For Miami, this might have shaped up as one of those trap weeks that coaches loathe. Last-place Duke is on a three-game losing streak and coming to town for a matchup that immediately precedes the annual showdown with Florida State, the Hurricanes' biggest rival.
No matter. There was nary a peep out of the Miami camp about the team from Tallahassee this week.
"The way Duke is playing right now, they have our attention," Miami coach Al Golden said. "So it's going to be quite a challenge for us."
Miami (4-4, 2-3 ACC) plays its next-to-last home game of the season today, hosting the Blue Devils (3-5, 1-3) in the latest installment of a series that isn't as one-sided as it looks. Yes, the Hurricanes are 6-0 against Duke since joining the ACC, but Miami had to scramble for no fewer than four of those wins, either needing second-half rallies or some big plays late to prevail.
The Hurricanes are bracing for more of the same this time around.
"Those days of Duke being a pushover, those days are long gone," Miami linebacker Sean Spence said.
Wake Forest and Virginia Tech would attest to that. Two weeks ago, the Demon Deacons needed a 66-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes to pull out a 24-23 win. Last week, Duke missed three field goals — including ones of 29 and 38 yards — and ended up falling 14-10 to the Hokies.
Duke went to Miami a month ago and scrambled for a 31-27 win over FIU. Coach David Cutcliffe's team is 0-3 since, getting beaten decisively by Florida State before the close calls against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
DUKE AT MIAMI
DUKE AT MIAMI
Today: 3 p.m.
TV: Sun Sports