UNC jumps to No. 12 in AP poll, thanks to Big Ten, Pac-12 teams

Pool photo by Robert Willett

By R.L. Bynum

In the strange world of 2020, North Carolina jumped six slots Sunday in the latest Associated Press college football poll. The rise has nothing to do with the Tar Heels’ performance in a 31-6 opening-game victory Saturday over Syracuse.

UNC, which was ranked No. 18 in the preseason poll, is No. 12 in the latest poll, thanks to six teams ahead of them that exited the poll because they aren’t playing (as of the moment) in 2020.

It’s the highest ranking for UNC since the Tar Heels were No. 10 after the 2015 regular season. In December of that season, Carolina was No. 8 before losing to Clemson in the ACC championship game.

The reality is that the Tar Heels’ rise is because of the six teams no longer in the poll.

The teams that were ahead of UNC in the preseason poll exited not because they lost but because they aren’t playing. The AP instructed poll voters to consider every school eligible for their preseason ballots regardless of whether they planned to play in 2020.

That meant that six schools ahead of Carolina in the preseason poll, all in either the Big Ten or the Pac-12, are now out of the poll: Ohio State (previously No. 2), Penn State (No. 7), Oregon (No. 9), Wisconsin (No. 12), Michigan (No. 16) and Southern Cal (No. 17).

The Tar Heels (1-0) face Charlotte (0-1) at 3:30 Saturday at Kenan Stadium in a game that regional sports networks will air. UNC is an early 28-point favorite.

AP college football poll

1Clemson (1-0)11,524 (60)
2Alabama (0-0)31,456
3Oklahoma (1-0)41,361
4Georgia (0-0)51,324
5Florida (0-0)81,237
6LSU (0-0)61,236 (1)
7Notre Dame (1-0)101,155
8Auburn (0-0)111,055
9Texas (1-0)141,033
10Texas A&M (0-0)13983
11Oklahoma State (0-0)15927
12North Carolina (1-0)18892
13Cincinnati (0-0)20647
14UCF (0-0)21632
15Tennessee (0-0)24528
16Memphis (1-0)495
17Miami (FL) (1-0)463
18Louisville (1-0)387
19Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0)377
20Virginia Tech (0-0)368
21Brigham Young (1-0)357
22Army (2-0)243
23Kentucky (0-0)238
24Appalachian State (1-0)237
25Pittsburgh (1-0)157

Others receiving votes: Baylor 146, West Virginia 81, Georgia Tech 69, TCU 49, Virginia 39, Arkansas State 33, SMU 32, Iowa State 14, Mississippi State 14, Boise State 6, South Florida 6, Ole Miss 5, Texas Tech 5, UAB 4, Missouri 3, Air Force 2, Florida State 2, Marshall 2, Houston 1.

Pool photo by Robert Willett

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