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AP Top 25 Poll: Week Two

The Tar Heels enter uncharted territory in this week’s AP poll.

Syracuse v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

With week one of college football complete, the AP poll has been shaken up quite a bit. A lot of that is due to the Big Ten and the Pac-12 opting out of the 2020 season (for now), but there were also a couple of surprises that transpired this past weekend. As far as the Tar Heels are concerned, they managed to win their first game of the season while also being ranked in the AP top 25. When was the last time they were able to accomplish said feat? August 30, 2014 against Liberty when they were ranked No. 23. Needless to say, the program was in desperate need for a change in fortune.

We will of course dive into some more UNC discussion, but first let’s take a look at this week’s top 25.

AP Top 25

  1. Clemson Tigers (60 First Place Votes)
  2. Alabama Crimson Tide
  3. Oklahoma Sooners
  4. Georgia Bulldogs
  5. Florida Gators
  6. LSU Tigers (1)
  7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  8. Auburn Tigers
  9. Texas Longhorns
  10. Texas A&M Aggies
  11. Oklahoma State Cowboys
  12. North Carolina Tar Heels
  13. Cincinnati Bearcats
  14. UCF Golden Knights
  15. Tennessee Volunteers
  16. Memphis Tigers
  17. Miami Hurricanes
  18. Louisville Cardinals
  19. Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
  20. Virginia Tech Hokies
  21. Brigham Young Cougars
  22. Army Black Knights
  23. Kentucky Wildcats
  24. Appalachian State Mountaineers
  25. Pittsburgh Panthers

Where is UNC?

The Tar Heels made a substantial jump after their convincing win against Syracuse, and are now the 12th-best team in the country. Of course I am obligated to remind everyone that this is mostly due to the Big Ten and Pac-12’s absence on this week’s list, but there were only four of those teams ahead of the Heels in the preseason. This means that based off of my questionable math skills the Heels jumped up two spots without any assistance from the absent programs.

Barring anything crazy and/or soul-crushing, the Tar Heels are in great shape to at least stay put in the standings after this weekend. Charlotte isn’t likely to lay down for UNC by any means, but the Heels will be going into the game as heavy favorites after the 49ers got clocked by App State over the weekend 35-20. For those that like to live life dangerously and look ahead of an opponent, UNC hits the road to take on Boston College on October 3rd. We have no idea what to expect since BC has yet to play a game, so we will have to see how they fair against Duke and Texas State before we can properly adjust our expectations.

Biggest Winners

  • Everyone ranked 16-25th this week are the biggest benefactors of this week’s AP poll. This could be the largest amount of unranked teams ever to enter the AP poll in the same week, and it sure does give the season a little dose of chaos. I mean let’s be honest: did any of us expect to see Pitt ranked in the top 25 this early in the season? If you said yes, you are either a liar or should play the lottery as soon as you finish reading this article.
  • As far as previously ranked teams that took sizable jumps, UNC, Cincinnati, UCF, Tennessee, and Texas all made it to higher ground. Now that we see what the true top 25 looks like, we’ll see which of these teams continue to ascend towards the top, and which ones fall from grace in the coming weeks.

Biggest Losers

  • There can only be one true biggest loser in this week’s poll, and it is none other than Iowa State. Sure, the Cyclones only went into week one ranked No. 23, but giving the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns one of their best wins in program history to the tune of 31-14 is downright embarrassing. Perhaps even more embarrassing is the fact that they were shut out of the second half entirely. I don’t know what’s going on in Ames, IA, but they may want to figure things out quickly before their game against TCU next Saturday.

On the Outside Looking In

  • Now that a good amount of the teams that were on the outside looking in are in the top 25, there is a new batch of teams to keep an eye on. Baylor received the highest amount of votes outside of No. 25 despite not yet playing a game. They will open the season this weekend against Houston barring anymore COVID-related shenanigans. West Virginia also received a good amount of votes following their thorough 56-10 beatdown of Eastern Kentucky.
  • In the ACC the most interesting team to keep an eye on is Georgia Tech. They went on the road to Tallahassee and took down Atlantic opponent Florida State to open the season 1-0. It was the first ACC road game that they have won to open the season since 1996, and ironically it was done behind former FSU commit Jeff Sims. He threw for 277 yards and a touchdown to help lead the Yellow Jackets to victory. Things get significantly harder for them this Saturday, however, as they welcome No. 14 UCF to Atlanta.

Conference Breakdown

  • ACC: 7 (Including 2020 only member Notre Dame)
  • American: 3
  • Big 12: 4
  • SEC: 7
  • Sun Belt Conference: 2
  • Independent: 2

Top 25 Matchups This Week

  • Tulsa at No. 11 Oklahoma State (Saturday 12 PM ET on ESPN)
  • Austin Prey at No. 13 Cincinnati (Saturday 12 PM ET on ESPN+)
  • No. 19 Louisiana @ Georgia State (Saturday 12:00 PM ET on ESPN2)
  • Syracuse at No. 25 Pitt (Saturday 12 PM ET on ACC Network)
  • South Florida at No. 7 Notre Dame (Saturday 2:30 PM ET on USA)
  • Charlotte at No. 12 North Carolina (Saturday 3:30 PM ET on ESPN 3)
  • No. 14 UCF at Georgia Tech (Saturday 3:30 PM ET on ABC)
  • The Citadel at No. 1 Clemson (Saturday 4:00pm ET on ACCN)
  • No. 17 Miami at No. 18 Louisville (Saturday 7:30 pm ET on ABC)