EDITORIAL: Duke football: Defying the odds

Dec. 04, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

There’s a lesson to be learned from this season’s Duke University football season.

Coach David Cutcliffe has built a nice program at the traditionally football-weak Duke, far exceeding what many thought was the impossible dream.

At the beginning of this season, media prognosticators thought that Duke would finished seventh — in other words, last — in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division. With power teams like Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia Tech in that same division, such a prediction may have come as no surprise to most football fans.

After starting the season with a 2-2 record, such expectations may have seemed plausible — except to the Blue Devils. The team reeled off eight consecutive victories, including a critical road win in Chapel Hill against North Carolina on Saturday, to win the Coastal title. That victory lifted Duke to the opportunity to play No. 1 Florida State in Saturday’s ACC Championship game in Charlotte.

Duke’s 10-2 record gives the Blue Devils their most wins ever in a single season. In addition, Duke notched five road wins, including all four of its ACC road games.

Duke faces an uphill battle against Florida State, the top-ranked team in college football. The stakes are high: the opportunity for a conference championship, in addition to a BCS (Bowl Championship Series) berth.

Win or lose on Saturday, this Duke football team is playing like a team with a destiny.

This group of Blue Devils didn’t allow the fact that they were favored to finish last in its division deter them from having an outstanding season. They clearly kept their goals in focus and worked toward that end. So when you think of the 2013 Duke football team, the saying, “Never say never” comes to mind.

Duke has made believers of followers and foes alike. The Blue Devils are an example of how determination and desire can overcome less-than-stellar expectations. Coach Cutcliffe and this Duke football team deserve much praise for their success this season and should be an example for us all.