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Thursday, June 19, 2014
3-point stance: Talent over experience

By Ivan Maisel

1. Interesting statistic from Phil Steele in his 2014 yearbook: Returning starters are a sign of strength, right? Experience is critical in a sport in which the players have a five-year career span. However, according to Steele, in the last 10 years, only 25 of 82 teams that lost six or fewer starters improved their record. Talent is what talent is, as the last two redshirt freshmen who won the Heisman might attest.

2. Duke doesn’t have quite that much experience, but the Blue Devils do return 15 starters from the school’s first 10-win team in 72 years. Veteran players might not improve a record as much as you think, but Duke’s schedule certainly is dressed for success. The nonconference opponents: Elon, at Troy, Kansas and -- hey, a bowl team! -- Tulane. On the ACC schedule, there’s no Florida State, no Clemson, and no Louisville. That’s not a schedule -- that’s a work of art.

3. NCAA president Mark Emmert will begin his testimony Thursday morning in the O’Bannon antitrust case, and anyone hoping to save some semblance of the current system has to be a little nervous. Emmert is faced with defending a form of amateurism that he is trying to deconstruct even as he defends it. That would be hard for anyone, much less someone who has the shown the ability to immerse himself in hot water when speaking without prepared remarks.