2013 record: 10-4 overall, 6-3 in ACC (1st in Coastal division)
2013 postseason: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Texas A&M (52-48 loss)
2013 final AP/coaches’ ranking: No. 23/No. 22
Head coach: David Cutcliffe (75-73 overall; 3144 in 6 years at Duke)
Offensive coordinator: Scottie Montgomery (First season as offensive coordinator)
2013 offensive rankings: 54th rushing offense (178 ypg); 50th passing offense (248.1 ypg); 47th total offense (426.1 ypg); 40th scoring offense (32.8 ppg)
Returning offensive starters: 8
Defensive coordinator: Jim Knowles (6th season as defensive coordinator)
2013 defensive rankings: 76th rushing defense (174.14 ypg); 84th passing defense (243.9 ypg); 83rd total defense (418.0 ypg); 64th scoring defense (26.6 ppg)
Returning defensive starters: 6
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Stadium: Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941; Grass)
Last conference title: 1989 (shared with Virginia)
Duke returns a good number of starters from last season, including star wide receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Braxton Deaver. The two should make for a strong 1-2 punch in the passing game with Anthony Boone taking on full-time responsibilities this fall. Boone brings a good amount of experience to the position and should feel comfortable despite a change in offensive coordinator. Dukes defense returns three starters in the secondary, a position that was ready to rise to the occasion in 2013. Duke also plays n a division that sees nobody ready to step up and grab firm control of the division race, something the program benefitted from at least in part last fall. Duke may not have the overall skill that others may have, but the ability to play together may be unrivaled in the ACC Coastal Division and that has to count for something at some point.
Duke’s defensive line was not particularly great in 2013 and now must replace three starters on the line. The line will see Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo move into a more prominent role after leading the Blue Devils in sacks in 013, but Duke needs to find a way to slow down opposing offenses capable of running the football to take the pressure off the secondary. Duke allowed a little more than four yards per play in the ACC Championship Game against Florida State and then allowed Texas A&M to storm back with some big plays in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The holes of the defense have been exposed, giving the Blue Devils something to work on in 2014 before taking whatever the next step is for the program.
How much of Duke’s success the past couple of seasons has been based on the work being done in Durham and how much has been influenced by the sputtering of the rest fo the ACC Coastal? In 2014, will Duke prove worthy of division champion favorite status or will Duke start to fall back in the wide open division as North Carolina, Miami or Virginia Tech potentially start to work back up the division?
MAKE-OR-BREAK GAME: at Miami
Duke will get an early chance to set themselves apart from the rest of the ACC Coastal Division when they travel to Miami for a late-September contest, the first in ACC play for Duke. When they arrive in Miami Duke could (should) be 4-0 and already sniffing another bowl berth before flipping over to October. The contest against Miami could prove pivotal in the Coastal race so if Duke can slow down Duke Johnson‘s running and force any mistakes by a questionable quarterback situation, Duke could return home with a 5-0 record and feeling very good heading into a light and easy October with a pair of bye weeks to work with.
HEISMAN HOPEFUL: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder
Without much doubt, Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder is the most outstanding offensive player on the Blue Devils roster. Last season Crowder was second in the ACC in receiving with 1,360 yards (trailing only Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who was pretty good too). Crowder will continue to be the go-to receiver for Duke and he will pile up the yardage along the way, proving why he was voted a preseason All-ACC receiver.
(Click HERE for the CFT 2014 Preseason Preview Repository)
Myriad off-field issues have dogged Art Briles‘ Baylor program of late, but at least the Bears head coach can take comfort in the fact that he’s very well compensated.
As Baylor is a private university, they are not forced to release coaching salaries, although those details are available via federal tax returns. The last known salary for Briles was $3.6 million for the 2013 calendar year; according to the tax returns for 2014 obtained by USA Today, Briles salary for that calendar year jumped to more than $5.3 million.
When all of Briles’ compensation is taken into account, he earned just a shade over $5.9 million for 2014.
In the USA Today coaching salary database for 2015, Briles would’ve been the highest-paid coach in the Big 12, ahead of Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($5.4 million). He also would’ve been the third-highest paid head coach in all of college football, trailing only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($7.087 million) and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh ($7.004 million) in total compensation. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, at $5.86 million, sits in that No. 3 spot.
Per the tax returns obtained by the website, Briles earned $540,000 in bonuses and incentives; how those were broken down wasn’t detailed in the returns. Briles received another $28,000 in retirement and other deferred compensation, as well as $5,000 in apparel from Nike.
As for the lag in the numbers for Briles and why the 2015 financials are not available, USA Today explains it thusly:
Because private schools are organized as non-profit organizations, they must annually file a tax return that includes information about the pay of their most highly compensated employees. Although the returns mostly cover fiscal years that involve parts of two calendar years, the IRS requires that the compensation reporting cover the most recently completed calendar year.
Due to the complexity of their returns, large colleges and universities routinely take filing extensions that result in a significant time lag between the period covered by their most recent return and the date they file.
Baylor’s new return covers a tax year from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015, making 2014 the most recently completed calendar year.
Ohio State had a banner first day of the 2016 NFL draft with five Buckeyes selected, although they fell one short of tying the 2004 Miami Hurricanes for most first-round picks in a single year. A day later, they first matched then set a couple of draft standards.
In Friday’s second round, two more Buckeyes were drafted — wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell. That pushed OSU’s total to seven, tying USC in 2008 and Tennessee in 2000 for the most selections through the first two rounds since the common era began in 1967.
In the ensuing round, defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and quarterback-turned wide receiver Braxton Miller were selected. With the nine draft picks through three rounds, OSU broke the common-era draft record of eight set by the 2004 Vols. OSU wasn’t finished as, shortly after Miller’s selection, tight end Nick Vannett was grabbed toward the end of the third round, giving Urban Meyer‘s program an even 10 draft picks thus far.
On opening night, three Buckeyes were scooped up in the first 10 picks — defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple — while offensive lineman Taylor Decker and linebacker Darron Lee were selected before the opening round ended.
With four rounds remaining, and six unselected players still available, the Buckeyes might not be done making history as they are within shouting distance of the all-time record for most selections since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994. The record? 14. The record holder? The 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes, which had seven players taken in the first three rounds.
And, before Bevo commences bloviating, it should be noted that Texas holds the all-time record with 17 picks in the 1984 draft. That year, the draft lasted 12 rounds.
While Miami had not yet confirmed it, one of the most talented Hurricanes on the defensive side of the ball, Al-Quadin Muhammad (pictured, right), underwent a successful but unspecified surgical procedure recently. And just how did we know that initially? Because the player posted a picture of himself laying in a hospital bed and clothed in hospital garb, that’s how.
Subsequent to Muhammad’s social media revelation, the university confirmed that the lineman had undergone “a small surgical procedure… on his knee.” Muhammad is expected to resume football activities in a couple of weeks.
The redshirt junior played in 12 games in 2015, leading the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). He’ll enter summer camp, provided he doesn’t suffer a setback, as arguably the Hurricanes’ top pass rusher.
A potentially significant blow to Navy’s secondary has been averted.
Back in February, Navy announced that Brendon Clements had been indefinitely removed from the football team’s roster for violating Naval Academy rules. It was initially thought that the senior’s playing career had come to an end, although that could never be confirmed.
Nearly three months later, however, the service academy announced that the starting cornerback has been reinstated.
Over the past three seasons, Clements started 35 games for the Midshipmen. Those are easily the most of any returning Navy player.