By R.L. Bynum
Some wondered when North Carolina entered the top 10 in the Associated Press poll last week if the Tar Heels’ rank was a little high. After an impressive victory over Virginia Tech, there are fewer skeptics and more poll voters are taking notice.
UNC jumped three spots and is No. 5 in the latest AP poll released on Sunday after a 56–45 home victory Saturday over the Hokies, who fell two slots to No. 21. The Tar Heels have won their last six games, the longest streak since winning 11 in a row in 2015.
That’s the highest rank in the AP poll since UNC was No. 5 on Oct. 30 and Nov. 8 in 1997, the final season of Coach Mack Brown’s first coaching stint in Chapel Hill.
“It’s fun. It’s good for recruiting it’s good for our fans to do have some bragging rights and we haven’t been rated for a long time,” Brown said Monday. “Really, I’ve always told the players until the college football playoff polls come out probably be in November this year that that’s the first time I even look at the polls.”
The ACC has three teams in the top 5 for the first time in league history with No. 1 Clemson, No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 5 North Carolina.
Brown likes being in the top 10 “neighborhood” and earning their right to be there.
“We talked to the guys about how we need to buy a house in this neighborhood,” Brown said. “We haven’t been here much. We’ve been visiting the first couple of weeks in the top 10. But that’s like we want to be. But have we earned it yet? And that’s what we talked to them about each week.”
Two teams ahead of the Tar Heels in last week’s poll lost: Miami (was No. 7 and now No. 13 after a road loss to No. 1 Clemson) and Florida (No. 4 last week but now No. 10 after a 41-38 loss to Texas A&M).
Half the teams ahead of UNC in this week’s poll play each other with No. 3 Georgia visiting No. 2 Alabama. No. 1 Clemson plays at Georgia Tech and No. 4 Notre Dame is at home against Louisville.
All of the North Carolina voters in the panel put UNC in their top 10: Conor O’Neill, a correspondent for The News & Observer, had the Tar Heels No. 9, Jonas Pope IV of The N&O voted UNC No. 5 and Lauren Brownlow of WRALSportsfan.com put UNC at No. 8.
Voting UNC the highest at No. 4 was Brooks Kubena of The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La. Voting the Tar Heels the lowest at No. 12 were Nate Mink of the Syracuse Media Group and Theo Lawson of the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash.
LSU became the first reigning national champion to fall out of the poll in nine years.
The Tar Heels are early 10-point favorites at Florida State on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a game to be televised by ABC.
Associated Press Top 25
|1||Clemson (4-0)||1||ACC||1,546 (59)|
|2||Alabama (3-0)||2||SEC||1,463 (2)|
|3||Georgia (3-0)||3||SEC||1,430 (1)|
|4||Notre Dame (3-0)||5||ACC||1,317|
|5||North Carolina (3-0)||8||ACC||1,190|
|6||Ohio State (0-0)||6||Big Ten||1,152|
|7||Oklahoma State (3-0)||10||Big 12||1,069|
|8||Cincinnati (3-0)||11||American Athletic||971|
|9||Penn State (0-0)||9||Big Ten||970|
|11||Texas A&M (2-1)||21||SEC||883|
|15||Brigham Young (4-0)||15||IA Independents||693|
|16||Wisconsin (0-0)||16||Big Ten||633|
|17||SMU (4-0)||18||American Athletic||522|
|19||Michigan (0-0)||20||Big Ten||417|
|20||Iowa State (3-1)||24||Big 12||405|
|21||Louisiana-Lafayette (3-0)||23||Sun Belt||342|
|22||Kansas State (3-1)||Big 12||302|
|23||Virginia Tech (2-1)||19||ACC||199|
|24||Minnesota (0-0)||25||Big Ten||177|
Others receiving votes:Marshall 106, North Carolina State 87, Oklahoma 71, Tulsa 62, UCF 57, Boston College 43, Coastal Carolina 38, UAB 29, Utah 29, Iowa 28, West Virginia 25, Army 21, Memphis 12, Air Force 12, Ole Miss 6, Arizona State 6, Texas 5, Houston 5, LSU 5, Washington 4, Missouri 2, TCU 2, Virginia 2, Louisiana Tech 2, Indiana 1.
Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first place votes.
ACC teams in bold.
Pool photos by Robert Willett