AP Poll All-Time Preseason Top 25 College Football Rankings

·12 min read

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 2021

CFN devised a scoring system giving every AP-ranked preseason No. 1 team from 1950 to 2021 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.

1 Oklahoma 1227

2 Ohio State 1195

3 Alabama 1030

4 USC 979

5 Notre Dame 975

6 Texas 931

7 Michigan 914

8 Nebraska 816

9 Penn State 713

10 Florida State 685

11 LSU 633

12 Florida 625

13 Tennessee 592

14 Auburn 581

15 Georgia 567

16 Miami 545

17 UCLA 511

18 Michigan State 464

19 Washington 450

20 Texas A&M 440

21 Clemson 436

22 Wisconsin 362

23 Arkansas 356

24 Ole Miss 294

25 Iowa 293

Related

College Football Rankings: 2022 CFN Preseason Ranking Of All 131 Teams

Also Receiving Votes or Points: Pitt 273; Stanford 259; Colorado 246; Oregon 236; Maryland 225; Arizona State 210; Georgia Tech 210;  Virginia Tech 210; North Carolina 208; TCU 197; Syracuse 191; Purdue 188; Illinois 176; West Virginia 172; Cal 160; Houston 127; Kansas State 125; SMU 118; South Carolina 114; Army 109; Arizona 105; Oklahoma State 104; Missouri 100; Navy 97; Duke 96; Baylor 93; BYU 90; Louisville 87; Boise State 82; Northwestern 76; Oregon State 65; Mississippi State 59; Minnesota 56; Virginia 54; Texas Tech 51; Kentucky 50; Kansas 49; NC State 43; Rice 39; Indiana 34; Iowa State 33; Utah 31; Washington State 31; Princeton 27; Cincinnati 24; Cornell 23; Pennsylvania 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 ; Miami University 6; Coastal Carolina 4; Louisiana 3; Wake Forest 3; Hawaii 3; Fresno State 2

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

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 2020 to 2021 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 2020 to 2021 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

T1 Alabama 48

T1 Clemson 48

3 Ohio State 46

4 Oklahoma 45

5 Georgia 43

T6 Notre Dame 33

T6 Texas A&M 33

8 Oregon 32

9 Florida 31

10 LSU 30

11 Wisconsin 28

12 Penn State 26

T13 Cincinnati 24

T13 North Carolina 24

15 Iowa State 22

16 USC 20

17 Texas 17

18 Auburn 14

19 Miami 12

20 Oklahoma State 11

T21 Iowa 10

T21 Michigan 10

23 Indiana 9

24 Minnesota 7

T25 Utah 6

T25 Washington 6

Also Receiving Votes/Points: UCF 5; Coastal Carolina 4; Louisiana 3; Arizona State 1; Tennessee 1

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

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 2010 to 2019 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 2010 to 2019 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

1 Alabama 244

2 Ohio State 196

3 Oklahoma 188

4 Florida State 153

5 Clemson 148

6 Georgia 147

7 LSU 144

8 Oregon 143

9 USF 115

T10 Stanford 110

T11 Wisconsin 110

12 Michigan State 98

13 Notre Dame 93

14 Michigan 92

15 TCU 91

16 Auburn 88

17 Florida 73

18 South Carolina 68

19 Texas 65

20 Washington 64

21 Boise State 60

22 Oklahoma State 58

23 Nebraska 57

24 Texas A&M 56

25 Louisville 55

Also Receiving Votes/Points: Penn State 54; Virginia Tech 50; UCLA 47; Arkansas 44; Baylor 41; Miami 39; Iowa 32; Ole Miss 32; West Virginia 31; Georgia Tech 20; Tennessee 19; Arizona State 18; Kansas State 16; North Carolina 15; Mississippi State 14; UCF 14; Utah 12; Houston 11; Pitt 11; Missouri 9; Iowa State 5; Washington State 5; Arizona 4; Northwestern 4; Syracuse 4; Oregon State 3

AP Preseason Polls
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2020s

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 2000 to 2009 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 2000 to 2009 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

1 Texas 210

2 Oklahoma 201

3 Florida 178

4 USC 175

5 Ohio State 171

6 LSU 155

7 Georgia 147

8 Miami 144

9 Michigan 143

10 Florida State 142

11 Virginia Tech 131

12 Tennessee 124

13 Auburn 85

14 West Virginia 78

15 Nebraska 77

16 Kansas State 72

17 Cal 66

18 Wisconsin 56

19 Oregon 53

T20 Clemson 52

T20 Louisville 52

22 Washington 50

23 Alabama 47

24 Penn State 42

25 Notre Dame 41

Also Receiving Votes/Points: Iowa 36; Purdue 32; Georgia Tech 27; Boise State 26; Ole Miss 26; TCU 24; Arizona State 23; Colorado 21; UCLA 21; Maryland 20; Pitt 20; Texas Tech 20; Oklahoma State 19; Virginia 19; NC State 18; BYU 16; Oregon State 15; Washington State 15; Kansas 13; Texas A&M 13; Utah 13; Illinois 11; Northwestern 10; Rutgers 10; Michigan State 9; South Carolina 9; Marshall 7; USF 7; Mississippi State 6; Arkansas 5; Colorado State 5; North Carolina 5; Hawaii 3; Southern Miss 3; Wake Forest 3; Fresno State 2; Minnesota 1

