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UNC rank 22nd in the Associated Press preseason top 25

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Associated Press released their preseason top 25 teams in preparation for the start of the 2016 season in just two weeks. The Tar Heels rank 22nd on the list, their highest spot on the preseason since 2010 when they were considered the 18th-best team in the nation. The poll has UNC as the fourth-best team in the ACC behind Clemson at No. 2 overall, Florida State at No. 4 overall, and Louisville at 19th overall.

This is a program that is going in the right direction. After a season in which they were not ranked to begin the year, Larry Fedora managed to put together a squad that won 11 games and appeared in the ACC Championship. Many of the key players from last season's team will return, and even though quarterback Marquise Williams is gone, the belief is that the offense that dominated last year can be even better with Mitch Trubisky taking over. The defense might be this team's weak spot, but we have seen improvements that could allow them to keep UNC in the game.

Unfortunately, just because you're ranked doesn't mean you'll find success in the season ahead. The Tar Heels have not begun the season in the top 25 and finished the season still on the list since 1997. Things can change from now to the start of the season, to the end of the year. People get hurt, players surprise, and teams click. This list might give us a baseline, but the unexpected can happen too.

UNC will need plenty to go right if they want to build on last season's accomplishments. Mitch Trubisky needs to prove in the team's first few games that he can hack it as the new quarterback. The defense needs to show that they can stop the running game this year, and offensive linchpins like Ryan Switzer, Elijah Hood, and Mack Hollins need to remain healthy. If the team can show that last year wasn't a fluke, they will be able to push their way up the rankings in no time.


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/acc/unc/unc-now/article97104452.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/acc/unc/unc-now/article97104452.html#storylink=c
RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS FIRST PLACE VOTES PREVIOUS RANK
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 0-0 1469 33 1
2 Clemson Tigers 0-0 1443 16 2
3 Oklahoma Sooners 0-0 1352 4 5
4 Florida State Seminoles 0-0 1325 5 14
5 LSU Tigers 0-0 1269 1 16
6 Ohio State Buckeyes 0-0 1224 1 4
7 Michigan Wolverines 0-0 1147 1 12
8 Stanford Cardinal 0-0 1029 0 3
9 Tennessee Volunteers 0-0 1021 0 22
10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 0-0 1006 1 11
11 Ole Miss Rebels 0-0 718 0 10
12 Michigan State Spartans 0-0 710 0 6
13 TCU Horned Frogs 0-0 707 0 7
14 Washington Huskies 0-0 651 0 NR
15 Houston Cougars 0-0 644 0 8
16 UCLA Bruins 0-0 496 0 NR
17 Iowa Hawkeyes 0-0 484 0 9
18 Georgia Bulldogs 0-0 448 0 NR
19 Louisville Cardinals 0-0 447 0 NR
20 USC Trojans 0-0 344 0 NR
21 Oklahoma State Cowboys 0-0 316 0 20
22 North Carolina Tar Heels 0-0 283 0 15
23 Baylor Bears 0-0 280 0 13
24 Oregon Ducks 0-0 218 0 19
25 Florida Gators 0-0 180 0 25
Others Receiving Votes: Miami 159, Texas A&M 81, Utah 74, Washington St. 68, Boise St. 49, San Diego St. 46, Wisconsin 42, Auburn 22, Pittsburgh 15, Arkansas 14, Texas 12, Nebraska 11, Navy 8, Northwestern 5, W. Kentucky 4, South Florida 2, Toledo 2.