Game Information - November 1, 2014. Heinz Field. Game time: TBA
Location - Durham, North Carolina
Enrollment - 14, 600 (6,495 undergrads; 8,105 postgraduates)
Stadium - Wallace Wade Stadium. 33, 941 capacity
Notable Alumni - Dick Groat, Pitt basketball color analyst; Ken Jeong, actor; Marietta Sirlead, Donna on NBC's Parks and Recreation.
Conference Affiliation - ACC (1953-present)
Head Coach - David Cutcliffe (31-44 in six seasons at Duke; 75-73 overall)
Series History - Pitt leads the series 10-8 (Pitt won 58-55 in 2013)
SB Nation site - Duke basketball report
Pitt outlasted Duke in a shootout in Durham last season. The 58-55 final outcome actually resembled a score you would expect from the two basketball programs. Pitt looked to have the game well in hand a number of times, and at the time the final outcome was rather disappointing because many of us felt Pitt should have won the game handily. As it turned out, the game was actually a big upset in Pitt's favor as Duke went on to win the ACC Coastal division championship, while Pitt finished a meager 6-6.
Duke won't be sneaking up on anybody this season after a surprise 10-win campaign in 2013. Duke is pegged as one of the favorites in the wide-open Coastal division, and David Cutcliffe has performed one of the better rebuilding (maybe in Duke's case - building) jobs in the country. Duke is typically a bottom-feeder, but Cutcliffe has put them in back to back bowl games for the first time in school history. The Devils have the ability to sustain success this season behind the strength of their quarterback, Anthony Boone. The senior QB is one of the better players in the league, and is a physical, dual-threat quarterback. The speedy Josh Snead returns in the backfield after leading Duke in rushing last season. To complete the trifecta, Duke has Jamison Crowder returning after leading Duke in all of the major receiving categories in 2013.
The defense was the big problem in 2013, and that could very well continue into this season. Florida State torched them in the ACC Championship game for 52 points, and they failed top hold down Johnny Football and Texas A&M last year in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, despite a big lead early in the game. And of course, let us not forget the team that scored the most points on the Blue Devils in 2013 - The Pitt Panthers dropped 58 points on them early in the year. Clearly defense is what can hold this team back, and could be the difference in their season.
The Pitt-Duke football game is later in the year, and both teams should have an identity by this point. Part of Pitt's advantage in the ACC is that the cold weather could seemingly bother some of their conference mates to the South. Who knows what kind of weather Pittsburgh will have in store for us on the first of November, but that is something to keep in mind. Duke looks to have a powerful offense, and Pitt has the hopes of having one. Maybe the teams won't combine for 113 points, but it could be another high scoring affair.