2016 North Carolina Power Rankings: Week 13

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

David Scearce—Appalachian State Athletics
Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox (14) rushes past a UL Monroe defender at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone

One game sent the entire NC power rankings spiraling out of control. No team in the top five from last week maintained the same ranking, including the consensus No. 1 team all season.NC State’s upset over North Carolina clinched not only bowl eligibility, but also a top-five finish on our list (we can’t confirm which was a bigger deal for Dave Doeren). That loss for UNC also meant a huge jump for Appalachian State and NC Central in the poll to close out the year.With the final week of the college football regular 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. Appalachian State (29)Last Week: 2There’s a new No. 1 team in the state and it resides in Boone. The Mountaineers have fought back strong all season after losing to Tennessee and Miami in the first three weeks of the season, and now find themselves in position for a second straight 10-win season under Scott Satterfield.App State has one of the best rushing attacks in the country with two running backs averaging more than 100 yards per game in Jalin Moore (113.9) and Marcus Cox (109). Combine both RBs with quarterback Taylor Lamb, and the Apps have 26 rushing touchdowns between them.App will lose Cox after the season, but retain both Moore and Lamb along with several key players along the offensive line. Satterfield’s group might ultimately fall short of winning the Fun Belt this season, but there’s no reason this core can’t contend again next year.2. NC Central (28)Last Week: 3Even with a week off the Eagles move up a spot in the rankings. The reason why App State isn’t the consensus top team to close out the season is because NCCU stole a No. 1 vote. Central still has a huge game remaining in the Celebration Bowl that could propel it to the top after bowl season.3. North Carolina (24)Last Week: 1After spending the entire season as the No. 1 team in the NC power rankings, the Tar Heels dropped to the No. 3 spot in the final poll. Despite having slim hopes of a Coastal Division title or even a 10-win season, Carolina fell short against rival NC State on Black Friday.It wasn’t just the loss to the Wolfpack that sent the Heels tumbling, however, as a befuddling loss to Duke two weeks prior on another short week also hurt. Even with a strong season, UNC falls behind both App State and NCCU, who finished stronger in their respective leagues.4. NC State (21)Last Week: T7The Wolfpack salvaged a 6-6 regular season and bowl eligibility with a dominant first half against the Tar Heels. Matt Dayes’ two-touchdown performance and Jaylen Samuels’ rushing and passing scores were enough to take down UNC, despite a late charge from the boys in blue.Dave Doeren is safe for another year as well, and his team is back inside the top five in our rankings for the first time in weeks. While the bowl game is undecided to this point, another win and a seven-win campaign could heal some wounds for Wolfpack Nation after a tough season.T5. Wake Forest (15)Last Week: 4Yeah, there’s really no explaining a loss to Boston College. There’s just not. And especially when it comes on the heels of two straight losses to go from 4-0 to start the year to a 6-6 finish.Wake Forest is still bowl eligible, but will be at the very bottom of the totem pole in the ACC. But after seven straight seasons of sub-.500 football, winning a bowl game for the first time since 2008 would likely wipe away the 1-5 finish to the year.T5. UNC Pembroke (15)Last Week: 5The Braves bowed out of the Division II playoffs after simply being outmatched by No. 3 seed Northern Alabama. Pembroke kept the game tight in the first half, even taking a 17-10 lead after a fumble recovery in the end zone. But UNA turned on the jets after that point, scoring 31 unanswered points for the 41-17 win.UNCP loses two significant players in seniors Rontonio Stanley and B.J. Bunn, its leading running back and receiver. But after going 2-8 just two seasons ago, 2016 was a revelation for the Braves program.7. NC A&T (11)Last Week: 7The Aggies dropped their final two games of the season after a seven-game winning streak. Tarik Cohen’s illustrious career finishes on a low note, but NC A&T remains in the same place in the NC power rankings despite losing votes following the loss in the FCS playoffs against Richmond.8. Wingate (8)Last Week: T7Wingate didn’t play in the last week, but earned votes due to an 8-3 finish thanks to every other previous team around this spot crumbling. The Bulldogs dropped two of their final three games, but otherwise put together their best season since 2010 under coach Joe Reich.9. Campbell (6)Last Week: 9Campbell may have lost its final game of the season against San Diego, but the program is heading in the right direction under head coach Mike Minter. Heading to the Big South next year, adding scholarships will be crucial for a team on the rise in Buies Creek.10. Winston-Salem State (4)Last Week: 10The Rams dropped their playoff matchup with LIU Post, but eight straight wins prior to the loss mean Winston-Salem State remains on the power rankings to close out the year. Kerrion Moore finished the season with five games of 120-plus yards rushing, signaling a bright future for the program.Also Listed: NC Wesleyan (3)