Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 4:00 pm
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Luck, Stanford OL highlight All-Bowl Team

We made it.

After more than four months of college football and 100s of games, the season has finally come to an end. And after watching 35 bowl games over a three-week period (raise your hand if you saw at least part of every bowl game), it's time to remember some of the great individual performances of the past month.

Here are the best in this year's All-Bowl Team:

QB: Andrew Luck, Stanford, Orange Bowl: He had a tremendous performance against Virginia Tech, throwing for 287 yards with four touchdowns, including three in the second half to blow open a 14-13 game at halftime. Luck almost had the perfect game, completing 18 of 23 passes. Luck is joined by a few others on this team that helped him have such a special game.

RB: Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State, Poinsettia Bowl: The freshman ran for 228 yards on 28 carries to lead the Aztecs to their first bowl victory since 1969. Hillman had four touchdowns, scoring on runs of 1, 22 and 37 yards, while also catching a 15-yard touchdown reception.

RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa, Insight Bowl: The freshman was filling in for suspended starter Adam Robinson and ran for 219 yards on 33 carries with two touchdowns in the victory over Missouri in the Insight Bowl. Coker scored on runs of 1 and 62 yards.

WR: Marcus Sales, Syracuse, Pinstripe Bowl: The junior had a career game, catching five passes for 172 yards with three touchdowns. He scored on catches of 52, 36 and 44 yards as Syracuse holds on to beat Kansas State 36-34.

WR: Terrence Toliver, LSU, Cotton Bowl: Jordan Jefferson threw for only 158 yards, but 112 of it came at the hands of Toliver. The wide receiver also had three touchdowns, scoring on passes of 42, 2 and 41 yards in the win over Texas A&M.

TE: Coby Fleener, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The backup tight end had a career game against Virginia Tech, catching six passes for 173 yards with three second-half touchdowns.

OL: (tie) Drew Schaefer, Colin Porter, Cody Habben, Senio Kelemete and Ryan Tolar, Washington, Holiday Bowl and Chase Beeler, Dave DeCastro, Derek Hall, Jonathan Martin and Andrew Phillips, Stanford, Orange Bowl: This was too close to call. Washington's offensive line racked up 268 yards rushing against Nebraska's great run defense, including Chris Polk's 177 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Stanford had its way with Virginia Tech's defensive line, opening up huge holes for the running game and giving Luck time to throw.

Defense

DL: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State, Sugar Bowl: Heyward had a strong performance against Arkansas, recording six tackles with two sacks and forcing a fumble in the win over Arkansas.

DL: Nick Fairley, Auburn, BCS National Championship: In one of the biggest performances of the bowl season, Fairley shut down the Oregon running game, while recording five tackles, three for a loss and forcing a fumble.

DL: Bruce Miller, UCF, Liberty Bowl: The senior went out with a bang, recording eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, helping the Knights hold Georgia to just six points in the Liberty Bowl.

DL: Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois, Humanitarian: Coffman had a game for the ages, recording six tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and forcing a fumble in the 40-17 against Fresno State.

LB: Shayne Skov, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The sophomore was all over the field against Virginia Tech, recording 12 tackles, three sacks and four tackles for a loss.

LB: Curnelius Arnick, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Arnick had a great game against the high-powered Hawaai offense, recording 10 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Arnick returned one of his INTs 54 yards for a touchdown in the 62-35 win.

LB: Tank Carder, TCU, Rose Bowl: The stat line might not be the best -- six tackles, three for a loss, but Carder made one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, knocking down a two-point conversion to preserve the Horned Frogs' 21-19 victory over Wisconsin.

DB: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Cotton Bowl: The freshman was all over the place against Texas A&M, recording seven tackles, forcing two fumbles, recording a sack and an interception late in the game.

DB: Ahmad Black, Florida, Outback Bowl: Black had a great game for the Gators, recording six tackles and two interceptions. His returned his second INT 80 yards for a touchdown to clinch a 37-24 victory over Penn State.

DB: Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, Sun Bowl: Smith was getting more wide open than the Hurricanes receivers, recording three interceptions to go along with seven tackles.

DB: Micah Hyde, Iowa, Insight Bowl: Hyde had one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, interception Blaine Gabbert late in the fourth quarter and returning it 72 yards for a touchdown to give Iowa a 27-24 victory. Hyde also added six tackles.

