Duke's Bowl Hopes Fading As More Teams Get Eligible


The early games this week brought bad news for Duke’s fading bowl hopes.

The Blue Devils, at 4-7, need a fifth win against Miami on Saturday. Then they needed nine of the 13 five-win teams to lose in their quest to win a sixth and become bowl eligible. As the top eligible team in APR, Duke would be the first choice if there aren’t enough six-win teams to fill all 78 bowl slots.

In Tuesday MAC-tion, Ohio pounded winless Akron 52-3 to move to 6-6 on the season and take one of the bowl slots.

Then, on Thanksgiving Day, Mississippi State held on to win, 21-20 over Ole Miss—coached by former David Cutcliffe assistant Matt Luke—moving to 6-6 on the season and taking another bowl slot.

That brings the number of bowl-eligible teams to 74. Liberty, who has six wins but isn’t yet eligible, after playing two FCS teams, would be picked before Duke. So there are just three vacancies left for the Blue Devils.

Eleven teams still have games to play this weekend, meaning that Duke needs them to go a combined 2-9, while beating Miami, to finagle a bowl bid.

There is a bit of good news for the Blue Devils: Missouri, who is 5-6, finally heard back from the NCAA, who denied its appeal of its postseason ban. The Tigers have waited eight months to hear back. The decision takes out one additional team that could spoil Duke’s hopes.

Here’s a look at the games that Duke needs to care about.

Boston College: at 7-4 Pitt

North Carolina: at 4-7 NC State

Army: at 8-4 Hawaii, vs. 8-2 Navy

Oregon State: at 9-2 Oregon

TCU: vs. 4-7 West Virginia

Troy: vs. 10-1 Appalachian State

Kent State: at 6-5 Eastern Michigan

Michigan State: vs. 3-8 Maryland

Nebraska: vs. 8-3 Iowa

Louisiana Monroe: at 9-2 Louisiana

Colorado: at 10-1 Utah