North Carolina has a significant drop in ESPN SP+ rankings

There was no denying the University of North Carolina football program would take a step back after key departures like Drake Maye and Cedric Gray, and according to the ESPN SP+ rankings, it’s looking like a season to forget. 

UNC is currently ranked 58th among 134 eligible schools, a significant drop from the final SP rankings of the 2023-24 season, where the Tar Heels finished 40th. The SP rankings account for a few things, including returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history. 

Florida State (12th) is the highest-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) team on the list, followed by Clemson (16th), Miami (21st), Louisville (24th), SMU (27th), NC State (28th), Virginia Tech (30th), and Duke (48th). 

It’s a bit of a surprise to see some teams ahead of UNC like Duke, who lost their starting quarterback and head coach to other programs. It was pleasant to see the newly acquired ACC SMU ranked high, adding value to a conference seeking respect among its peers. 

Thankfully for the Tar Heels, these projections aren’t a fortune teller, and with the layup schedule they have this year, their rank come January could look very different. 

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire