Duke’s finish – including a bowl win, makes them a team to watch for 2018.

Following a 4-8 2016, there were a little rumblings that Duke football had peaked with the 2013-2015 seasons. During that time Duke averaged 9 wins a year. 2017 was a big year for the Blue Devils to prove they weren’t slipping. Duke needed to prove 2016 was just an aberration, and that the Blue Devils would continue to be a perennial bowl team capable of winning of 7-10 games in most seasons.

I think that question has been answered. Sitting at 4-6 at one point in 2017, the answer appeared to be that Duke’s was indeed slipping. David Cutcliffe and his Duke team made sure that wouldn’t be the story of the season.

Starting with an inspired dominant 43-20 win over Georgia Tech, Duke beat a solid Wake Forest team to end the regular season, and then followed that up with a strong bowl performance against North Illinois in a 36-14 win.

When I look at Duke’s team in 2017, I don’t see the 6 game losing streak where Duke lost their way. I see a team that at times played like a top 25 team. There was a blowout win over a really good Northwestern squad, a road win at Wake Forest, and Tuesday’s bowl victory. If you remember we called Daniel Jones one of the best 5 QB’s in the ACC coming into 2017. 

The sophomore slump got hold of Jones during that losing streak along with some injuries. This is a talented quarterback under the tutelage of Cutcliffe, that eventually was going to start playing at the level we thought he was capable. We saw that towards the end of the year. He completed nearly 68% of his passes on the year. Jones is still young. He is just entering his RS-junior year. Jones can turn pro if he wishes, but I think he should stay.

If he can put a whole season together, at 6-5 with a strong arm, he can work himself into a 1st or 2nd round NFL pick. Duke hopes he stays too, because if he does this could be a real sleeper of team in the ACC Coastal in 2018.

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