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Heel Tough Blog: Heels Picked to Finish 3rd in ACC

Jeff Siner - AP

The ACC wrapped up its preseason media voting over the weekend following its media days and on Tuesday the conference’s preseason polls were released. As expected, Clemson and Florida State top the polls and are expected to clash a second time at the end of the year in Charlotte. The question was would the Tar Heels be seen as the biggest threat to them by the ACC media? That answer is, in fact, yes, as the Tar Heels, were picked to finish third in the ACC regular season in 2023, Carolina received five first-place votes, way behind the first-place tallies of Clemson (103), and Florida State (67). NC State and Miami followed UNC, to round out the top five.

A lot of the conversation around this Tar Heel team entering the 2023 season, is trying to avoid wasting Drake Maye. Carolina raced off to a 9-1 start last year, and with the hopes of seeing Maye in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and a berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game, very much in play. Instead, they lost their last four games, to finish 9-5, which left an uneven feeling in the program all off-season long.

With the ACC scrapping divisions, the path to Charlotte is much tougher, now that Carolina doesn’t have to play a Coastal conference schedule. Instead, they have to make a trip to Clemson in late November, much to the demise of Mack Brown, who voiced his discontent with the schedule earlier this spring. If Carolina were to find themselves back in Charlotte for a second straight season, it will be hard to deem the season a failure, no matter the result.

The theme since the spring, has been for the program to go from good to great. You heard that throughout the entirety of the first episode of the All-Access show on ACC Network, and it was echoed during ACC Media Days as well. With Carolina being picked to finish third in the league, it’s fair to say that Carolina is set to be pretty good again in 2023, but for them to get back to the ACC Championship Game, and be more competitive, the Tar Heels need to become great, which is definitely on the table with a generational QB, like Drake Maye.

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