Duke faces a formidable schedule in the weeks ahead. Virginia Tech (3-3, 1-1) will offer the toughest test to date for Duke, which is 0-8 against the Hokies since they joined the A.C.C.
Virginia Tech, however, is as vulnerable defensively as it has been in years, and Duke has scored 30 points or more five times.
“I think this game will really say a lot about us,” running back Juwan Thompson said. “But we’re still a good team no matter the results of this game. We still have plenty of games left. And all of these teams that we’re going to play — yes, they are great opponents — but they’re beatable opponents, as we’ve seen from Florida State losing to N.C. State.
“I mean, everyone is beatable. There’s no great team out there.”
No one would put that tag on Duke yet, either. But the Blue Devils did earn some top 25 votes this week.
“It’s a big deal,” Cockrell said. “Obviously to be a top-25 ranked team, to be considered to be one when we’ve been at the very bottom of the rankings since I can remember, it’s great to be at least considered and to be thought about.”
Duke has not been ranked since January 1995, before a loss to Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Bowl, its last bowl game.
A victory against the Hokies could change that, and bring some football pride to a campus forever devoted to basketball.
“There’s no reason,” Cockrell said, “why it can’t be a basketball and a football school.”