Big Ten football is now set to return on October 23. In the preseason AP Top 25, which was released after the Big Ten's initial decision to postpone season to the spring, Ohio State (No. 2), Penn State (No. 7), Wisconsin (No. 12), Michigan (No. 16), Minnesota (No. 19), and Iowa (No. 24) were all ranked.
After the season began, teams that were not set to play this fall fell out of the ranking. That includes those in the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West, and MAC. Of those three leagues, only the Big Ten has announced a plan to get underway this fall, though the others are reportedly discussing the evolving situation. As a result, we have a very fun Top 25 right now, with teams like UL Lafayette, Army, and Appalachian State ranked.
Everything remains up in the air with how bizarre the current season is. That includes AP Poll procedure. It is unclear when the Big Ten may return to play, and how ranking those teams, who will play their first game in just over a month, will work while other teams have six or seven games under their belt.
The return of the Big Ten to the polls will not happen this week. Per Thomas Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the AP's Ralph Russo informed voters that they won't vote on Big Ten teams this weekend, after Week 3 of the season.
Ultimately the polls are more for discussion than anything else. Still, this is also indicative of the issues that will rise with College Football Playoff selection process. All indications are that the Big Ten football teams will be able to compete for a national title, but they'll be almost two months behind the ACC and Big 12, and a month behind the SEC. Still, if a team like Ohio State is one of the four best teams, it should become clear within a few weeks, and will likely reflect in the polls and College Football Playoff rankings once this situation rolls around. [
FYI: Associated Press poll voters have been informed by @ralphDrussoAP at AP that pollsters should not include Big Ten teams on this Sunday's ballots. Could change by the week after. No easy way to do this. Awaiting Big Ten schedule release.
— Thomas Murphy (@TomMurphyADG) September 18, 2020