Cut, Ruff and Rivera ride in on the A Train
Posted October 21, 2013
David Cutcliff, Duke, A: Down 22-0 in the first half on the road, 99 percent of Duke teams over the last 25 years would have lost by at least 50 points.
Cutcliffe’s sixth Duke team responded with a 35-22 win Saturday at Virginia, improving the record to 5-2 and likely increasing his lead over Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher in the ACC coach of the year jockeying.
Duke rallies to stun Virginia, 35-22
And when you think back on it, the Blue Devils were only one more big play against Pitt and the record would be 6-1. Remarkable, just remarkable.
Previous grades: Two As, two Bs, one C, one D.
Larry Fedora, UNC, D: In Thursday’s 27-23 loss to Miami in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels were much improved on defense for most of the night and showed some offensive pop against an undefeated foe.
But at home with a fourth-quarter lead against an opponent that had lost four starters to injuries early in the game and then had thrown four interceptions, Carolina simply should not have lost even though the Hurricanes began the game as an 8-point favorite.
No. 10 Miami edges North Carolina 27-23
More than the Sept. 28 shellacking from ECU, the Miami game was the setback that really opened the possibility of a disastrous second season for Fedora and his staff.
Previous grades: One B, one C, three Ds.
Ruffin McNeill, ECU, A: Southern Miss is winless since Fedora left, but the series has meant enough to McNeill and the school that no one came close to mailing it in.
Carden, East Carolina blast Southern Miss 55-14
The loss at Tulane will be impossible to erase from the record, but give McNeill and his staff credit for not allowing one loss to beat you twice.
Previous grades: One A, three Bs, one C, One D.
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers, A: Sunday’s 30-15 win over St. Louis in Charlotte was easier than the score suggests, but temper flares and penalties made it look like a street brawl at times.
Newton, defense lead Panthers past Rams 30-15
Overlooked to some extent in the smack talking and helmet smacking is the fact that Rivera and his staff have come up with a top-line defense even though he’s had to rebuild the secondary on the fly.
Previous grades: Twos As, one C, one D, one F.