Appalachian St Charlotte Football-1

Appalachian State defensive back Shaun Jolly (3) celebrates with teammates inside linebacker Jordan Fehr (59) and outside linebacker Noel Cook (20) after making an interception over Charlotte wide receiver Victor Tucker (9) in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Boone, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 Appalachian State won, 56-41. (Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP)

North Carolina: The Sun Belt State?

It is Appalachian State, which plays in the Sun Belt Conference and already has wins this season against North Carolina and Charlotte, that takes over as the best college football team in the state over traditional Atlantic Coast Conference members. ASU is 5-0 and has a shot at an undefeated season that also would include road wins against South Carolina and Troy in November.

Wake Forest was No. 1, but its undefeated run came to an end when it gave up 62 points in a 62-59 loss to Louisville.

Here are the updated rankings:

1. Appalachian State

Record: 5-0.

Why No. 1? The Mountaineers could be here to stay. ASU's latest victory was not flashy, but it was a quality result in winning 17-7 at Louisiana in a rematch of the 2018 Sun Belt championship game.

2. Wake Forest

Record: 5-1.

Why No. 2? Here's how to throw more love to App. State -- Louisville's high-scoring victory over Wake was a signature win for Scott Satterfield in his first season at Louisville. Satterfield used to be the coach for the Mountaineers, averaging 10 wins per season from 2015-18.

3. Duke

Record: 4-2.

Why No. 3? Duke, Virginia and North Carolina are tied for the ACC Coastal lead, and what stands out about the Blue Devils is that they are one of four ACC teams that has scored more than 200 points this year. This will sort itself out, as Duke's next two games are timely against Virginia and UNC.

4. North Carolina

Record: 3-3.

Why No. 4? UNC can't erase losses to Wake Forest and Appalachian State that have already happened, but the Tar Heels' first bye week came at a good time. They can gain another quality win by beating Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., before hosting Duke. That also could be a costly winless couple of weeks.

5. N.C. State

Record: 4-2.

Why No. 5? The Wolfpack took advantage of the Thursday night ESPN spotlight, using relentless defense and eight sacks to control the night against Syracuse in Raleigh. UNC still has a better resume to this point, but NCSU gained valuable ground and lessened the gap.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.