Tar Heels rise to No. 8 in AP football poll

By R.L. Bynum

North Carolina’s 26-22 victory over Boston College may not have been overly impressive, but it was enough to move the Tar Heels up four spots to No. 8 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday afternoon.

It’s the first time in the top 10 since UNC (2-0), which was No. 12 last week, was No. 10 heading into the 2015 bowl loss to Baylor. It’s the Tar Heels’ highest ranking since it was No. 8 before their loss to Clemson in the 2015 ACC championship game.

Carolina is part of history since this is the first week in poll history that four ACC teams have made AP’s top 10. Clemson remained at No. 1, Notre Dame is No. 5 and Miami is No. 7.

In the coaches poll, the Tar Heels are No. 9.

Three teams ahead of Carolina in last week’s poll lost: Auburn (No. 7 last week but No. 13 this week; the Tigers got blown out by No. 4 Georgia), Texas (No. 9 last week but No. 22 this week; the Longhorns fell 33-31 to TCU) and Central Florida (No. 11 last week but unranked this week after a 34-26 defeat against Tulsa). The team that was just behind UNC in last week’s poll also lost: Texas A&M (No. 13 last week but No. 21 this week after getting throttled by No. 2 Alabama 52-24).

Carolina is likely to fall as more AP voters start including Big Ten and Pac-12 teams in the coming weeks.

Ranking the Tar Heels the highest at No. 7 were Tom Green of the Alabama Media Group, Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman and Brooks Kubena of The Advocate. Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star ranked UNC the lowest at No. 25 and was the only voter ranking the Tar Heels lower than No. 15.

Two of the three North Carolina media members voting in the poll had UNC in the top 10: Conor O’Neill, the former Winston-Salem Journal writer now working as a correspondent for McClatchy’s North Carolina newspapers, put UNC No. 10 and Jonas Pope IV of The N&O voted Carolina No. 9. Lauren Brownlow of WRAL Sports Fan voted UNC No. 11.

At noon on Saturday at Kenan Stadium, UNC faces Virginia Tech (2-0). The Hokies debuted in the poll at No. 19.

AP Top 25

1Clemson (3-0)1ACC1,536 (52)
2Alabama (2-0)2SEC1,488 (8)
3Georgia (2-0)4SEC1,380
4Florida (2-0)3SEC1,340
5Notre Dame (2-0)5ACC1,239
6Ohio State (0-0)6Big Ten1,165 (2)
7Miami (3-0)8ACC1,148
8North Carolina (2-0)12ACC944
9Penn State (0-0)10Big Ten935
10Oklahoma State (3-0)17Big 12919
11Cincinnati (3-0)15American Athletic895
12Oregon (0-0)14Pac-12786
13Auburn (1-1)7SEC731
14Tennessee (2-0)21SEC717
15Brigham Young (3-0)22IA Independents661
16Wisconsin (0-0)19Big Ten619
17LSU (1-1)20SEC478
18SMU (4-0)American Athletic393
19Virginia Tech (2-0)ACC391
20Michigan (0-0)23Big Ten350
21Texas A&M (1-1)13SEC330
22Texas (2-1)9Big 12228
23Louisiana-Lafayette (3-0)Sun Belt216
24Iowa State (2-1)Big 12215
25Minnesota (0-0)Big Ten145

Others receiving votes: Kansas State 142, USC 115, Mississippi State 112, UCF 112, TCU 97, Marshall 49, Tulsa 46, Utah 30, Iowa 26, Coastal Carolina 25, Oklahoma 20, North Carolina State 18, Ole Miss 18, UAB 15, Army 14, West Virginia 13, Memphis 12, Arkansas 11, Pittsburgh 7, Virginia 5, Arizona State 5, Washington 4, Air Force 4, Indiana 1.

Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first place votes.

ACC teams in bold.

Pool photo by John Quackenbos/Boston College Athletics

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