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There aren’t many defensive players who could change the face of a conference race if injured, but Duke’s Kelby Brown -- the linebacker lost for the season with a torn ACL on Monday -- is one of them.

A year after North Carolina wide receiver Quinshad Davis didn’t quite hit the 100-catch mark coach Larry Fedora set for him, his goals are a little less defined and maybe a little more achievable this season.

With a surfeit of big names on NC State’s roster, “Meet the Pack” day was really about meeting the Wolfpack, which is counting on new names to emerge this season.

Thursday's vote to allow the ACC and four other power conferences the autonomy to make their own rules is yet another chip away at the NCAA's feudal system of college athletics.

Despite returning 15 starters from a team that won the ACC’s Coastal Division, and despite a relatively soft schedule, Duke wasn’t picked to win the division (Miami was) and wasn’t in the preseason Top 25 (North Carolina was). The snubs are nothing new for the Blue Devils, who are planning to earn that respect all over again.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford had plenty to smile about in Greensboro last weekend: In the space of a year, the future of the ACC was safely secured – along with a national championship in football.

N.C. State coach Dave Doeren has said repeatedly that quarterback play was the Wolfpack’s biggest issue during his 3-9 debut season. Brissett, a versatile Florida transfer, is expected to fix that.

As the ACC weighs the pros and cons of starting a sports TV network, the decision is more complicated -- and farther away -- than it may appear.

It seems like just yesterday Johnny Football was dashing Duke’s dreams, North Carolina was swaggering into the postseason after staggering through the first half of the season and N.C. State played perhaps the most forgettable season in living memory. Oh, and Florida State won a national title.

As the Triple-A All-Star Game visits Durham, it’s the host city that shines brightest. For decades, it has been the ultimate expression of minor-league baseball, for good and bad.

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Luke has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
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