Three questions for Duke

August, 4, 2008
8/04/08
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

1. How will progress be measured in David Cutcliffe's first season?

In part by wins and improved physical conditioning -- lasting for four quarters -- but also in many intangible ways only those within the program will see. Their confidence must grow, and that will only come with winning games.

2. How productive can the combo of quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and receiver Eron Riley be?

This tandem can be one of the best in the ACC. In fact, they have been, but their accomplishments have been overshadowed by the program's laughable results in the win column. Lewis is in his third season and already ranks among the program's passing leaders with 4,564 yards and 32 passing touchdowns (three more than Clemson's Cullen Harper). Plus, this season he's under the direction of a coach who earned his reputation in part by coaching 2003 SEC Player of the Year Eli Manning while at Mississippi. Riley has led the ACC in yards per reception in each of the past two seasons.

3. How many games can Duke win this year?

They've got the talent and the schedule to win three, the only question is if they have the right mindset. The Blue Devils start with James Madison and follow with Northwestern, a team they beat a year ago for their lone victory of the season and will face the Wildcats at home on Sept. 6. Considering their first four games are at home, Duke has a chance to make its statement early.

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