Duke Blue Devils 2021 College Football Preview
Created August 4, 2021
Record – 2-9
ATS – 4-7
Legend has it that everyone goes home happy when Duke loses, and if that’s the case, there were a lot of happy campers during last year’s plandemic season. They only managed to bag a pair of wins (Syracuse, Charlotte) and didn’t even treat their fans to many close calls. The cherry on top of the FECAL CAKE was a 48-ZIP loss to YOUR Miami Hurricanes.
Duke Blue Devils 2021 Outlook
The output wasn’t much different LY than it had been in recent seasons but the yuuuuge issue was the comedy of turnovers. They turned it over an impossible 39 (!) times. Nobody else had more than 25. Fact check true. (-19) was the worst in the nation by far. INTERCEPTION MACHINE Chase Brice is gone and it’ll be up to QB Gunnar Holmberg to set things straight. He got a CUP OF COFFEE last year (25 attempts) and it’s unclear what his upside may be. The top-two targets are back at WR (Bobo, Calhoun) but they’ll need to find a way to hit more big plays. They averaged 6.3 YPA LY (#13 ACC) and just 11 yards per completion. They have one of the best RBs in the conference in Mataeo Durant (817, 6.8, 8 TD) and he’ll have to be the focal point of the offense. He booked four 100-yard games LY and ripped UNC for 132 and a TD. Three starters are back up front and they’ll need to find a way to actually protect the QB. They allowed 37 sacks LY (#114 FBS sacks allowed per game).
The Blue Devils got worse in the scoring defense department for the 3rd consecutive season and did it in style by allowing 38.1 PPG (dead last ACC). The run D was especially heinous (#108 FBS). Just six starters return and they lose three of their top-five tacklers including a pair of doods who booked a combined 15.5 (!) sacks in 2020 (Rumph, Dimukeje). They only bring back one starter up front but they do have a small handful of big boys at DT that should help vs the run. One sweet add via the transfer portal is Jamion Franklin who comes over from Notre Dame (6’1 310). Leading tackler Shaka Heyward is back at LB (8.5 TFL) and they have one of the better sets of CBs in the ACC. Jeremiah Lewis put up a particularly strong stat line LY (#4 tackles, 3.5 TFL (!), 10 PBU, 2 INT) and he might not even bag a starting role.
The kicking game looks to be in excellent shape with the return of PK Charlie Ham (13/15 FG LY) and P Porter Wilson (41.2 net). They primary KR and PR are both back for duty.
Overall – Well look at this? It seems pretty favorable. The first four games (non-conference) are all winnable and they get a great draw out of the Atlantic (Wake, LUA-VUH).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Kansas (September 25th)
The Jayhawks are PURE FILTH but we probably won’t be laying points with Duke in this spot as they have the yuuuuge game with North Carolina on deck.
Season Win Total
per 5Dimes August 4
Over 3.5 -135
Under 3.5 +115
101 of 119 sets of our power ratings have them at 3-1 or 4-0 in September. They should be able to cobble together a win or two in ACC play.
Duke hasn’t had a positive turnover margin since 2014 (!) and are (-42) since that campaign. They were +7 combined in 2013/2014 and won 19 freaking games.
Well, we can’t tell a lie. It doesn’t look pretty on paper. It’s tough to know what to expect from the offense given the mystery at QB, but the good news is that there can only really be upside. AMIRITE? The defense should improve quite a bit although we’re still not convinced they’ll be any good vs the run. Special teams and coaching, not to mention a light schedule, should lead to four or five wins. Six is highly unlikely but not impossible.
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