P: Dylan Breeding, Arkansas, Sugar Bowl and Brad Langley, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (tie): These two had almost identical games. Breeding had seven punts for 43.7-yard average with four punts inside the 20-yard line. He had two punts in the fourth quarter downed at the 4-yard line to help keep Arkansas in the game. Langley had seven punts, 43.4-yard average with five punts inside the 20. His last punt was knocked down at the 10-yard line with 3:06 to go.

K: Casey Barth, North Carolina, Music City Bowl: Barth not only finished the game 3-for-3 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points, but he hit a 39-yarder as time expired to send the game into overtime and then hit a 23-yarder in OT to beat Tennessee.

KR: T.Y. Hilton, FIU, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Never mind that Hilton had the biggest play in FIU's history, converting a 4th-and-17 with the hook and lateral play. He makes this squad for his 34.8-yard average on five kick returns, including a 89-yard touchdown in the third quarter to get the FIU rally going. The Golden Panthers would eventually win 34-32.

PR: Rishard Matthews, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: It was quiet for punt returners during the bowl season, but Matthews returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown to give Nevada a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

All-Purpose: Damaris Johnson, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Johnson had a career-high 326 all-purpose yards to break the NCAA career record in the win over Hawaii. Johnson finished with 98 yards rushing, 101 yards receiving, 109 on kick returns and 18 on punt returns. He also scored on a 67-yard run and a 9-yard reception.

Miss a bowl game? Recap all 35 games with the CBSSports.com individual bowl pages.

Posted on: June 21, 2010 3:17 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2010 3:38 pm
 

Huskers' Crick headlines Outland, Nagurski Lists

Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick is one of six players named to both the Outland and Nagurski Preseason Watch Lists for the upcoming season.

Jared CrickThe Outland Trophy goes to the nation's best interior lineman, while the Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually to the nation's best defensive player.

Crick, who was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, is joined by DTs Sam Acho, Texas; Marvin Austin, North Carolina; Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson; Stephen Paea, Oregon State and Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss.

Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who missed all of 2009 battling overcoming Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, also made the Nagurski Watch List. The former All-American looks to return to the field for his senior season.

North Carolina placed four players on the Nagurski list, including Austin, LBs Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant and DE Robert Quinn. Alabama has three players -- S Mark Barron, DE Marcell Dareus and LB Dont'a Hightower.

Ohio State and Oklahoma placed three players on the Outland list, the most of any school. Guards Justin Boren, Bryant Browning and center Mike Brewster represent Ohio State, while Oklahoma placed offensive tackled Cory Brandon, center Ben Habern and DT Adrian Taylor on the list.

The Nagurski Trophy will be on Dec. 6, while the Outland Trophy will be announced Dec. 9.

Nagurski Watch List

Sam Acho, Texas, DT; Prince Amukamara, Nebraska, CB; Marvin Austin, North Carolina, DT; Akeem Ayers, UCLA, LB; Allen Bailey, Miami, DE; Mark Barron, Alabama, S; Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma, DE; Nick Bellore, Central Michigan, LB; Chris Borland, Wisconsin, LB; Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson, DE; Curtis Brown, Texas, CB; Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State, LB; Tank Carder, TCU, LB; Bruce Carter, North Carolina, LB; Adrian Clayborn, Iowa, DE; Jared Crick, Nebraska, DT; Marcell Dareus, Alabama, DE; Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB; Brian Duncan, Texas Tech, LB; Chris Galippo, USC, LB; Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, CB; Brandon Harris, Miami, CB; Mario Harvey, Marshall, LB; Mark Herzlich, Boston College, LB; Cameron Heyward, Ohio State, DE; Dont'a Hightower, Alabama, LB; Ross Homan, Ohio State, LB; Justin Houston, Georgia, LB; Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT; Janoris Jenkins, Florida, CB; Tejay Johnson, TCU, S; Greg Jones, Michigan State, LB; Aaron Williams, Texas, CB; Thomas Keiser, Stanford, LB; Noah Keller, Ohio, LB; Shiloh Keo, Idaho, S; Ryan Winterswyk, Boise State, DE; Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue, DE; Luke Kuechly, Boston College, LB; Mark LeGree, Appalachian State, S; Travis Lewis, Oklahoma, LB; Chris Marve, Vanderbilt, LB; Cliff Matthews, South Carolina, DE; DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson, S; Marcus McGraw, Houston, LB; Josh McNary, Army, DE; Carmen Messina, New Mexico, LB; Von Miller, Texas A&M, LB; Bruce Miller, UCF, DE; Dontay Moch, Nevada, DE; Mike Mohamed, California, LB; Rahim Moore, UCLA, S; Stephen Paea, Oregon State, DT; Patrick Peterson, LSU, CB; Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss, DT; Robert Quinn, North Carolina, DE; Adrian Robinson, Temple, DE; Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh, DE; Kenny Rowe, Oregon, DE; Robert Sands, West Virginia, S; Tyler Sash, Iowa, S; J.K. Schaffer, Cincinnati, LB; Kelvin Sheppard, LSU, LB; Aldon Smith, Missouri, DE; Craig Stevens, Auburn, LB; Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina, LB; Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB; J.T. Thomas, West Virginia, LB; Trevin Wade, Arizona, CB; J.J. Watt, Wisconsin, DE; Korey Williams, Southern Miss, LB; Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut, LB; Anthony Wright, Air Force, CB; Alex Wujciak, Maryland, LB.

