Preseason predictions: Duke

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Finally, a bold prediction ...


1. Re'quan Boyette will be the difference in more than one ACC win. Duke's leading rusher in both 2006 and 2007 will play for the first time since his knee surgery last August. He received a medical redshirt and begins his final season at Duke ranking 11th among active players in the ACC with 1,072 career rushing yards. With the departure of standout wide receiver Eron Riley, the running game is going to have to take some of the pressure off of the young new wideouts and Boyette's return can do that.

2. The "Vinnys" will be among the best defenders in the league. Linebacker Vincent Rey and defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase will get the recognition they deserve this year. Oghobaase ranks second in both career tackles for loss (29.0) and quarterback sacks (11.5), trailing only NC State's Willie Young (32.0 and 12.5). Rey enters his final season with the Blue Devils as the only active player in the ACC with multiple 100-tackle seasons. He made 111 as a sophomore before totalling 109 tackles last year.

3. Duke will upset North Carolina on Nov. 7 in Chapel Hill. It's quite possible that Duke will enter that game with back-to-back wins over Maryland and Virginia, while the Tar Heels will be coming off tough games against Florida State and a road trip to Virginia Tech. It's a prime time for an upset, and Duke has what it takes to do it, beginning with the quarterback and the coach.