Heels ranked 20th in USA Today poll

August 7, 2009 

North Carolina has opened the preseason at No. 20 in the USA Today coaches’ poll, which was released this morning.

The Tar Heels are one of four ACC teams ranked in the top 25, three of which are from the Coastal Division. Virginia Tech (No. 7) and Georgia Tech (No. 15) also are ranked in the Coastal.

Florida State (No. 19) is the only team ranked from the Atlantic Division. Defending national champion Florida is No. 1, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Southern California and Alabama.

The top three schools all return 2008 Heisman finalists at quarterback (Tim Tebow of Florida, Colt McCoy of Texas and 2008 winner Sam Bradford of Oklahoma).

Here’s the entire poll, with first-place votes in parentheses and total points.

1. Florida (53) 1,466. 2. Texas (4) 1,386. 3. Oklahoma (1) 1,358. 4. Southern California (1) 1,321. 5. Alabama 1,134. 6. Ohio State 1,126. 7. Virginia Tech 1,020. 8. Penn State 988. 9. LSU 917. 10. Mississippi 889. 11. Oklahoma State 861. 12. California 711. 13. Georgia 707. 14. Oregon 694. 15. Georgia Tech 559. 16. Boise State 542. 17. Texas Christian 461. 18. Utah 404. 19. Florida State 371. 20. North Carolina 293. 21. Iowa 257. 22. Nebraska 236. 23. Notre Dame 194. 24. Brigham Young 178. 25. Oregon State 165.

Among the teams also receiving votes were Clemson (30), South Carolina (18), N.C. State (7) and East Carolina (3).

Duke’s David Cutcliffe, North Carolina’s Butch Davis, Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe and N.C. State’s Tom O’Brien are among the 59 coaches on the panel.

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