On August 3, 2007, the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll for college football was released for that year. That date, five years ago today, was the last time Duke received a vote in the highly regarded poll.
In each preseason coaches poll in 2005, 2006 and 2007, Duke received a lone 25th-place vote. Did somebody believe Duke would actually be good enough to warrant a vote? Not quite–in those three seasons, Duke collected a 2-33 record under head coach Ted Roof.
But former Blue Devil head coach Steve Spurrier, who became the South Carolina head coach in 2005, always insisted on giving his former team a vote. As Duke’s head coach from 1987-1989 he led the team to its first bowl game since 1961 and a tie for the ACC title, a banner they have not earned since.
Here is a snippet from a 2007 USA Today article:
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier again gave a 25th-place vote to Duke in the preseason USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Devils, for whom Spurrier was head coach in the late 1980s and an assistant in the early ’80s, bring a 20-game losing streak into 2007.
Spurrier annually gives his final spot, worth one point, to the Blue Devils and stays with them until they lose. While all but the final regular-season vote is kept confidential, Spurrier historically has acknowledged he votes for Duke.
“They hired me twice when I had no job,” he said Thursday through spokesman Steve Fink.
Said Jim Welch, USA TODAY deputy managing editor for sports: “It’s clear that what once might have seemed quaint has begun to lose its charm. We’re hopeful that before next season the coaches association can prevail upon Coach Spurrier to find another way to salute his former team — or that Duke gets better in a hurry.”
Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, whose members vote in the poll, said Thursday that he plans to discuss the vote with Spurrier.
Since people have insisted on coaches taking the vote more seriously, Duke has not received a vote since 2007.
While the Blue Devils came up empty in this year’s coaches poll, a number of Duke’s opponents received recognition.
The highest-ranked opponent on the schedule, according to the coaches poll, is No. 7 Florida State, who the Blue Devils play on the road Oct. 27. No. 14 Clemson, No. 18 Stanford and No. 20 Virginia Tech also made their way into the top 25.
Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Virginia and Duke’s first opponent of the season, Florida International, all received votes, though did not make it into the top 25.
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