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2011 schedule analysis: Duke

DUKE

Nonconference opponents and 2010 records:

  • Richmond (6-5)

  • Stanford (12-1)

  • Tulane (4-8)

  • at Florida International (7-6)

Cross-divisional schedule:

  • At Boston College

  • Florida State

  • Wake Forest

Gut-check game: Nov. 12 at Virginia. The Blue Devils have won this game each of the past three seasons, which means they’ll get Virginia’s best shot -- or at least they should. The Cavaliers have been the one ACC team Duke has been able to beat with consistency under David Cutcliffe, and given that they’re both in the Coastal Division, they have to climb over each other first before becoming contenders in the division.

Trap game: Oct. 1 at Florida International. This is a program that won five of its past six games, including a bowl game. Given that it’s Cutcliffe’s fourth season, Duke should now be expected to beat opponents from non-BCS schools.

Snoozer: Until the program makes it to a bowl game for the first time since 1994, Duke can’t sleep on any opponents.

Good luck with that: Sept. 10 versus Stanford. Andrew Luck came back. But the Cardinal is more than just Luck. You saw what Stanford did to Virginia Tech last season. What it did to Wake Forest.

Upset watch: Nov. 19 versus Georgia Tech. See: 2011 schedule analysis: Georgia Tech.

Analysis: If Duke is going to take the next step under Cutcliffe and win more than five games (2009), the Blue Devils have to go 3-1 against their nonconference opponents. A bowl game isn’t out of the question, but the Blue Devils will have to win on the road, snap their 11-game losing streak to Wake Forest, and match their three-game-high ACC win total under Cutcliffe.

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