Duke Blue Devils football
Duke Blue Devils NCAA-ACC-Duke Helmet
First season 1895
Athletic director Kevin White
Head coach David Cutcliffe
5th year, 15–33–, (.419) ()
Home stadium Wallace Wade Stadium
Stadium capacity 33,941
Stadium surface Grass
Location Durham, North Carolina
Conference ACC
Division Coastal
All-time history
Template:Duke Blue Devils football history
All-time record 474–493–31, .490 win pct. ()
Postseason bowl record 4–8 ()
Claimed national titles 0
Conference titles 17 (7 ACC, 10 Southern)
Division titles 1 (2013)
Heisman winners 0
Consensus All-Americans 5
Current uniform
Colors Duke Blue and White


Fight song "Fight! Blue Devils, Fight!"
"Blue and White"
Mascot Blue Devil
Marching band Duke Marching Band
Rivals North Carolina
Wake Forest
NC State

The Duke Blue Devils are a member of the NCAA FBS Atlantic Coast Conference, playing their home games at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. The football program has 17 conference championships (7 ACC championships and 10 Southern Conference titles), 53 All-Americans, 10 ACC Players of the Year (the most in the ACC), and have had three Pro Football Hall of Famers come through the program (second in the ACC to only Miami's four).[1] The Blue Devils are currently coached by David Cutcliffe.

Although Duke has mostly struggled since the mid-1960s, the Blue Devils are currently undergoing a renaissance under Cutcliffe. Duke secured their first Coastal division title on November 30, 2013 with a win over arch-rival North Carolina. Additionally, the Blue Devils cracked the top 20 of the BCS standings, the AP Poll, and the Coaches' Poll during the 2013 season and very nearly scored an upset over a potent Texas A&M team in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl, losing by only four points after jumping out to a 38–17 lead at halftime. In 2014, Duke followed up with a 9-win season, including a victory over eventual Orange Bowl winner Georgia Tech, and another close bowl loss to 15th-ranked Arizona State in the Sun Bowl. In 2015, the Blue Devils broke through for a 44-41 overtime win over Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Team historyEdit

In 1930, Wallace Wade shocked the college football world by leaving Alabama for Duke, later rationalizing the move by saying that Duke shared his belief that a school should provide its athletes with a strong academic background. Wade's success at Alabama (three national championships) translated well to Duke's program. The team won 7 Southern Conference championships in the 16 years that Wade was coach. He also led the team to 2 Rose Bowls. Wade's achievements placed him in the College Football Hall of Fame.

The most famous Duke football season came in 1938, when the "Iron Dukes" went unscored upon for the entire regular season. Duke reached their first Rose Bowl appearance, where they lost 7-3 when Southern California scored a touchdown in the final minute of the game on a pass from a second string quarterback to a third string tight end.

Duke would be invited again to make the trip to Pasadena for the 1942 Rose Bowl, this time to play Oregon State in 1942. Due to fears of additional west coast attacks by the Japanese in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the decision was made to move the game to Durham. As Duke's stadium was significantly smaller than the regular venue, bleachers were borrowed from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina, which boosted capacity from 35,000 to 55,000. Despite being 3 to 1 favorites, the Iron Dukes would lose the game 20 to 16.

The football program also proved successful in the 1950s and 1960s, winning six of the first ten ACC football championships from 1953 to 1962 under coach Bill Murray.[2] From 1943 until 1957, the Blue Devils were ranked in the AP Poll at some point in the season.

The football program also had a string of successful years in the late 1980s when the team was coached by Steve Spurrier. Spurrier led the Blue Devils to a share of the ACC title in 1989. The 1989 ACC Title was the last title won by a school in the state of North Carolina until Wake Forest won their second ACC Title in 2006.

