User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Duke visits Hokies looking to become bowl eligible

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Duke needs just one win in its final six games to qualify for its first bowl berth since 1994. Getting there probably won't be as simple as it sounds.

The Blue Devils are a combined 1-39 against their remaining six opponents since the Atlantic Coast Conference expanded in 2004 - including an 0-8 mark against this week's opponent, Virginia Tech.

Still, only once in the past 17 years has Duke even been this close to bowl eligibility. There's no shielding the players from those bowl possibilities - so coach David Cutcliffe doesn't mind if they savor the situation a little.

``I told my wife, `I don't want to spoil a good party,''' Cutcliffe said Tuesday. ``That's not the only reason you're playing the game, but that's just human nature. How are you going to fool them?

``They're starving. Why wouldn't they feel that way? To ruin their party? I'm not going to do that. But I don't want to hear a bunch about it in the locker room before the ball game. Better start thinking about what you've got to do to win a game, period.''

These Blue Devils (5-1, 2-0) are off to their best start since the 1994 team opened with seven straight wins on its way to the school's most recent bowl game. Only once since then - a 5-7 finish in 2009 - have they won this many games.

Along with that success has come a little respect from the poll voters - Duke received three poll points in this week's AP Top 25 - but not from the oddsmakers. The Hokies (3-3, 1-1) are 10-point favorites.

``People still see us as an underdog and trying to see if we really are who we are, depending on who we play,'' running back Juwan Thompson said.

Part of the reason for Duke's success has been a manageable schedule. Four of the wins have come against Bowl Subdivision teams that are a combined 7-16. None has a winning record and Wake Forest (3-3) is the only one at .500.

Now things are about to get tougher: Three of the next four opponents - Florida State, Clemson and the Hokies - have appeared in the Top 25 this season.

Nobody on this team knows what it feels like to beat any of the final six opponents. Duke's only post-expansion win against any of them came in 2004 against Clemson.

One reason for optimism: under Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils have kept it close against Virginia Tech. Three of his four meetings were decided by eight or fewer points, including last year's 14-10 loss.

These Blue Devils already ended one lengthy losing streak this year, beating Wake Forest for the first time since 1999. The Hokies want this streak to continue.

``Since I've been here, we've had close games with them, so we've known they're a talented group,'' Hokies cornerback Antone Exum said. ``It was just, when were they going to put it all together? And it seems like maybe this is that year for them. They had a pretty successful start. Hopefully, we can tame that a little bit.''

The Duke-Virginia Tech game usually matches one Coastal Division-leading team against another riding a long losing streak, and so does this one. But this time, the roles have flipped.

The Blue Devils are the ones atop the division while the Hokies have dropped three of four during their worst start since the 1992 group opened 2-3-1 and became the most recent Tech team to miss the postseason.

``I guess we'd be in crisis if we couldn't move the ball and if we couldn't stop anybody,'' quarterback Logan Thomas said. ``That's not the case. We've been able to move the ball and we've been able to stop people. We just haven't done it all in the same game yet.''

In last week's loss at North Carolina, they surrendered the most yards rushing they've ever allowed to one player - 262 by Gio Bernard.

``I wanted to see what, exactly, happened - like, what runs did he have that were just that open,'' Thompson said. ``Because 262 is a big amount. ... They did some things defensively that I've never seen, like when you put everybody in the box and after you pass the secondary, it's over.

``We're just going to go out there with the Duke schemes that we have and play our type of football,'' he added.


AP Sports Writer Hank Kurz Jr. in Blacksburg, Va., contributed to this report.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

DiNitto: Opening Line Report - Week 9
Dobish: Betting Recap - Week 8
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 8
News: Heisman Odds Update
Indiana stick with QB Lagow despite skid
'Cuse disciplines staffer for role in fight
Wisconsin LB Cichy out for season
Tennessee won't have Kamara for SC
'The sun came up' for Buckeyes after loss
Why Buy Picks From
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
30-9 Totals, 37-15 L5 Sat., +1,265
17-9 L26 G-Plays, 60% +911 TY
10-5 CFB Record This Month
3-0 Friday, 14-7 Run, +2,089 Totals
5 Wins in a Row, 7-3 L10 Totals
9-3 Record Saturday
5-2 Saturday, 7-2 Week 8
13-6 Saturday, 12-6 L18 Totals
5-2 CFB Picks Saturday
7-4 Saturday, 18-8 L26 Totals
4-1 Last 5 CFB G-Plays
9-2 L11 CFB Guarantees
5-1 L6 Guaranteed Plays
2-0 Record Last Thursday
4-2 Saturday, 5-1 L6 Guarantees
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1265
Scott Rickenbach + 911
Pat Hawkins + 550
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 825
Paul Bovi + 675
Jimmy Boyd + 485
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Rickenbach 60 %
Kyle Hunter 59 %
Michael Black 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 620
The Gold Sheet + 570
Marc Lawrence + 340
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2089
Kyle Hunter + 1470
Joe Williams + 817
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 661
Scott Rickenbach + 380
Andy Iskoe + 156
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership