It was inevitable, at least for anyone who has watched the Duke Blue Devils this season, that Duke would sneak into the Top 25. After beating 24th ranked Miami on Saturday Duke finally got some respect and recognition and broke into the Top 25 for the first time since 1994.
Duke has had a season to remember and filled with firsts, school records and things that haven’t been seen on campus in 19 years. Much of the credit has to go to David Cutcliffe who took over head coaching duties after the 2007 season. He has turned around a Duke program that had gone winless three times from 2000 to 2006. Now, Duke has guaranteed itself its first winning season since 1994, its first back-to-back bowl appearance in school history and there is an air of genuine optimism surrounding the football team for the first time in decades.
There is a very good chance that Duke will finish the regular season with 10 wins but Wake Forest and North Carolina are no pushovers. However, after beating a 14th ranked Virginia Tech and 24th ranked Miami, Duke is capable of winning both those games. They will, of course need to avoid the letdown. They are coming off of the emotional high of beating a ranked opponent at home during their final home game of the season.
The way Cutcliffe has kept his team ready, especially after the euphoria of beating Virginia Tech on its own turf, and it is doubtful the Blue Devils will come out flat. This is not the same Duke team from years ago. Duke is for real and proved that on Saturday with their second win over a ranked opponent, a ranked conference opponent and Duke’s destiny is firmly in their own hands and they have a legitimate shot of continuing to make history.