The team rose to prominence again in 1994, the first season under coach Fred Goldsmith. The team raced out to an 8-1 record, and was briefly ranked as high as #13 in the country before losing the last two games of the season 24-23 to North Carolina State and 41-40 to arch-rival North Carolina. The 1994 team played in the program's first New Years Day Bowl game since 1962, falling to Wisconsin 34-21 in the Hall Of Fame Bowl, now known as the Outback Bowl.

After 1994, however, Duke's football program continued to decline, with the team lacking a winning season the remainder of Goldsmith's tenure. Goldsmith's teams struggled after that 1994 season, failing to win more than four games in a single season. His 1996 Duke team went 0–11. Goldsmith was fired after the 1998 season with a 17–39 overall record as head coach of the Blue Devils.

From 1999 to 2007, Duke's football win-loss record was at 13–90; from 2000 to 2001 Duke suffered a 22-game losing streak. Carl Franks, a Florida assistant under former Blue Devils head coach Steve Spurrier, was brought in to replace Fred Goldsmith and turn around the Duke football program. He failed to do so. After going 7–45 in four full seasons and part of a fifth, Franks was fired and replaced by his defensive coordinator Ted Roof.

Roof was named interim head coach for the final five games of the 2003 season. The Blue Devils won two of their last three games of the season, and Roof's interim tag was removed and he was named the program's 21st head football coach. Roof's good times did not last, as he also struggled mightily as Duke's head coach, going a dismal 6–45 before his firing after four seasons and the partial fifth he finished for Franks. One positive aspect, however, from Roof's tenure was that Duke defenses consistently ranked in the top 30 in tackles for loss for the first time in years. Roof would go on to win a national championship as Auburn's defensive coordinator in 2010 under head coach Gene Chizik.

Tennessee offensive coordinator and former Ole Miss head coach David Cutcliffe was hired as Duke's 22nd all-time head football coach to lead the Blue Devils football program in late 2007. Cutcliffe had a reputation for being an outstanding offensive mind and quarterbacks coach, as he had helped develop both Peyton and Eli Manning. In 2008, a judge ruled in favor of Duke after they pulled out of a four-game contract with the University of Louisville; the judge stated that it was up to Louisville to find a suitable replacement as, he wrote in the ruling, Duke's lawyers had persuasively argued that any Division I team would be equivalent or better. Duke went 4–8 in 2008 and Duke's 2009 season was a 5–7 campaign, the closest the school had come to bowl eligibility since 1994. Cutcliffe's Duke teams had back-to-back 3-9 seasons in 2010 and 2011. Duke's 2012 team, despite low preseason expectations, after a 33–30 win against rival North Carolina became bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. Extending its season to December 27, 2012, Duke fell to Cincinnati 48–34 in a close contest in the Belk Bowl, finishing the season with a 6–7 record.

Duke's 2013 season was a break-out year for the team, as the Blue Devils have continued to cross off many of their infamous losing streaks. On October 26, 2013, Duke achieved its first win over a ranked team since 1994 with a 13–10 victory over #14 Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA, a rarity for the Duke football program. That win over Virginia Tech was also Duke's first road win over a ranked team since 1971. Following a bye week, on November 9, 2013 the Blue Devils achieved their first winning season since 1994 with a 38–20 home victory over in-state rival NC State, their seventh of the season. Extending its winning streak to 6 straight by defeating #24 Miami 48–30 on November 16, 2013, Duke appeared in the AP Poll for the first time since 1994, listed at #25 with a record of 8–2. With a win at Wake Forest on November 23, 2013, Duke claimed its ninth victory in a regular season for the first time since 1941, the season in which the Blue Devils hosted the Rose Bowl. The win also gave Duke at least a share of the Coastal Division title and a #24 AP Poll ranking. With a 27–25 win over North Carolina on November 30, 2013, Duke locked up their first 10-win season in school history, the Coastal Division title, and a spot in the 2013 ACC Championship Game against Florida State, during which time Duke was ranked #20. David Cutcliffe received the Walter Camp Coach of the Year award in 2013. The Blue Devils were invited to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, where they lost another close, hard-fought game 52–48 to Texas A&M to finish the season with a record of 10–4.

