundering Herd6127-21
5@Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets4320-23
6North Carolina Tar Heels3119-27
7Pittsburgh Panthers4320-19
9Duke Blue Devils7225-18
10@Boston College Eagles5723-19
11@Miami (FL) Hurricanes3822-25
12Maryland Terrapins5922-18
14@Virginia Cavaliers6323-19


Devin Street

Paul Chryst had a decent first season on the banks of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. There were upsets of Virginia Tech and Rutgers, and a third straight trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl. Still, the big news was that Pitt maintained continuity on the sidelines, good news for the players, the fans and the program as a whole.

The majority of Pittsburghís talent heading into 2013 lives on the defensive side of the ball. Nine starters return, led by frenetic DT Aaron Donald and an underrated defensive backfield. It wonít be easy throwing the ball on the Panthers, which could entice opposing teams to test a brittle corps of linebackers on the ground.

The offense will be a work-in-progress, especially after the projected focal point, RB Rushel Shell, announced in April that heíd be transferring to UCLA. Without a lot of ready-made talent, WR Devin Street aside, the attack is pinning its hopes on a quarterback who hasnít played in almost three years. Tom Savage, the one-time Rutgers starter, will attempt to use his final year of eligibility to resurrect both his career and his fourth schoolís production.

New league. New opponents. New expectations. Same coach. Pitt is thankful for the relative stability itís taking into 2013, even in a year when so much around the program is changing.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Pittsburgh Panthers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Florida State Seminoles2417-26
3New Mexico Lobos7627-17
4@Duke Blue Devils6326-21
5Virginia Cavaliers5821-18
7@Virginia Tech Hokies5419-20
8Old Dominion Monarchs9544-7
9@Navy Midshipmen6424-20
10@Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets4322-23
11Notre Dame Fighting Irish3817-23
12North Carolina Tar Heels3020-26
13@Syracuse Orange5022-21
14Miami (FL) Hurricanes3722-26


Mike London

The Cavs were unable to build on their success of 2011. In fact, the program has now lost 10 of its last 14 games, piling pressure on both the coaches and the returning players to start a new trend. Virginia is in danger of retreating. The 2012 squad showed some early life before dropping six games and never recovering. A close loss to rival Virginia Tech, the ninth straight in the series, sort of encapsulated where the program resides right now.

So where does UVa go from here? The talent is decent enough to compete for bowl berths, but not for Coastal Division crowns or ACC championships. At least not now. The task for the staff, both new and old, will be to coach up the Cavaliers, extracting more efficiency and production from the holdovers.

The main objectives for Steve Fairchild, Tom OíBrien and the rest of the offense will be to decide on a quarterback and to get back to running the ball with authority. Three quarterbacks went toe-to-toe in the spring, with sophomore David Watford nudging into a lead. The D needs to produce more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, ergo the hiring of Jon Tenuta, a connoisseur of attacking defenses.

Since 2006, Virginia has authored just two winning campaigns, in 2007 and 2011. Sustained excellence is not a part of its personality. Mike London knows that a second straight losing season will put him in a very precarious position, and has reacted accordingly with an infusion on new blood on the staff. The coach has proven he can recruit, but now he needs to transform the talent around him into a postseason return.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Virginia Cavaliers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1BYU Cougars3217-23
2Oregon Ducks2018-29
4VMI Keydets9542-9
5@Pittsburgh Panthers4118-21
6Ball State Cardinals5926-24
7@Maryland Terrapins4820-20
8Duke Blue Devils5623-22
9Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets2919-25
10Clemson Tigers2719-26
11@North Carolina Tar Heels2318-28
13@Miami (FL) Hurricanes3221-27
14Virginia Tech Hokies3619-23


Jamison Crowder

By Duke standards, 2012 was a long-awaited breakthrough. Now, the program is aiming to prove that its success wasnít fleeting.

For the first time since 1994, the Blue Devils bowled last season, crossing a threshold that had eluded them for so long. The fact that they lost to Cincinnati, 48-34, in the Belk Bowl failed to confuse the meaning of a postseason appearance for a school thatís struggled on grass for so many years. It represented a tangible sign of progress for ACC Coach of the Year David Cutcliffe, the kind that resonates with recruits and a justifiably fickle fan base.

Duke certainly backed into a bowl game, dropping its final five games, and defeating just one opponent with a winning record. Itís a foundation nonetheless, and a talking point when Cutcliffe and his assistants get back on the recruiting trail. Remaining in contention for a December bonus game is going to require a couple of things this season, replacing two of last seasonís top offensive performers and finding some answers on defense.

The Blue Devils are moving forward without longtime starting QB Sean Renfree and all-time leading receiver Conner Vernon. Yet, the offense still should be pretty good. Anthony Boone is equipped with the skill set to make a seamless transition behind center, and Jamison Crowder has already proven that he has go-to guy ability in the passing game. The D? Duke will have to forge ahead in spite of it. The Blue Devils sport one of the countryís leakiest defensive units, a trend thatís likely to continue in 2013. If Cutcliffe is going to get his kids to hover around the .500 mark again, the offense will need to continue leading the way.

- Richard Cirminiello, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Duke Blue Devils
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1North Carolina Central Eagles9545-7
2@Memphis Tigers4322-25
3Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets4323-27
4Pittsburgh Panthers3621-26
5Troy Trojans5626-23
7Navy Midshipmen5025-25
8@Virginia Cavaliers4422-23
9@Virginia Tech Hokies2818-25
11North Carolina State Wolfpack3922-24
12Miami (FL) Hurricanes2524-32
13@Wake Forest Demon Deacons5323-22
14@North Carolina Tar Heels2822-29

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Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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