With all of the insanity going on over in the Big East, we wanted to give a breakdown of each of the ACC‘s schedules — how the teams stack up, and some thoughts on overall difficulty. If these change at all, we’ll also be sure to update them on a rolling basis. All information is up-to-date as of publishing, based on the latest from FBSchedules.com.
Today’s breakdown: Duke Blue Devils
For the 2012 season, Duke plays about as manageable a schedule as possible when you’re a Blue Devils team that hasn’t reached a bowl game since 1994. With an eye on six wins, the team’s non-conference features three highly winnable games, along with their own gig as Stanford‘s sacrificial lamb. Among their other non-ACC matchups, Duke gets three home games — versus Memphis, Florida International and NC Central. All are highly winnable, and all will be imperative to the Blue Devils’ six-win goal. Of course, no FCS squad should be counted out completely for Duke. See last year’s Richmond debacle as exhibit-A. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson, though.
Lucky for Duke they scheduled as they did in non-conference play however, because they arguably face the toughest collection of conference opponents any ACC opponent is stuck with. Of the nine bowl-eligible league teams in 2011, Duke faces eight of them, only missing out on NC State. While they do get rivals North Carolina and Virginia at home, both are programs that seem to have continued pulling in talent on this year’s recruiting front and thus, are unlikely to drop off from solid 2011 campaigns. To make matters worse, the Blue Devils will get the demoralizing experiences of hosting Clemson’s frightening offense at home, along with both Florida State and Virginia Tech on the road. Even if Duke is improved in 2012, it’s uncertain as this juncture whether their W-L will indicate as much.