The Associated Press has released their preseason top 25 rankings, and the Tar Heels managed to make the cut at No. 21. They are one of three ACC teams to make it into the top 25 alongside Florida State and Clemson.
After last season, the Tar Heels and former offensive coordinator Phil Longo parted ways and Chip Lindsey stepped in to take his place. Despite losing a couple of key offensive weapons, Lindsey will attempt to elevate Drake Maye’s game even further and potentially throw him into the Heisman conversation. On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is doing everything he can to improve a defense that was one of the worst in the country last season in a few key metrics, with sacks being one of the more egregious numbers. Mack Brown is on a mission to find some synergy with this roster, and hopefully lead the team back to the ACC championship game and finally win the whole thing.
With all of this said, it’s hard to say whether 21st in the country feels like a proper ranking for this team. Why? Well, that’s the thing: it’s just really hard to say one way or another. One has to think that Drake Maye being the quarterback is more than enough to earn this ranking, but there were also numerous things that needed to be addressed going into this season, including filling in some key spots on the roster. Also, as I just mentioned, the offensive and defensive coordinators have had so much work to do this spring/summer to get everyone on the same page that we are in “wait and see” mode to see if their efforts will indeed pay off. Finally, WR Tez Walker is such a key part of this new-look offense, and the NCAA may or may not let him play depending on what happens with the appeals process. It’s hard to say for sure if UNC has one of the best teams in the country, but it’s also really hard to say that they don’t, so their position should probably be taken with a grain of salt for now.
What do you think of where UNC landed in the AP top 25? Let us know in the comments below.