The first Associated Press preseason poll of the 2018 college football season was released on Aug. 20. To no surprise, the reigning national champion Alabama Crimson Tide checked in at the No. 1 spot. The first Big Ten team is Wisconsin at No. 4 over Ohio State — likely due to the uncertainty surrounding the Buckeyes right now with Urban Meyer’s situation.
Here’s the full Top 25:
- Alabama (42)
- Clemson (18)
- Wisconsin (1)
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
- Notre Dame
- West Virginia
- Mississippi State
- Florida State
- Virginia Tech
- Boise State
Other teams that received votes in the initial poll were South Carolina (96), Florida (68), Utah (60), Oklahoma St. (51), FAU (38), Arizona (28), NC State (22), Texas A&M (21), Boston College (18), Northwestern (13), Kansas St. (10), Iowa St. (8), Houston (6), Memphis (3), Troy (2), Iowa (2), Kentucky (1), Arkansas St. (1), Fresno St. (1).
Among the human polls, the AP is the historic gold standard.
In a sport that changes so frequently, it’s the one constant going back to the 1930s, and that’s one big reason people care far more about it than they do, say, the Coaches Poll.
Although the AP Poll isn’t officially part of the championship race any more, it still gets fanbases talking about who’s ranked too high or too low.
For now, it’s the only ranking we have to go off of, until the initial College Football Playoff rankings come out on Oct. 30. Those are the only ones that really matter.
Although the AP used to have a role in the BCS and be the main way to name national champions at the end of the season (sometimes, naming different ones than the on-field results), now it’s essentially a placeholder until the CFP’s rankings begin and a way to circle back at the end of the year for final rankings, since the CFP doesn’t do a post-Playoff top 25.
The AP ranking is the one you’ll see most commonly cited through about Week 8, by SB Nation, other media outlets, and teams themselves (unless some team is ranked higher in the Coaches Poll than the AP, in which case that could flip).
And for those worried about the preseason AP poll impacting the rest of the season: stop.
There’s very little evidence that the Playoff committee pays any attention at all to the AP Poll, preseason or otherwise.
These preseason polls really don’t matter whatsoever in the grand scheme of things, but at the very least the AP coming out means we’re that much closer to the season kicking off to end the offseason.