Duke lacking letter
to graduate Dozen

Aug 22, 2006 3:10 AM

We adore the Dirty Dozen. Truly, the more things change the more they remain the same. Right, Duke?

Coach K works for basketball, but the Blue Devils have had a heck of a time coming up with any of the 25 other letters to fix the football situation. Duke may as well be 0-forever in the ACC. We think the last time the Devils posted a league win the Romans still had their empire.

Best the Romans can hope for here is Caesars Palace, which by the way has no individual odds for winning the national championship. Instead, Duke is stuck among the "field" of have-nots at 25-1, up from 15-1.

As for ”˜over / under’ wins, one would be a good number. Hey, we kid because we care. Imagine a starting quarterback named Zack Asack. No joke.

Oh, about things remaining the same, Duke was the 2000 Dirty Dozen champ when GamingToday first began to publicize college football’s worst teams.

Those who think we’re being cruel, you’re wrong. We love losers — they pay off at the window just as well and often as the elite teams. Our job is to search the roughly 120 Division I haystack to find the 12 needles we can both poke fun at and cash win tickets.

Here is how we ranked the Dozen in preseason 2001, our space odyssey.

Duke, UL-Monroe, Army, UL-Lafayette, Kent, Arkansas St, Navy, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Nevada, Connecticut, Baylor.

We’re happy to report there have been some graduates of the Class of ’01 — Navy, Nevada, UConn, Baylor. As for 2006, get the mustard and relish to help digest this early group of dogs.

12 Syracuse: The Orange peeled down to 1-10 SU and 0-7 in the Big Least. And, they fired Paul Pasqualoni for this? Greg Robinson’s rookie season at the helm was a disaster. Even Jim Brown couldn’t help.

11 Ole Miss: The Johnny Rebs were 1-7 in the SEC under first year coach Ed Orgeron. Worse, they were 1-4 ATS at home. The program still misses Eli Manning and Deuce McAlister. They really need to beat another also-ran Mississippi State.

10 UNLV: It was unfair to judge Mike Sanford off last year when his first season here was working with John Robinson’s failures. Sanford must find a QB that can throw the ball just halfway decent. If so, the Rebels escape this bunch quickly.

9 Purdue: The Boilermakers come off an awful season under Jim Tiller, going 3-7 against the spread. Another school with questions at QB, the sure sign of a losing season. The Big 10 is strong, making 2006 look like another rebuilding episode.

8 Washington: Boy, has this program dropped since Don James ran the show. This was Michigan, Pacific Northwest branch. Solid everywhere and high recruiting marks. Now they’re at the bottom of the Pac 10 looking up.

7 Tulane: The Green Wave add credibility to any Dirty Dozen list. They may be the smartest of the 12. Outside of playing LSU and Auburn, the schedule is actually favorable, with Tulsa, Houston, Rice and Army aboard. But 2-9 qualifies for the Dozen.

6 San Jose St: The Spartans could immediately leave the Dozen with an opening cover at Washington. The No. 8 rated Huskies are an 18-point home favorite. Former Arizona coach Dick Tomey will try to upgrade the program. Good luck.

5 Kent: We sometimes see Kent, others Kent State. Whatever, the Flashes were 1-10 last year and scored just 40 points over the last five games. The lone win was against SE Missouri State. Who?

4 Temple: The Owls have 49 new players and a first year coach Al Golden. Even using the Golden Rule, facing Clemson, Louisville, Navy, Minnesota and Penn State is five losses off the top. Worse, Temple has two wins in the past three years.

3 Buffalo: Four straight-up victories in the last three years with grant you an honorary degree in the Dozen. This is the MAC we’re talking about, not an especially tough league from middle to bottom.

2 Tennessee: The Vols were 2-8 and lost to Vandy! Tennessee does return 13 starters and former offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe. However, Erik Ainge is shaky at QB and the sked is a bear, starting with Cal at home.

1 Duke: You never know if 12 returning starters is a good or bad thing. We do know Duke is outclassed in the ACC, especially since Miami and Florida State joined. USA Today listed Richmond as the key game. That’s the season opener!