This year, however, the talk isn't focused on the Tar Heels, and UNC coach Bill Lam and crew don't mind it at all.
"For the past 20 years, we've been picked to finish either No. 1 or No. 2 in the ACC preseason poll," Lam said. "This year, we weren't, but we kind of like this position. Now we are in a position to surprise a lot of people."
UNC will have a chance to see just what it can do this season when it travels to the East Stroudsburg Open this weekend.
"This weekend should really help us know where we are," Lam said. "We need to wrestle other people, and after this we will have a better idea of where we are going."
UNC is picked to finish No. 3 this year, largely due to the team's youth and inexperience.
The Tar Heels lost perennial powers Corey Bell, Chuckie Connor, and JohnMark Bentley from last year's team that finished in a tie for the ACC title.
Moreover, UNC lost its assistant coach, T.J. Jaworsky, who took a head coaching job at Davidson. The Tar Heels have filled that void with the hiring of C.D. Mock, a former ACC champion who left the world of business consulting to return to the UNC wrestling program.
To overcome the combination of loss and inexperience, the Tar Heels will look to a small core group of experienced wrestlers to lead the younger players.
"The leadership on this team is amazing," said Brad Byers, a 133-pound NCAA qualifier in 1999 and 2000. "There is a great amount of enthusiasm here, and we are hoping that it can translate into success."