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Streaking With The Devils

Time was Duke’s W/L streaks were almost all negative. And losses were in double figures more than once.

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NCAA Football: Duke at Northwestern
Sep 8, 2018; Evanston, IL, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe looks on in the first half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris
Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

We’re not in the business of making predictions. We try not to take things for granted in any realm. Nor, with a few notable exceptions around the sports universe, are we inclined to try to jinx anyone.

So, when we say it’s now virtually certain Duke’s football team will open the season with four straight victories, we certainly have no intention of going out on a limb or dabbling in wild fortune-telling.

We’re also not disparaging NC Central, Saturday’s opponent, which is simply a lower-level DI team playing a FBS program on the road, even if it’s just across town. Playing an historically black school from Durham is a notable nod of respect in a series that hopefully will continue into the indefinite future.

But, good as they’ve been in the MEAC, the Eagles are only in their eighth year as an FCS school and have been an easy touch for the Blue Devils in five previous meetings at Wallace Wade Stadium. Their last three games went to Duke by a combined 164-13 score, including 60-7 last year.

Next up for David Cutcliffe’s squad will be Virginia Tech at home on Sept. 29. The Devils topped the Hokies twice in their last five tries (2013 and 2015), twice in 10 clashes under Cutcliffe. Both wins came at Blacksburg.

Duke posted streaks of at least four wins on six previous occasions during Cutcliffe’s first decade on the job. Twice, in 2014 and 2017, his Blue Devils opened with four victories. The last time Duke won more than four to start a season was 1994 under Fred Goldsmith, whose first team reeled off seven victories right out of the gate.

Seven times a Cutcliffe squad lost four or more in a season.

The longest winning streak of Cutcliffe’s tenure, at any time in the season, came in 2013, when eight in a row allowed the Blue Devils to win the Coastal Division title.

Longest Win, Loss Streaks of Cutcliffe Tenure
Year W in Row Dates L in Row Dates
2013 8 9/28-11/30
2017 4 9/2-93 6 9/30-11/11
2015 4 9/26-10/24 4 10/31-11/21
2014 4 8/30-9/20 NA
2014 4 10/11-11/8 NA
2012 4 9/15-10/6 5 10/27 to end
2018 3+
2011 7 10/15 to end
2010 6 9/11-10/23
2009 4 11/7 to end
2008 5 11/1 to end

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