Duke's Chances to Win the Belk Bowl

By Ryan McCart
Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

The Duke Blue Devils season, by all accounts, has been a complete success. Head coach David Cutcliffe has led Duke to its first non-losing season since 1994. The Blue Devils finished the regular season with a 6-6 record, which was good enough to earn a berth in the Belk Bowl. The bowl appearance will be the first for the football program since 1994. However, if they to lose to Cincinnati, Duke will finish 2012 with a losing record, yet again, but will they indeed lose the Belk Bowl?

Well, let’s just say it doesn’t look good. If you are a fan of linear thinking, then you need look no further than the Blue Devils and Bearcats single shared opponent this year, Virginia Tech. Cincinnati beat the Hokies 27-24 in week 5 on a last minute touchdown. On the other hand, Duke was blown out by Tech 41-20 a couple of weeks later. So following that logic, the Blue Devils don’t have much of a chance.

However, games aren’t played on paper, and that type of logic rarely holds. This game depends on one thing and one thing only, quarterback Sean Renfree. Renfree is one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC. This year he passed for 2,755 yards and 18 touchdowns. Renfree can keep the Blue Devils in any game as he did in their regular season finale against Miami (a 52-45 loss) when he threw for 432 yards and four touchdowns.

Renfree is Duke’s only hope in the Belk Bowl. The Blue Devils defense was pretty bad this season. The unit gave up an average of 35 points per game (104th in the country). That is a real problem considering that the Bearcats have a solid defense that gives up an average of less than 18 points a game.

I doubt that Duke will be able to pull the upset, but when you have a player like Renfree anything can happen.

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