Welcome another non-Atlantic Coast Conference college football team to the top five.
The Charlotte 49ers finish fifth in these rankings, ending the regular season on a five-game win streak for a 7-5 record to take into bowl season. Charlotte passes over N.C. State, which couldn’t hang with North Carolina as expected and lost 41-10 in Raleigh on Saturday night for a 4-8 record in its rebuilding season.
The Wolfpack was the best team in the state in 2018. This year it goes to Appalachian State in convincing fashion.
Here are this season’s final Battle for N.C. rankings:
1. Appalachian State
Why No. 1? N.C. State’s down season was affected by its offensive coordinator, Eliah Drinkwitz, leaving last offseason to take over as the head coach in Boone. App. State is entrenched as one of the best non-Power Five programs in the country and backed it up again this year as a Top 25 Sun Belt team with wins at UNC and at South Carolina.
2. Wake Forest
Why No. 2? There were times earlier in the year when it was difficult to decide between App. State and Wake Forest for No. 1, but it didn’t end that way. The Demon Deacons went 1-3 in their final four games, dropping a 39-30 upset at Syracuse on Saturday for a surprise result.
3. North Carolina
Why No. 3? A bowl trip in coach Mack Brown’s return season to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels will hope to continue their rise and be a legitimate threat in the ACC and in this state with recruiting and more rivalry wins.
Why No. 4? Duke finished on a positive note, stopping a five-game losing streak in beating Miami 27-17. It was a feel-good afternoon for the Blue Devils during their rebuilding year that featured highlights of beating the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech.
Why No. 5? Here is the top feel-good story in the North Carolina college football ranks. Charlotte’s five-game win streak includes wins over North Texas and Marshall, and the 49ers are Bahamas Bowl-bound in their fifth year as a Football Bowl Subdivision member.