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ACC: Eight Bowl Games

In years past, the ACC might announce a new bowl schedule and we wouldn't really pay much attention. Now, though, with the total rebuild David Cutcliffe has done with the football program, we not only have to pay attention, we're excited about the future and where Duke might end up.

The ACC is guaranteed eight games - the Orange, Chick-fil-A, Russell Athletic, Sun Bowl, Belk Bowl, Music City Bowl, Advocare V100 Bowl (that's a mouthful), the Military Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

The nice thing is that even with Pitt (6-7) and Syracuse (8-5) coming in, it's very hard to say who can't make a bowl. We certainly hope Maryland (4-8) doesn't - they can go as a Big Ten team next time - but otherwise, BC finished last year 2-10.

Virginia was 4-8 but came on late. Miami, UNC and Georgia Tech have NCAA issues but all three are very well coached.

Wake is up and down, which is about what you'd expect, but also very well coached indeed.  State fired Tom O' Brient after a reasonably successful tenure and brought in hotshot young rising star Dave Doeren, who took Northern Illinois to an improbable BCS bid.

And you certainly expect Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech to excel.

The best thing, though, and not just from our point of view, is Duke's improvement. There are no jokes in the ACC. Duke demands respect now and as their young players mature and improve, they'll continue to compete at a high level.

That doesn't mean they'll necessarily win every year; we're not there yet. But they will compete, and they will be respected.