GREENSBORO -- The last time Duke was picked to finish better than last in the ACC, or at least its conference division, in the league's Football Kickoff Preseason Poll was 1999 (when the Blue Devils were predicted to finish seventh).
So head coach David Cutcliffe was pleased to see that his team, which won five games last season, was chosen to finish fifth in the talent-heavy Coastal Division. In all, it racked up the 10th-most points (169) from the voting media out of 12 teams.
"I'm not going to lie ... I kind of got a little charge out of that,'' he said. "Because when I first came, I'm not used to that [being picked to finish last]. That's not the world I come from, I was spoiled when it comes to winning and losing. The first year when I looked at that [poll], I was like, 'Holy smokes' -- I don't think we were even three digits on that [points] number. I said, 'Are we really that bad? Let me go back and look at more of that spring tape.'
"So it's progress, but I also know I've been picked fifth in the SEC West and won it. And I've been picked high and hadn't done so well. ... I'm trying to figure it all like you all are. It's difficult to predict. I think the right teams are in order; I don't know if we even belong up where do [are] just yet, but we'll see. That's why we played the game."