North Carolina Central (0-0) at Duke (0-0)
Aug. 31, 4:00, ESPN3.com
Why You Should Give A Hoot: Duke is coming off its first bowl appearance since 1994, while head coach David Cutcliffe has turned the Blue Devils into an entertaining offensive squad. The defense still allows huge plays, a perennial problem that has plagued more than just the current staff. Having broken through in 2012, Duke wants to show in 2013 that it’s no one-hit wonder by remaining on a winning track.
Why NC Central Might Win: Have you seen Duke play defense in recent years? The amount of starters coming back is not a good thing, which only adds more pressure to a unit that has struggled so much. If the Blue Devils turn it over a few times, there is a shot an upset occurs. The Eagles return four starting O-linemen, and veteran QB Jordan Reid returns for his senior year.
Why Duke Might Win: The Dukies may win because they are the heavy favorites and the far superior team on paper. Four seasons ago these two matched up, and the Blue Devils handled NC Central, 49-14. Nothing will change, as WR Jamison Crowder should get open at will for new starting QB Anthony Boone.
Who To Watch Out For: Crowder is easily the guy to watch out for. He got Duke bowl-eligible with a tremendous game-winning touchdown catch against the Tar Heels and he is a possession machine that can run circles around any FCS opponent.
What Will Happen: Duke will come through in its opener with the momentum they still have from the 2012 season, plus its offense can torch poor NC Central. Boone is a dual-threat and has a huge body that will help him out towards the goal-line. The defense should be fine once the second half rolls along, so do not be shocked if Duke scores close to 50 on Saturday.
Prediction: Duke 54 … NC Central 17
Line: Duke -33