2017 ACC Football: Coastal Division Power Rankings week 6

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 07: Ian Book
CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 07: Ian Book /
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 7: Brittain Brown
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 7: Brittain Brown /

Free Fallin

Is it possible that Duke isn’t as good as everybody thought they were?

I remember watching the UNC-Duke game and as the Blue Devils were putting away their second consecutive win in the series to start the season 4-0, the announcers were saying Duke should be in the top-25.

At first glance, that made sense. They were 4-0 with three wins against Power Five squads. They had a tough defense and a balanced offense. Why not?

Indeed, why not?. Looking deeper at Duke’s record showed a team that was overdue for a free fall. Sure the Blue Devils were 4-0, but they had done it against less than stellar competition.

Those three Power Five teams are now a combined 3-13, including 0-7 in conference play. Their defense ran up their stellar numbers against offenses that rank 83rd nationally. Their balanced attack came against defenses that ranked 99th.

They also played all four of those games within the state of North Carolina, with only one being a road contest at Chapel Hill. In other words, Duke was a question mark.

The Blue Devils have responded to those criticisms by dropping their past two contests against Miami and Virginia, two teams who are currently a combined 8-1 on the season. Duke has turned the ball over four times and is averaging only 302 yards and 17 points per game.

Meanwhile, their defense has given up 719 yards and 59 points in the past two games combined. For reference, the Blue Devils had only given up 1,046 yards and 61 points total in their first four contests.

Now this isn’t to say that Duke is done for the season or in line to miss a second straight bowl game. However, they may not be the threat that they appeared to be after a misleading 4-0 start.

So, if Duke wants this free fall to come to an end, they’ll need to start winning. Next up for them is yet another home game, this time against a struggling Florida State unit.