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Jan
01
2014

Bowl Losses for Boston College, Virginia Tech and Duke shouldn’t be measured the same.

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Tuesday was a rough day at the office for the ACC Bowl teams. Boston College, Virginia Tech and Duke all lost, but that’s where the similarities end. Of course no coach will ever say they are happy just making a bowl game or with a moral victory, but these losses meant different things for each team.

Lets start with Boston College…

BC entered 2013 coming off a 2-10 season, and with a new head coach in Steve Addiazo. Not much was expected from this year. Despite a 42-19 loss to Arizona in the Independence bowl, Eagle fans have alot to be proud of. Andre Williams was a Heisman Finalist and finished with over 2100 rushing yards. It was one of the best rushing seasons in college football history.

Addiazo changed the culture at Boston College after some lean years. They gave Florida State their toughest game of the game year, and beat bowl teams Maryland and Virginia Tech. I’m sure Addiazo would have liked to have had a better bowl game, but really he has to feel good about his first season at BC. One coach who can’t feel good is Frank Beamer.

A 6-1 start at Virginia Tech had the Hokies ranked in the top 15. Then the Hokies lost 4 of their last 6 including a 42-12 loss to UCLA in the Sun Bowl to finish the year 8-5. This was a 1 game improvement from the year before, but it sure didn’t look a whole lot different. The offense still struggled, breaking 30 points only 2 times, with one of those being against Western Carolina.

The defense under Bud Foster was again stout, but too often was put in poor position by the offense. The Hokies didn’t win a single game when they gave up more than 24 points. QB Logan Thomas got hurt early and with his career done at Virginia Tech, I’m not Mark Leal is the answer. The offensive line is as bad as it’s ever been under Beamer and there just aren’t enough play makers. This is a program at a crossroads. You have an aging coaching legend and a program stuck in neutral. The recruiting class offers hope. There are 4 star prospects at QB Chris Durkin and and RB Shai McKenzie that could help, but there’s frustration in Blacksburg. Where’s there is not frustration is Durham, NC.

David Cutcliffe and Duke nearly pulled off an epic bowl win over Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. The Blue Devils led 38-17 at the half, but couldn’t quite hold on losing 52-48 in arguably the best bowl game of the season. Those 60 minutes probably did more for Duke recruiting than a month of in home visits.

Duke played an exciting brand of football against a ranked SEC team that featured one of college football’s best players in Manziel. Cutcliffe played called brilliantly against the Aggies and scored more points against the Texas A&M defense than anyone this season other than Alabama.

The Blue Devils proved they were one the nation’s 25 best teams with a wonderful 10-4 season. They earned respect across the country for that bowl performance. I’m not sure if this year was a ceiling for Duke, a perfect combination of players and coaches, but I wouldn’t bet against Cutcliffe. He’s too good of a coach. While I don’t think Duke can become a top 10 type team, 7-9 wins a year, bowls, and eventually a few bowl wins I believe is certainly within the realm of possibility.

What Cutcliffe has done is remarkable turning Duke around, and Blue Devil football has plenty to feel good about.

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1 comment

  1. Hokie Mark says:

    100% agree. Duke losing the way it did really is a “moral victory” which, I expect, will pay dividends in recruiting. BC has nothing to be ashamed of, either, since they are sooooo far ahead of where they were a year ago. With Va Tech, maybe there are signs of some small improvements but clearly the head coach is getting older and I’m thinking IF he has another run left in him it may be his last.

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