Where Should UNC be Ranked?

SportsChannel8 was the first to call Clemson the best team in the country, so we’re firing up the hype machine once again to be the first on the #UNC4CFP bandwagon. Let’s look at the criteria generally used for selection into the top four teams picked to compete for the national championship:

  1. Play in a power conference – check
  2. Have an explosive offense or a dominant defense – check
  3. Have a serviceable offense or defense good enough not to negate step 2 – check
  4. Be undefeated or have your only loss being to an SEC school – check
  5. Be in the SEC – DAMN IT

The Tar Heels are golden until the 5th and final criteria, so the biggest focus for UNC is to look to try to crack the top 6, which would guarantee a berth in the New Years Six bowls, or at least get into the top 12 which would make them eligible for an at-large bid (the ACC is not guaranteed a NY6 spot outside of the conference champion as the Orange Bowl is a playoff site this season).

Undefeated Teams:

Clemson, Baylor, Houston, OK State, Ohio State, and Iowa.

UNC will play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game – barring a situation where Miami wins the head-to-head tie breaker with the Heels, and NC State wins the end-of-season rivalry game putting the Hurricanes into the championship game by virtue of the touchdown that shouldn’t have counted against Duke that amused so many Tar Heel fans when it happened. That possibility being out there is completely terrifying, but moving on …

Iowa and Ohio State will likely play in the Big Ten Championship Game which would give an opportunity to move above one of the undefeated teams down the road, but not now. Each of these teams will be ranked ahead of UNC, except for Houston who we predict the Heels will pass.

One-Loss Teams:

Utah, Oklahoma, TCU, North Carolina, Temple, Notre Dame, Florida, Stanford, Michigan State, Alabama, and Memphis.

Utah, Stanford, Notre Dame, Florida, and Alabama will all be ranked ahead of UNC this week. TCU and Michigan State should and will move down for losing this weekend. Memphis will disappear completely after losing to Navy. That leaves Temple and Oklahoma as UNC’s main competition for this one-loss tier.

UNC: Loss vs. South Carolina in Week 1, best win 66-31 vs. 6-3 Duke

Oklahoma: Loss vs. Texas in Week 5, best win 31-24 vs. 5-4 Tennessee

Temple: Loss vs. Notre Dame in Week 9, best win 27-10 vs. 7-3 Penn State

Added note – UNC has the benefit of playing in a better conference, and a 2nd quality win vs. Pitt. Temple was ranked 21st in the CFP Poll last week.

Two-Loss Teams (who sort of matter):

Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, App State, Florida State, Mississippi State

Not seeing anything here better than what UNC has put together so far. 6-2 Michigan was 17th in the CFP Poll last week, Mississippi State was 20th.

Expected Rankings

Five of the six undefeated teams, and five of the 11 one-loss teams will without a doubt be ranked ahead of UNC on Tuesday. The Tar Heels should expect to be no lower than 13th in the CFP poll this week. What does this mean for North Carolina’s post-season hopes? We discuss here.