Who says you can't win big at Duke?

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke coach David Cutcliffe has never been one to make promises he can't keep.

It's a big part of who he is and helps explain his unprecedented success at a place that his athletic director, Kevin White, concedes foreclosed on football for much of the past 40 years.

"They just said it was unimportant and maintained it at some level just to stay in the ACC, but weren't really working at it and knew they weren't working at it," White said.

Then along came Cutcliffe, after being hired in December 2007, with a vision, a plan and what seemed like a far-fetched dream to everybody but those players, coaches and staff members who will board the team buses to Charlotte, N.C., to face No. 1 Florida State on Saturday night in the ACC championship game.

"This wasn't a rebuilding job. It was a total resurrection," said Gerald Harrison, one of several people to follow Cutcliffe from Tennessee to Duke and who is now an associate athletic director for the Blue Devils.

"We were trying to raise it from the dead."

And that's hardly an exaggeration.

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