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AP Poll All-Time Preseason Top 25 College Football Rankings

According to the AP Poll top 25 rankings, how did all the preseason rankings stack up since the poll came out before the 1950 season?


How have the narratives for the college football seasons been shaped for over 70 years? The preseason polls and rankings.

The AP poll began ranking teams throughout the season and declared a national champion starting in 1936, but it didn’t crank up the preseason version until 1950 – the same year the UPI Coaches Poll was created.

It’s still a bizarre concept to this day – much like our grandchildren won’t believe there was a time when a playoff system was based on the whims of a small panel of judges – but the polls and rankings used to mean everything in determining a national champion.

The preseason rankings all but cemented things in stone. If you started out in the top two, you were going to be in the mix for the national title as long as you didn’t lose. If you were outside of the top two to start the season – and, sometimes, if you weren’t No. 1 – you needed help.

The preseason polls still set the expectations at the start of every season, and the AP version remains the one that gets the most publicity.

Since 1950, how did the AP media members perceive the top teams before the seasons? Which schools got the most respect in the AP preseason college football polls?

AP Poll, All-Time Rankings: Final
AP Top Programs of All-Time | 1930s | 1940s1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s
Coaches Poll All-Time Final Rankings | Preseason Rankings
AP Preseason Poll All-Time Rankings
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s

AP: Preseason College Football Top 25 Rankings 1950 to 2022

CFN devised a scoring system giving every AP-ranked preseason No. 1 team from 1950 to 2022 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom of the top 20 in the early years, and then it became the top 25 later on. Previous ranking in parentheses.

1 Oklahoma 1244 (1)

2 Ohio State 1219 (2)

3 Alabama 1055 (3)

4 Notre Dame 996 (5)

5 USC 991 (4)

6 Michigan 932 (7)

7 Texas 931 (6)

8 Nebraska 816 (8)

9 Penn State 713 (9)

10 Florida State 685 (10)

11 LSU 633 (11)

12 Florida 625 (12)

13 Tennessee 592 (13)

14 Georgia 590 (15)

15 Auburn 581 (14)

16 Miami 555 (16)

17 UCLA 511 (17)

18 Michigan State 475 (18)

19 Texas A&M 460 (20)

20 Clemson 458 (21)

21 Washington 450 (19)

22 Wisconsin 370 (22)

23 Arkansas 363 (23)

24 Ole Miss 299 (24)

25 Iowa 293 (25)

Also Receiving Votes or Points: Pitt 282; Stanford 259; Oregon 251; Colorado 246; Maryland 225; Georgia Tech 210; Virginia Tech 210; Arizona State 210; North Carolina 208; TCU 197; Syracuse 191; Purdue 188; Illinois 176; West Virginia 172; Cal 160; Houston 129; Kansas State 125; SMU 118; Oklahoma State 118; South Carolina 114; Army 109; Baylor 109; Arizona 105; Missouri 100; Navy 97; Duke 96; BYU 91; Louisville 87; Boise State 82; Northwestern 76; Oregon State 65; Mississippi State 59; NC State 56; Minnesota 56; Kentucky 56; Virginia 54; Texas Tech 51; Utah 50; Kansas 49; Rice 39; Indiana 34; Iowa State 33; Washington State 31; Princeton 27; Cincinnati 27; Cornell 23; Penn 21; Boston College 20; UCF 19; Colorado State 16; USF 14; Air Force 11; Rutgers 10; Indiana 9; Southern Miss 8; Marshall 7; Yale 7; Wake Forest 7; Miami University 6; Coastal Carolina 4; Louisiana 3; Hawaii 3; Fresno State 2

AP Preseason Polls
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s 

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 2020 to 2022 Top 25: NEXT

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