Duke is consistently ranked at or near the top of the list of Division I-A schools which graduate nearly all of their football players. Duke has topped the list 12 years, earning it the most Academic Achievement Awards of any university.[3]

Duke in the PollsEdit

Season Final AP Poll Final Coaches Poll
1936 #11
1937 #20
1938 #3
1939 #8
1940 #18
1941 #2
1943 #7
1944 #11
1945 #13
1947 #19
1952 #16 #18
1953 #18 #18
1954 #14 #14
1955 #16
1956 #20
1957 #16 #14
1960 #10 #11
1961 #20 #14
1962 #14
2013 #23 #22

Since 1962, Duke has only appeared in the polls during 1971, 1989, 1994, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The only time Duke has ever been ranked by the BCS was 2013; it was ranked #24 in the final BCS standings that year. However, Duke had been ranked in the CFP when the CFP Rankings replaced the BCS rankings. They were ranked in the CFP during the very first year the CFP replaced the BCS. They finished the season unranked, but earlier in the 2014 season, they were ranked in the CFP for 3 straight weeks, the first week, they were #24. The second week, they were ranked #22. The third week, they were ranked #21. The fourth week, they dropped from the CFP rankings, because they lost to unranked Virginia Tech.

Duke has never been ranked #1 in the AP or Coaches polls.

Conference affiliationsEdit

Independent (1889–1894, 1920–1929)

Southern Conference (1930–1952)

Atlantic Coast Conference (1953–present) (charter member)

Conference championshipsEdit

Southern Conference: 1933, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1952

Atlantic Coast Conference: 1953*, 1954, 1955*, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1989*

  • co-champions

Bowl gamesEdit

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PANotes
1939 Rose Bowl L Southern California 3 7
1942 Rose Bowl L Oregon State 16 20
1945 Sugar Bowl W Alabama 29 26
1955 Orange Bowl W Nebraska 34 7
1958 Orange Bowl L Oklahoma 21 48
1961 Cotton Bowl Classic W Arkansas 7 6
1989 All American Bowl L Texas Tech 21 49
1995 Hall of Fame Bowl L Wisconsin 20 34
2012 Belk Bowl L Cincinnati 34 48
2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl L Texas A&M 48 52
2014 Sun Bowl L Arizona State 31 36
2015 Pinstripe W Indiana 44 41
MVPs: Shaun Wilson and Thomas Sirk
Total 12 bowl games 4–8


North CarolinaEdit

The Blue Devils traditional all sport rivalry is with the North Carolina Tar Heels and is called the Carolina–Duke rivalry. In football, the teams fight for the Victory Bell each year.

North Carolina claims an all-time lead of 59–37–4, a claim supported by most neutral recordkeepers. Duke claims North Carolina leads 58–38–4. Both schools agree that North Carolina vacated its wins in 2008 and 2009. Both schools also agree that North Carolina leads the series since the introduction of the Victory Bell with a record of 43–22–1, with two vacated North Carolina wins

Wake ForestEdit

Duke maintains a Tobacco Road rivalry with Wake Forest. The series is 54-37-2 in favor of Duke. Duke has lost 12 straight games to Wake Forest dating back to 2000, with their last win coming in 1999.

NC StateEdit

The series with NC State is 40-36-5 in favor of Duke.


Duke maintains a rivalry with Virginia. The series with UVA is tied 33–33.


Outland Trophy

Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award

Southern Conference Coach of the Year

ACC Coach of the Year

ACC Player of the Year

ACC Rookie of the Year

College Football Hall of Fame

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Consensus All-Americans



  1. Colleges - Pro Football Hall of Fame. Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2007. Retrieved on June 12, 2007.
  2. Duke Blue Devils. Retrieved on June 12, 2007.
  3. SMU Receives 2006 AFCA Academic Achievement Award. American Football Coaches Association. 2006.

External LinksEdit

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