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.


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  • DEVILS1 Dec 2, 2013

    10-2, Coastal Champs, One fg from being 11-1, did not loose a game after Sept. 21st, undefeated on the road including wins in Blacksburg, Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill when things were on the line.


  • uncsuckiemarkie1 Dec 2, 2013


  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 2, 2013

    Oh great! How many stories is WRAL going to do on Cutcliffe? Geezz! No way does he get National Coach of the Year! Get over it! Gus in Auburn gets that one!

  • Coastal Native Dec 2, 2013

    Has Fedora used those 3 timeouts left yet he had in his back pocket? Ridiculous
    Maybe he used them while watching film the next day.

  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 2, 2013

    looks like COY is out of the question.

  • Stilllearnin Dec 2, 2013

    I believe you have to look at it from the standpoint of who has turned their team into a football contender. Look at where Duke was suppose to end up (preseason polls) and where Auburn was ranked. No one would have predicted a 10 - 2 record and a Coastal title and ranked 20th in the Country. This should give Coach Cutcliffe an edge over other coaches.

  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 2, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Whatever. Auburn has gone to the top 5 and had to beat the best program in all of college football.

  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 2, 2013

    Meyer at Ohio State deserves it over Cutcliffe.

  • DEVILS1 Dec 2, 2013

    View quoted thread


  • lanecc Dec 2, 2013

    Coach Cut will not get NCOY but he deserves it. Duke was predicted to flop again and look where they are now. Fluke, luck, easy schedule (ha, we beat two ranked teams!), whatever. He has accomplished more with less and that is how you should judge NCOY. Auburn, alabama, FSU were already up there and have done as predicted. Not Duke, we have exceeded all expectations.




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