Duke football schedule predictions and early game-by-game preview for 2016. Projecting how the Blue Devils will do this year.
Can Duke get back to a bowl game and put together another great season? Will the schedule work out well enough to be a player in the ACC title chase? Check out the preseason predictions for every game.
Sept. 3 vs. North Carolina Central
The Duke football schedule kicks off with exactly the tune-up they need before diving into the ACC season. The Eagles aren’t going to be that awful, but they lost 55-0 to the Blue Devils last year. It won’t be much more fun this time around.
Preseason Prediction: Duke 48, North Carolina Central 0
Sept. 10 vs. Wake Forest
This is a solid, veteran Demon Deacon team that has to somehow pull this off to have any realistic shot at getting to six wins and go bowling. It’s not going to happen as the Duke offense will show just enough balance, and the defense will be just solid enough against the Wake Forest passing game to pull off a thriller.
Preseason Prediction: Duke 34, Wake Forest 31
Sept. 17 at Northwestern
Duke was kicking itself after somehow giving away the home date to Northwestern last year in a strange 19-10 performance. But that’s what the Wildcats did to teams all throughout last year, and they’ll do it again this season in Evanston with a little bit more offensive punch.
Preseason Prediction: Northwestern 23, Duke 16
Sept. 24 at Notre Dame
Duke won 37-13 in the 1961 matchup, but Notre Dame won the other three games, including the 2007 battle in Durham. In the three losses, the Blue Devils were outscored 101 to 14. This will be a lot closer, but the Irish running game will control the matchup from the start.
Preseason Prediction: Notre Dame 40, Duke 23
Oct. 1 vs. Virginia
It’s total disaster time if Duke doesn’t somehow win this game. It’s a home date against, potentially, the worst team in the Coastal, and the ACC slate doesn’t get any easier from here on out. Lose this, and all but forget about a bowl. Duke won’t lose it, but it’ll be a dogfight to pull it off.
Preseason Prediction: Duke 20, Virginia 17
Oct. 8 vs. Army
Will the Duke linebackers be able to handle the Army option attack? There wasn’t any problem in last year’s 44-3 win, but this year’s Black Knight team should be stronger. It’ll be another easy win, but it won’t be by 41 points.
Preseason Prediction: Duke 37, Army 17
Oct. 14 at Louisville
Can the Blue Devils find something funky on the lone Friday night game of this year’s schedule? The Cardinals are good enough to with Atlantic, and maybe the ACC title, and worst of all for Duke, they’re coming off a bye week. It’s a short week for the Blue Devils after being cut blocked by Army.
Preseason Prediction: Louisville 31, Duke 17
Oct. 22 OPEN DATE
Oct. 29 at Georgia Tech
Duke gets a week off at just the right time to rest up and figure out the Georgia Tech offense, but there’s one problem – the Yellow Jackets get a week off, too. Duke has won two in a row in the series – not this time.
Preseason Prediction: Georgia Tech 30, Duke 20
Nov. 5 vs. Virginia Tech
Desperate after losing two ACC games in a row, the Blue Devils will come up with a terrific and focused effort against a Virginia Tech team coming off a road game at Pitt. The Hokies are better, but three turnovers will be the difference – Duke will capitalize on all of them.
Preseason Prediction: Duke 27, Virginia Tech 20
Nov. 10 vs. North Carolina
The Blue Devil defense hasn’t even been close against the Tar Heels over the last two years, losing 66-31 last year and 45-20 in 2014. The D won’t be able to do much more this time around, either, but the offense will explode at home in one of the wildest shootouts of the ACC season.
Preseason Prediction: Duke 45, North Carolina 41
Nov. 19 at Pitt
Will it be a dud like the 31-13 Pitt win last year, or a terrific thriller like the 51-48 Blue Devil victory in 2014? It’ll be somewhere in between, with the two teams trading haymakers in the first half before Pitt’s running game takes over in the second half to pull away.
Preseason Prediction: Pitt 37, Duke 24
Nov. 26 at Miami
Even though Miami hasn’t been the typical Miami over the last few years, it’s beaten Duke twice in a row and in 11 of the last 12 meetings – the Blue Devils dominated in 1976 with a 20-7 win. But that won’t be the case in the last game on this year’s Duke football schedule. The Hurricanes will roll in the regular season finale with a win meaning a Coastal Division title.
Preseason Prediction: Miami 33, Duke 20
2016 Prediction: 6-6
2016 ACC Prediction: 4-4