By R.L. Bynum
Mack Brown has been saying that his Tar Heels weren’t a top 10 team and, after a frustrating opening-game 17–10 loss Friday at Virginia Tech, it’s official.
North Carolina dropped 14 slots from No. 10 to No. 24 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll released Tuesday. It’s a larger fall than last season when the Tar Heels went from No. 5 to No. 14 after losing 31–28 last October at Florida State. UNC was the only team to fall by double-digit slots.
The Hokies debuted in the poll at No. 19.
UNC fell 13 slots from No. 9 to No. 22 in the coaches poll.
“I don’t like preseason ratings,” Mack Brown said Monday at his weekly press conference. “I’ve said that forever. We weren’t the 10th-best team in the country the way we played Friday night. And it’s funny Virginia Tech gets credit for beating a top-10 team. I don’t think were one. I think we should always wait until the college football playoff ratings come out and then you actually get to see what a team has done based on their merits.”
Now, UNC sets out to prove that it’s better than a No. 24 team.
Brown said that the Heels’ lofty preseason ranking was based on having Sam Howell at quarterback and having a lot of players back on defense.
“But we lost so many outstanding players on offense and we didn’t do a good job of replacing those on Friday night, so that’s still an area that we’ve got to continue to improve,” Brown said. “And I told the guys and the coaches that this game is not fun and not worth playing when you lose. You can learn some hard lessons and you’ve got to learn from losing and improve.”
One of the three North Carolina voters, Ethan Joyce of the Winston-Salem Journal, didn’t put the Tar Heels on his ballot and was the only voter to rank Appalachian State (No. 25). Thirteen other voters also left UNC off of their ballots.
Lauren Brownlow of WRALSportsFan.com voted Carolina No. 21 and Jonas Pope IV of the News & Observer has UNC No. 23.
Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel (No. 16) and Josh Furlong of KSL in Salt Lake City, Utah, (No. 17) ranked the Tar Heels the highest.
Clemson fell from No. 3 to No. 6 and Miami from No. 14 to No. 22.
N.C. State still is unranked but Brownlow was one of two who had the Wolfpack the highest at No. 17. Pope voted State No. 22 and Joyce put the Pack No. 24.
The Tar Heels try to rebound in their home opener at a sold-out Kenan Stadium on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. against Georgia State (regional sports networks). UNC is favored by 25 against the Panthers, who went 6–4 last season, lost their home opener Saturday to Army 43–10.
AP Top 25
|1||Alabama (1-0)||1||1,571 (59)|
|2||Georgia (1-0)||5||1,507 (4)|
|3||Ohio State (1-0)||4||1,437|
|5||Texas A&M (1-0)||6||1,288|
|8||Notre Dame (1-0)||9||1,070|
|9||Iowa State (1-0)||7||1,045|
|11||Penn State (1-0)||19||908|
|17||Coastal Carolina (1-0)||22||384|
|19||Virginia Tech (1-0)||NR||359|
|23||Arizona State (1-0)||25||222|
|24||North Carolina (0-1)||10||198|
Others receiving votes: TCU 80, N.C. State 69, UCF 61, Liberty 57, LSU 57, Michigan 52, Oklahoma State 39, Indiana 37, Michigan State 28, Nevada 23, Kansas State 13, Louisiana 12, BYU 10, Boston College 8, Ball State 7, Maryland 6, Arizona 5, UAB 5, Florida State 4, Kentucky 3, Texas Tech 2, Army 2 and Appalachian State 1
Dropped out: LSU (was 16), Indiana (17), Washington (20) and Louisiana (23)
ACC pool photo