Outland Trophy Watch List

Sam Acho, Texas, DT; Marvin Austin, North Carolina, DT; Tim Barnes, Missouri, C; Colin Baxter, Arizona, C; Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech, C; Chase Beeler, Stanford, C; Clint Boling, Georgia, T; Justin Boren, Ohio State, G; Cory Brandon, Oklahoma, T; Mike Brewster, Ohio State, C; Bryant Browning, Ohio State, G; Marcus Cannon, TCU, T; Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin, T; James Carpenter, Alabama, T; Jurrell Casey, USC, DT; Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, T; Thomas Claiborne, Boston College, G; Jared Crick, Nebraska, DT; Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, T; Art Forst, Rutgers, G; Marcus Forston, Miami, DT; Orlando Franklin, Miami, T; Anthony Gray, Southern Miss, DT; Lawrence Guy, Arizona State, DT; Ben Habern, Oklahoma, C; Kyle Hix, Texas, T; Rodney Hudson, Florida State, G; Omar Hunter, Florida, DT; Rod Huntley, UTEP, G; Zach Hurd, Connecticut, G; Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova, T; Andrew Jackson, Fresno State, G; Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson, DT; Carl Johnson, Florida, G; Barrett Jones, Alabama, G; Ben Jones, Georgia, C; Jake Kirkpatrick, TCU, C; Karl Klug, Iowa, DT; Ben Lamaak, Iowa State, C; DeMarcus Love, Arkansas, T; Ryan McMahon, Florida State, C; Ryan Miller, Colorado, G; Drake Nevis, LSU, DT; Kristofer O'Dowd, USC, C; Josh Oglesby, Wisconsin, T; Stephen Paea, Oregon State, DT; Alan Pelc, North Carolina, G; Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh, T; Ken Plue, Purdue, G; Nate Potter, Boise State, G; Mike Pouncey, Florida, C; Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss, DT; Matt Reynolds, BYU, T; Trevor Robinson, Notre Dame, T; Stephen Schilling, Michigan, G; Caleb Schlauderaff, Utah, G; Nate Solder, Colorado, T; Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma, DT; Zane Taylor, Utah, C; Bo Thran, Oregon, T; Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple, DT
Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State, G; Lee Ziemba, Auburn, T.

Posted on: January 12, 2010 3:21 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2010 6:10 pm
 

Early Preseason Top 10 for 2010

It's a little early, but time to give my preseason Top 10 for 2010. Lots of things can change, but here is what I got for now:

Mark Ingram1. Alabama: The team will lose some starters on defense, including Terrence Cody, Rolando McClain and Javier Arenas, but there is still a ton of talent on that side of the ball. And look at all the starters back on offense. QB Greg McElroy, RB Mark Ingram, RB Trent Richardson and WR Julio Jones. The schedule works nicely in Alabama's favor too with home games against Penn State, Florida and Auburn. Three landmines which could prevent it from repeating -- at Arkansas (Sept. 25), at Tennessee (Oct. 23) and at LSU (Nov. 6).

