By R.L. Bynum
It was the kind of talent and potential on display in North Carolina’s impressive 59–39 home victory Saturday night over Virginia that put the Tar Heels No. 10 in the preseason AP football poll.
A pair of victories since the opening-game loss to again unranked Virginia Tech that plummeted UNC near the bottom of the poll has not restored the respect of poll voters. The win by the Tar Heels (2–1, 1–1 ACC) over the Cavaliers did not impress them.
UNC stayed at No. 21 in the AP poll and fell one spot to No. 20 in the coaches poll.
The Carolina win wasn’t as big in the minds of voters, though, as victories by Arkansas (went from No. 20 to No. 16 after a 45–10 win over Georgia Southern) and Michigan (went from No. 25 to No. 19 after a 63–10 win over Northern Illinois)
Falling below UNC after losses were UCLA (was No. 13 now No. 24 after a 40–37 home loss to Fresno State), Virginia Tech (No. 15 but now unranked after a 27–21 loss at West Virginia) and Arizona State (No. 19 but now unranked after a 27–17 loss to then-No. 23 BYU.)
Ranking Carolina the highest at No. 13 was Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald. Eleven voters, including Rece Davis of ESPN, left the Tar Heels off of their ballots.
Jonas Pope of The News & Observer ranked UNC No. 19, Lauren Brownlow of WRALSportsFan.com put the Heels at No. 20 and Ethan Joyce of the Winston-Salem Journal put Carolina at No. 22.
Clemson (2–1, 1-0), the only other ACC team in the AP poll, fell from No. 6 to No. 9 after escaping an upset bid in beating Georgia Tech (1–2, 0-1), the Tar Heels’ opponent on Saturday.
The Tar Heels head to Atlanta for the 7:30 p.m. game against the Yellow Jackets (ACC Network) in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons.
AP Top 25
Others receiving votes: TCU 91, Liberty 56, Virginia Tech 52, Oklahoma State 51, Maryland 29, Arizona State 24, Texas 22, USC 16, San Diego State 16, West Virginia 14, LSU 14, Kentucky 12, Boston College 9, Wake Forest 7, Texas Tech 5, Stanford 3, Memphis 3, Louisville 1, Wyoming 1