This college football season is going to look unlike any other in modern history. If there is play this fall of any sort, there will be an AP Top 25 poll.
The Associated Press put out a story today, outlining how it will approach the season. In 10 days—Aug. 24—the AP Top 25 preseason poll is set to be released. The next day, the service will publish its preseason All-American team.
That initial Top 25 will include all Division I teams, the AP says. From there, it will begin to take into consideration the teams and conferences that have elected to sit out the fall season. As of today, the ACC, Big 12, SEC, AAC, Conference USA, and Sun Belt are set to play, along with a few independent programs like Army, BYU, and Liberty.
“The preseason poll has always been a speculative ranking of teams based on last year’s results and knowledge about the new makeup of teams,” AP global sports editor Michael Giarrusso told AP college football writer Ralph D. Russo. “This year, we think it is crucial to give all the teams and all their fans a snapshot look at what the Top 25 would have been to open the season.”
People have asked me what AP intends to do with the Top 25 this season(s).
Here's the core principle: If major college football games are being played, the AP plans to rank teams.
The preseason poll comes out Aug. 24.
Details within. https://t.co/vcpKLmeloQ
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) August 14, 2020
If the Big Ten, Pac-12, and others move forward with a spring season, it sounds like we may get a separate poll once that season begins. Like everything else, the AP is trying to stay flexible as we move through an unprecedented year.
“The AP and our voters have no idea what a spring football season will look like. But we are open to adapting and finding a way for our Top 25 voters to be involved in ranking teams if real games are played in the spring of 2021,” Giarrusso said.
As of today, 67 of the 130 FBS-level schools are still planning to play in the fall, or just over 51-percent of the sport. We could see some very interesting teams—and records—popping up in the Top 25 this year as a result.