Paul Finebaum believes in North Carolina as a legitimate contender in the ACC this season.

The Tar Heels are off to a 6-0 start thanks to solid play on both sides of the ball. Drake Maye is continuing to establish himself as one of the top passers in the country and has elite playmakers like Tez Walker and Omarion Hampton at his disposal. Perhaps more importantly, UNC’s defense has been much-improved so far this season over what it produced a year ago.

“This looks legit,” Finebaum said Sunday morning after Carolina’s 41-31 win over Miami. “You combine a very good defense with one of the best quarterbacks in a league that is really upside down.”

Finebaum did say he still has Florida State as the favorite to win the ACC, but that Carolina could challenge the Noles down the stretch.

“I still think it’s all about Florida State, but Carolina will be around at the end I think and make a difference,” he added.

Florida State and North Carolina will not face each other during the regular season, which means they could battle as 12-0 teams in the ACC Championship Game. In that scenario, the ACC title game would almost certainly be for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

North Carolina will host Virginia in Week 8.