2016 North Carolina Power Rankings: Week 11

North State Journals sports staff picks their top college football teams from the state each week

Week 10 was absolute chaos. There’s really no other way to describe it. Nationally, top teams like No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Washington were all upset. Locally, North Carolina, Appalachian State, Wake Forest and others were all knocked off despite tight margins heading into the fourth quarter.Losses by each of the top three teams in the state caused a little bit of a shakeup, but all three remained near the top. Wins by both Duke and NC State thrust them back up the power rankings with bowl eligibility still technically possible for each program.With Week 10 of the college football season wrapped up, here’s a look at the top 10 teams in the state, according to North State Journal sportswriters R. Cory Smith, Brett Friedlander and Shawn Krest.1. North Carolina (30) Last Week: 1On nearly any other week, the loss to Duke likely would have sent North Carolina tumbling down the power rankings. However, with both Appalachian State and Wake Forest also losing this week, the Tar Heels are once again the consensus No. 1 team in the state.At 7-3 (5-2 ACC), Carolina still has a glimmer of hope of winning the Coastal Division and making the ACC Championship Game if Virginia Tech stumbles against Virginia. And with the Citadel as a warm up before NC State, the Heels should be firing on all cylinders again this weekend.2. Wake Forest (26) Last Week: 3So close, yet so far away. Wake Forest held Louisville to just 10 points through the first three quarters with a 12-10 lead heading into the fourth. Then Brandon Radcliff happened. The Cardinals trounced the Deacs, 44-12, behind Radcliff’s three rushing touchdowns.One thing Wake’s defense can hang its hat on is limiting Lamar Jackson to just 145 yards passing and a single touchdown. Sure, he still finished with 153 yards rushing, but those are still minimal numbers for the Heisman candidate. Now the Deacs need to mirror that defensive effort against Deshaun Watson and Clemson.3. Appalachian State (25) Last Week: 2Similar to Wake Forest, Appalachian State had the potential conference champion on the ropes Saturday. Also similar to the Deacs, the Mountaineers let their chance slip away with a late score in the fourth quarter to fall to Sun Belt rival Troy, 28-24.App State falls to 7-3 on the season with just one loss in conference play. Jalin Moore is still crushing in the running game with two more touchdowns against Troy. Despite a five-game winning streak being snapped in Alabama, a nine-win campaign and bowl berth are still possible for the program.4. NC A&T (21)Last Week: 4Ho hum, another 200-yard game from Tarik Cohen and an Aggies win. NC A&T didn’t just win against Delaware State, it rolled the Hornets by a final of 45-14 to move to 9-1 overall and 7-1 in the conference.The Aggies got off to a slow start against Delaware State, but a pair of Cohen touchdown runs gave NC A&T a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. With Cohen rushing for 59 and 84 yards on the two scores, that explosiveness will be on full display against NC Central this coming Saturday for the MEAC crown.5. NC Central (15) Last Week: 5NC Central is once again playing second fiddle to NC A&T this week despite winning its eighth straight game. Only difference? The Eagles get a chance to change that this weekend in Durham.The Aggies and Eagles are clearly the class of the MEAC, setting up this Saturday as one of the biggest games in the history of the rivalry. With the conference title on the line, there is no bigger game in the state than the one taking place in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.6. Duke (14)Last Week: 8Oh hi, Duke. So nice of you to show up again. And in such a huge game.Duke needed a win over North Carolina to salvage an otherwise unfortunate season, and it did just that. After trailing 14-0 early, Daniel Jones was brilliant, passing for 240 yards and a touchdown along with 94 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground.Despite three straight losses prior to the win over Carolina, Duke still has a shot at bowl eligibility. Thanks to having the highest Academic Progress Rate scores in the country, a 5-7 season would be enough to go bowling. But with road games at Pitt and Miami, getting to five wins is easier said than done.T7. UNC Pembroke (11)Last Week: 6A narrow win over Concord doesn’t exactly help UNC Pembroke, but what really hurt the Braves was Duke’s upset win over UNC. But with five straight wins to close out the season, the Braves didn’t fall far.Pembroke heads into the Division II playoffs as a No. 5 seed against three-time national champion Valdosta State. Win there and No. 1 North Alabama awaits the Braves. The road is a difficult one for Pembroke, but a 9-1 season proves it is well tested heading in.T7. NC State (11)Last Week: 9In desperate need of a win, NC State finally got off the schneid with a 35-20 victory in the Carrier Dome. That win moved NC State up from the No. 9 spot in last week’s rankings with just six points to 11 points and tied for seventh.The Wolfpack will need its explosive offense to show up against Miami on Saturday to secure bowl eligibility. Thanks to Kelvin Harmon opening up the offense for Matt Dayes and Ryan Finley, a win over the Hurricanes seems like a possibility after a rough stretch prior to Syracuse.9. Winston-Salem State (9)Last Week: 7The Rams did everything they could to maintain their No. 7 ranking from last week, but NC State’s win pushed the Wolfpack ahead of them. Regardless, Winston-Salem State clinched a CIAA title with a 41-31 win over Bowie State and a spot in the Division II playoffs.As a No. 7 seed, WSSU faces No. 2-seeded LIU Post in Brookville, N.Y. for a shot to advance. Win or lose, the turnaround will be no less phenomenal after a 1-2 start to the year.10. Louisburg (2) Last Week: NRThe season may be over for Louisburg, but the Hurricanes jumped into the power rankings thanks to the misfortune of the Pirates. East Carolina didn’t receive a single vote in this week’s rankings, while Louisburg garnered two votes.Sure, the Hurricanes might have played against JV football programs, but they finished the season at 9-0 in their respective league. And with other programs all over the state currently floundering to sub-.500 records, Louisburg is a worthy team on the NC power rankings.Also Listed: Wingate (1)