2. Ohio State: If the Buckeyes can play like they did in the Rose Bowl, they will find themselves in the BCS championship game next year. Ten starters are back on offense, including Terrelle Pryor, the entire backfield and both wide receivers. Five starters back on the offensive line will be huge too. Ohio State gets Miami (Fla.) at home on Sept. 18 which will be the early test. The season likely comes down to the final three games of the season -- Penn State (Nov. 13), at Iowa (Nov. 20) and Michigan (Nov. 27)

3. Boise State: This is all you have to know about Boise being ranked this high: 21 of 22 starters from a team that went 14-0. Kellen Moore will be entering his junior season after one of the best seasons in college football -- 39 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The defense was great last season and only loses cornerback Kyle Wilson. Assuming Boise goes undefeated in conference play for the third consecutive season, there are two big games on the schedule -- at home against Oregon State and Virginia Tech in Maryland on Oct. 2. Could this be the year the Broncos get into the title game?

4. Oregon: Another team that will be loaded with returners, including all 11 on offense. The Ducks offense was very explosive last year and should be again with the return of QB Jeremiah Masoli and RB LaMichael James. Keep an eye on the defense with the return of all three linebackers. The biggest holes to fill will be on the defensive line and replacing cornerback Walter Thurmond. The Ducks get a quick test playing at Tennessee on Sept. 11. The Pac-10 schedule will be tough again, especially with road games at USC (Sept. 30), at California (Nov. 13) and at Oregon State (Nov. 27).

Ricky Stanzi5. Iowa: The Hawkeyes showed in the Orange Bowl what a difference Ricky Stanzi makes at quarterback. With him back along with running backs Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher and wide receivers Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt, Iowa will challenge Ohio State for the Big Ten title. The defense will again be one of the best in the country, especially in the secondary with Tyler Sash coming back. The schedule works perfectly for Iowa in its run to the a perfect season, getting Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State all at home.

6. Nebraska: Yes, Ndamukong Suh will be gone, but he wasn't a one-man team. One of the best defenses in the nation last year will be strong again with the return of DE Pierre Allen and DT Jared Crick. The key will be on offense if QB Zac Lee and RB Roy Helu can keep the ball moving. With the return of four offensive lineman, the Cornhuskers should be in great shape to challenge for the Big 12 Championship. Biggest game of the season will be Oct. 16 vs. Texas.

7. TCU: The Horned Frogs should be strong again with a team that returns a ton of players. It won't be easy to find a replacement for DE Jerry Hughes. With Andy Dalton back for one more season at quarterback and the return of WR Jimmy Young, the team should still be in great shape for another run at a BCS bowl. Obviously the conference has gotten better and a big game at Utah looms. So far TCU has only two non-conference opponents in Baylor and SMU, but it still has to find two more games.

8. Texas: The Longhorns won't be as good as they were this year. Too many key players will be gone, but Texas still has a nice group of returners back and should find itself in the Top 10. QB Garrett Gilbert got something to build on for next year with his appearance in the title game against Alabama. All the running backs return and a good core of wide receivers are back too. Earl Thomas is gone at safety, but Blake Gideon returns. The hardest part to replace will be the defensive line with the loss of Sergio Kindle. Oct. 2 vs. Oklahoma and Oct. 16 at Nebraska will be the season.

9. (tie) Virginia Tech: The defense lost some key players during the offseason, including Kam Chancellor and Jason Worilds, but the Hokies always just plug in newcomers and never miss a beat. The good news for Virginia Tech will be the return of sophomore running back Ryan Williams and junior Darren Evans, along with QB Tyrod Taylor. With those three back, the Hokies should be able to run all over opposing defenses. The Boise State game looms on Oct. 2 before huge road games at North Carolina and at Miami (Fla.)

Robert Quinn9. (tie) Miami, Fla.: The offense is there for the Hurricanes to make a serious run at the ACC title. QB Jacory Harris returns with wide receivers LaRon Byrd and Leonard Hankerson. A big question mark will be at running back, where Craig Cooper might miss the entire season due to a knee injury. The defense must get better at the linebacker position, but the secondary returns four strong players, including Brandon Harris at corner. Two huge out of conferences games will test Miami early -- at Ohio State (Sept. 11) and at Pittsburgh (Sept. 25).

