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Caulton Tudor

It's 'brAvo' for Coach Cut

Posted December 2, 2013

Duke coach David Cutcliffe during the Blue Devils' game versus Wake Forest on November 23, 2013 in Winston-Salem, NC.  Duke defeated Wake Forest 28-21 (Photo by Jack Morton).

David Cutcliffe, Duke, A Saturday, A Season: It’s fitting that a classic regular season coaching performance ended with a such classic, memorable outcome.

The 27-25 win at UNC on Saturday perfectly reflected the Blue Devils’ resiliency and collective commitment to purpose.

Cutcliffe gets my vote for ACC and National coach of the year.

No. 24 Duke beats North Carolina 27-25

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn obviously did a remarkable job. But at the same time, Auburn is a factory school and has been for decades. The school itself functions in large part simply to win football games.

Duke is the school that’s more likely to graduate 90 percent of its players than win 90 percent of its games.

Regardless of how it goes against Florida State in the ACC title game, its bravo for Coach Cut.

Previous grades: Six As, three Bs, one C, one D.


Ruffin McNeill, ECU, D Saturday, A Season: The 59-28 loss at Marshall put a miserable punctuation on an impressive regular season.

Among other things, the performance puts a good deal of pressure on the team and McNeill’s staff to notch a bowl win. A repeat – physically, mentally and tactically – of what happened at Marshall wound be amount to a disastrous way to go into a new conference.

Marshall glides past East Carolina 59-28

But anytime ECU goes 9-3 with easy wins at UNC and NCSU, the purple people can’t be but so sad.

Previous grades: Six As, three Bs, one C, one D.


Larry Fedora, UNC, C Saturday, C Season: A strange, uneven, unlikely regular season ended in exactly that same manner.

Along the way, the Tar Heels somehow became a model of special teams give and take. Whether they were kicking or kick-catching, each play was apt to be an adventure and highlight film material for someone.

So after 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the ACC, the highlights of Fedora’s second season turned out to be the win at N.C. State and if you stretch it some, scoring 80 points in a game (Old Dominion).

The defense rarely performed to preseason expectations. But on the other hand, several promising, young skill-position players emerged and should provide the 2014 with imposing big-play potential.

Like ECU, the Heels will need a bowl win in a big way.

Previous grades: Five As, one B, one C, four Ds.


Dave Doeren, NCSU, D Saturday, D Season: It started on a relatively positive note with a 40-14 win over Louisiana Tech to launch an eight-game home schedule.

That was as good as it got and a textbook example of a coaching transitional disaster ensued straight through the 41-21 loss to Maryland.

As bewildering as the 3-9 (0-8 ACC) record is the fact that spring drills will begin with a boatload of personnel question marks.

NC State caps winless ACC season with 41-21 loss

New quarterback candidates Jacoby Brissett (a transfer from Florida) and Jalan McClendon (signee from Charlotte West Mecklenburg) are expected to add some offensive pop but the overall outlook is still fuzzy.

State fans can take heart in knowing that Mack Brown started 2-20 (1-13 ACC) in his first two seasons at UNC in the late ‘80s and that David Cutcliffe was 4-8 (1-7 ACC) in his 2008 debut at Duke.

The first three currently schedule 2014 opponents – Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and South Florida – are similar to three early ’13 non-league victims. Another successful September should be there for the taking.

Previous grades: Three Bs, two Cs, six Ds.


Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers, A: You have to think that Rivera is right there with Andy Reid (Kansas City), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati) and Pete Carroll (Seattle) in the running for NFL coach of the year.

Panthers top Bucs 27-6 for 8th straight win

Sunday’s 27-6 win over Tampa Bay was in tune with the overall seasonal theme of winning at home, taking underdogs seriously and allowing the defense to set the game tempo.

Previous grades: Six As, two Bs, one C, one D, one F.

39 Comments

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  • Boogalooboy Dec 3, 7:50 a.m.

    jeff27... I've been behind them for 63 yrs... the good and the bad.. but I can see how fans can quiet down when they have nothing to talk about.... just human nature..

  • Boogalooboy Dec 3, 7:41 a.m.

    I understand the SEC hype but how many teams in the ACC are going to bowls compared to the number going from the SEC... hmmmm

  • Hammerhead Dec 2, 9:40 p.m.

    You guys are stupid! Easy to distract you. HAHA! I love aggravating snot the out of you guys.... View More

    — Posted by PricelessGemUNC

    And appreciate do it we.

  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 2, 9:02 p.m.

    You guys are stupid! Easy to distract you. HAHA! I love aggravating snot the out of you guys. Very humorous!

  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 2, 9:00 p.m.

    Venombee=Marked

    — Posted by jabparker4

    You guys are ! Easy to distract you. HAHA! I love aggravating the out of you guys. Very humorous!

  • 2ND AMENDMENT Dec 2, 7:38 p.m.

    Way ta schedule!

  • jabparker4 Dec 2, 6:49 p.m.

    Venombee=Marked

  • Stilllearnin Dec 2, 6:15 p.m.

    This just in.... Coach Cutcliffe admitted in hospital.

    — Posted by PricelessGemUNC

    Just In: venombee just escaped from a mental hospital!

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Dec 2, 5:35 p.m.

    It's not that Duke has all these new fans. I think most other fans of conference teams... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    Ahem: I've seen a lot of Carolina fans giving praise and credit to what Cut has accomplished. And he his accomplishments ARE remarkable. I'm not sure Cut will get the national recognition and credit he deserves. Yes, he's accomplished a LOT. In a weak conference. Beat FSU in the ACC Championship game, and everyone will take notice. Not diminishing what Cut has accomplished, just giving what might be a national perspective.

    If I had a vote, I'd vote for Cut. Even in a weak conference, Cut had to recruit players who could make the grade. At DUKE! I doubt Auburn has the same academic standards as Duke. Considering Cam is an alum, I KNOW Auburn doesn't have the same academic standards as Duke!

    Here's to wishing Cut gets NCOY. I doubt he cares, but I do hope he wins.

  • Wide Awake81 Dec 2, 5:35 p.m.

    "The first three currently schedule 2014 opponents – Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and South Florida – are similar to three early ’13 non-league victims. Another successful September should be there for the taking."

    I wouldn't put Georgia Southern in the same class as the three chumps State managed to beat this season. Just ask the Florida Gators. Next season's State team will not be as good as this season's Florida Gators. I never knew a team could have so many a$# clowns until I watched State play this season and I don't think it's going to get that much better next season. I look forward to watching GSU's offense running up and down the field all game long next year.

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