If you're like me, you don't know much about the Duke football team other than that they lost to FCS foe Richmond on Saturday. To help get us all up to speed before Stanford's upcoming trip to Durham, Matt Levenberg of Duke's student newspaper, The Chronicle, was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Rule of Tree: Was the loss to Richmond the sign of another long, losing season, or could Duke surprise some people this year?
Matt Levenberg: It really depends on whom you ask. The coaching staff and players insist that this team is the most talented one Duke has had in a long time and they have hopes of not just reaching a bowl game, but reaching the ACC Championship. Skeptics will claim that it's the same old Duke football team that is going to have a long season, but I know the coaches, players, and fans have much higher hopes. It's one thing to have the talent, but and it's another to produce results.
RoT: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the level of support it shows for the men's basketball team, how would you rate the student body's level of interest in the football team? How has it changed -- for better or worse -- during your time in Durham?
ML: My experience goes back to the start of the 2008 season. My understanding is that during the end of the Ted Roof era, the student body's level of interest was a 1. When Cutcliffe came in, the students gave him a chance and I would rate it around a 6. The stadium generally fills up for the season opener and contests with top-ranked opponents such as Alabama last year and Stanford this year, but for most ACC contests it is possible to walk in 10 minutes before kickoff and find a seat in the fifth row in the student section. It seems that some students are starting to lose patience with Cutcliffe and I would say the student body's interest is about a 4 now.
RoT: What do the Blue Devils need to do to keep Saturday's game interesting?
ML: Duke returns all of its offensive playmakers this season from a unit that averaged over 25 points per game. The offense is capable of putting up a big number (they scored 48 points against Wake Forest and 55 against Virginia last year), and they will need to sustain long drives to keep the potent Stanford offense on the sidelines. Look for the Blue Devils to try to establish the run and find short passes to pick up first downs. With running back Desmond Scott questionable for this week, sophomore Juwan Thompson will have to carry the load from the backfield.
RoT: What's your prediction for Saturday?
ML: Tough question. Duke has not beaten a top 10 team since the Steve Spurrier era in 1989. I'll go with 42-28 Stanford.
RoT: What's the best place (besides home) for Stanford fans to head after the game?
ML: If Stanford fans want to catch the rest of the college football action after the game, they can head over to Satisfaction's. Satisfaction's is located in Brightleaf Square on Main Street, a short drive away from Wallace Wade Stadium, and it will be showing all the televised college football games and has a good selection of food and drinks.