9. (tie) North Carolina: Don't laugh, here is a team that returns nine starters on a great defense and 10 starters on offense. Defensive lineman Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin will anchor the front seven with linebacker Quan Sturdivant controlling the middle of the field. The offense must get better, so with T.J. Yates and WR Greg Little back for one more season ... this is their chance. The Tar Heels play LSU in Atlanta during the opening weekend (Sept. 4), so we'll see how good this team is.

The rest of the Top 25 (alphabetical order): Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Rutgers, Utah, USC, Wisconsin, West Virginia

Posted on: November 16, 2009 3:55 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2009 4:34 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- North Carolina


Finish up strong.

Every coach preaches it, but North Carolina is showing how it's done.

With its second consecutive victory over a Top 25 team -- a 33-24 victory over Miami (Fla.) on Saturday -- the Tar Heels jumped to No. 20 in the latest CBSSports.com 120.

The team has now won five straight over ranked teams, going back to last season (Georgia Tech was not ranked when the Yellow Jackets beat them).

Robert QuinnNot bad for a team that was basically written off after losing to Virginia 16-3 and blowing a lead against Florida State earlier in the season.

"Life teaches you lessons," said head coach Butch Davis. "I think this football team, in the Thursday night game vs. Florida State, learned a really big lesson about trying to finish ballgames. About how important it is to play all 60 minutes, no matter what the score is at halftime."

North Carolina isn't like most 7-3 teams. It doesn't have a running back with more than 600 yards rushing and its leading receiver has just 409 yards receiving. Quarterback T.J. Yates has the same number of touchdowns as interceptions (10).

But the one thing is does have is a defense ranked eighth in the nation in total yards allowed and second in the ACC in interceptions. The team also has 25 sacks, led by sophomore defensive end Robert Quinn with 10.

In the win over Virginia Tech, the defense sacked Tyrod Taylor three times and recovered two fumbles, including one with two minutes left as the Hokies were trying to run out the clock.

Against the Hurricanes, the Tar Heels recorded four interceptions, including three by Kendric Burney. The junior cornerback returned one for a 77-yard touchdown and compiled an ACC single-game record with 170 interception return yards.

"Our guys are really getting a handle on studying quarterbacks," defensive coordinator Everett Withers said. "You hear their conversations while they're watching film -- this guy will stare down this receiver, this guy looks here in this personnel group, this guy looks to run in this formation, how another guy handles the pocket. They know that as the quarterback goes, so goes the offense."

Now if the Tar Heels can just take care of business against at Boston College and at North Carolina State to end the regular season, they will have won five in a row and six out of the last seven.

Southern California

Despite still being ranked in all the other polls, USC fell out of the CBSSports.com Top 25, falling from No. 12 to No. 28. The Trojans are now 7-3, 4-3 in the Pac-10 and will not make a BCS bowl for the first time since 2001.

"I'm not sure I have the right words to describe being humbled like this," Pete Carroll said after losing 55-21 to Stanford. "I don't really know where to put it. ... We have fallen apart and given our opponents the opportunity to do whatever they want, but you have to give Stanford a lot of credit."

The Trojans are on a bye this week and then return to the field against UCLA.

Nevada

The Wolf Pack started the season 0-3, but has now won seven in a row and is ranked No. 45. After taking care of Fresno State this weekend, the Wolf Pack are eyeing the end of the season game against Boise State. With a victory, Nevada would win the conference and end Boise State's dream of going undefeated and playing in a BCS bowl.

MAC Attack

Central Michigan and Temple are course to meet in the Mid-American Conference title game. Both teams control their own destiny and the game would feature two teams in the Top 35.

Central Michigan is ranked No. 31, while Temple is No. 34. Both teams are 8-2 and 6-0 in the conference. The winner will play in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, which used to be the Motor City Bowl.

Three winless teams left

New Mexico (No. 118), Eastern Michigan (No. 119) and Western Kentucky (No. 120) are all 0-10. New Mexico was close to winning this weekend, falling 24-19 to BYU. It plays Colorado State on Saturday.

Posted on: May 28, 2009 4:28 pm
 

CWS: Five to keep your eye on

With the College World Series beginning Friday, here are five players to keep your eye on for the next couple of weeks:

5. Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee: The sophomore was named first-team All-America and is one of 30 players up for the 2009 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. Bentz was close to winning the triple crown, leading the nation in average (.482), home runs (28). He ranks 25th in RBI with 72. Brentz has also pitched this season, going 5-3 with a 4.78 ERA.

4. Mike Leake, Arizona State: The junior pitcher became the first Pac-10 player to win conference pitcher of the year in consecutive seasons. He enters the CWS with a 14-1 record and a 1.24 ERA. He also has 128 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings, while walking only 18.

Stephen Strasburg3. Jared Mitchell, LSU: The two-sport star (plays wide receiver for the Tigers) is expected to be a top pick in the upcoming draft. He is currently hitting .326 with a team-leading 30 steals. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Twins out of high school, but opted to go to LSU to play football and baseball.

2. Dustin Ackley, North Carolina: The first baseman, who is a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award, is hitting .399 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI. Ackley was named ACC player of the year and is one of only two players in school history with 300 hits and 200 runs scored.

1. Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State: The projected No. 1 pick by the Nationals in the upcoming draft is having a phenomenal season. He is 13-0 with a 1.24 ERA and has 180 strikeouts in 102 innings. He recently set the Mountain West Conference records for strikeouts in a season and career (360). He was named national player of the week five times in 2009 and eight times in his career. Was named the winner of 2008 Dick Case Award, presented to USA Baseball's Player of the Year, for his performance with the collegiate national team and the U.S. Olympic squad last summer.

Posted on: October 6, 2008 11:50 am
Edited on: October 6, 2008 2:01 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- UNC making its move


For a school known for Dean Smith, Michael Jordan and four national championships in men's basketball, football is now getting the attention in Chapel Hill.

With its 38-12 victory over previously unbeaten Connecticut, North Carolina has jumped into the CBSSports.com 120, moving up 15 spots to No. 21.

They also cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001, sliding into the No. 22 ranking. The Tar Heels won eight games that year and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

Being ranked is quite an accomplishment for a team that usually finds itself at the bottom of the ACC, winning a few games a season.

But thanks to second-year coach Butch Davis, two very good offensive weapons in Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate, and a defense allowing 19 points a game, the Tar Heels find themselves in position to win double-digit wins for the first time since Mack Brown's team in 1997.

UNC's only loss is a three-point defeat to Virginia Tech. Since the Hokies are in their division, it will be hard for the Tar Heels to get to the ACC title game, but moving up the rankings and improving their bowl standing are definitely possible.

They don't have Wake Forest, Florida State or Clemson on the schedule and it gets Georgia Tech (Nov. 8) and Boston College (Oct. 25) at home.

"This team is headed in the right direction," said quarterback Cam Sexton. "All the pieces are in place. Last year we were just feeling each other out. But we did not come here to win four games. We're not where we want to be. The only thing we have to do as a team is to remain focused. I think this team has a lot of potential, and the leadership needs to keep us focused."

It has one more non-conference game this weekend ... vs. Notre Dame. The Irish moved up to No. 38 this week in the CBSSports.com 120 poll.

The only other ACC team ranked higher than the Tar Heels right now is Virginia Tech, checking in at No. 17. Wake Forest is ranked No. 23.

Oklahoma State (No. 18), Pittsburgh (No. 22) and Northwestern (No. 25) also joined the Tar Heels in the rankings this week.

Other notes

-- Two undefeated schools are just outside the Top 25. Tulsa (5-0) is No. 26 and Ball State (6-0) is No. 27. Strength of schedule is definitely hurting these two schools as Tulsa's is 104th, while Ball State's is 88th.

-- The strange case of Maryland. What can you say about this team? The are up and down every week. After losing to Middle Tennessee State, the Terps fell, but then jumped back up with victories over California and Clemson. Things should have been easy against the worst team in the ACC, but Maryland got shut out 31-0 to Virginia! Maryland fell back to No. 52.

-- Fresno State fell out of the Top 25 and all the way down to No. 43 after losing 32-29 to Hawaii. Every time I pick Fresno to win the WAC, I curse them. Me and every other media member that falls into the preseason hype.

-- The team with the best record ranked the lowest -- Western Michigan (5-1) at No. 58. Despite having five wins, they dont have won impressive victory. The Broncos beat Northern Illinois (No. 99), Idaho (No. 119), Tennessee Tech (FCS), Temple (No. 93) and Ohio (No. 118).

-- Only two winless teams remain -- Washington (No. 103) and North Texas (No. 120).  

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com