AP Preseason Polls
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2010s | 2020s

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1990 to 1999 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1990 to 1999 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

1 Florida State 236

T2 Florida 196

T2 Nebraska 196

4 Michigan 183

5 Notre Dame 174

T6 Miami 170

T6 Tennessee 170

8 Penn State 167

9 Colorado 144

10 Texas A&M 137

11 Ohio State 124

12 Alabama 117

13 Washington 101

14 Syracuse 99

15 USC 93

16 Auburn 87

17 Texas 70

18 UCLA 68

19 Arizona 62

20 Clemson 57

21 Oklahoma 56

22 North Carolina 52

23 Wisconsin 45

24 Georgia 44

25 LSU 40

Also Receiving Votes/Points: Georgia Tech 36; Virginia 35; Kansas State 34; BYU 33; Virginia Tech 29; Iowa 27; Arizona State 25; West Virginia 21; Illinois 20; Arkansas 16; Houston 16; Michigan State 13; Colorado State 11; Boston College 9; Northwestern 8; Pitt 8; Cal 6; Mississippi State 6; Southern Miss 5; Purdue 3; Kansas 2; NC State 1

AP Preseason Polls
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1980 to 1989 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1980 to 1989 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

1 Nebraska 216

2 Oklahoma 205

3 Michigan 175

4 Auburn 147

T5 Ohio State 146

T5 Penn State 146

7 USC 145

8 Alabama 142

9 Notre Dame 141

10 UCLA 135

11 Florida State 130

12 Miami 106

13 Pitt 95

14 Washington 94

15 Clemson 90

16 Georgia 86

T17 LSU 85

T17 Texas 85

19 Arkansas 81

20 Iowa 76

21 Florida 68

22 SMU 67

23 North Carolina 62

24 Texas A&M 46

25 BYU 41

Also Receiving Votes/Points: Arizona State 38; Tennessee 34; Maryland 28; Houston 23; Arizona 20; Illinois 19; Stanford 19; West Virginia 19; Michigan State 17; Purdue 17; South Carolina 16; Baylor 14; Syracuse 13; Colorado 12; Mississippi State 12; Oklahoma State 10; Missouri 9; Boston College 7; NC State 2

AP Preseason Polls
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1970 to 1979 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1970 to 1979 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

1 USC 211

2 Michigan 207

3 Oklahoma 198

4 Nebraska 196

5 Ohio State 195

6 Alabama 194

7 Notre Dame 191

8 Penn State 184

9 Texas 172

10 Arkansas 120

11 UCLA 99

12 Arizona State 96

13 LSU 86

14 Texas A&M 74

15 Pitt 70

16 Tennessee 64

17 Houston 58

18 Auburn 57

19 Colorado 53

20 Maryland 51

T21 Florida 49

T21 Georgia 49

23 Stanford 48

24 Washington 43

25 Ole Miss 31

Also Receiving Votes/Points: Michigan State 30; NC State 30; Missouri 29; Purdue 28; Texas Tech 24; Florida State 23; Arizona 19; North Carolina 14; Syracuse 13; Kansas State 12; Cal 11; Kentucky 11; Mississippi State 10; Georgia Tech 9; South Carolina 9; Clemson 8; Kansas 7; Iowa State 6; Miami University 6; Northwestern 6; Oklahoma State 6; West Virginia 6

AP Preseason Polls
1950s | 1960s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s

Coaches Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1960 to 1969 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1960 to 1969 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

1 Texas 200

2 Alabama 188

3 Ohio State 152

4 USC 145

5 Ole Miss 127

6 Michigan State 121

7 Notre Dame 115

8 Oklahoma 104

9 Arkansas 90

10 Purdue 87

T11 Penn State 84

T11 Syracuse 84

13 Washington 74

14 Tennessee 69

15 LSU 68

16 Nebraska 60

17 UCLA 59

18 Georgia 51

19 Illinois 44

20 Auburn 38

21 Iowa 36

22 Navy 33

23 Northwestern 32

24 Miami 27

25 Indiana 25

Also Receiving Votes/Points: Michigan 22; Oregon State 20; Florida 19; Houston 19; Pitt 19; Wisconsin 19; Duke 18; Kansas 18; Minnesota 18; Clemson 17; Colorado 16; Missouri 16; TCU 15; Texas A&M 14; Stanford 10; Arizona State 9

AP Preseason Polls
1950s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1950 to 1959 Top 25: NEXT

AP Poll Preseason College Football Rankings: 1950 to 1959 Top 25

Take all the AP Poll preseason rankings and use our CFN scoring system – the AP Poll preseason No. 1 gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

1 Oklahoma 230

2 Notre Dame 187

3 Michigan State 176

4 Ohio State 165

5 Maryland 126

6 Georgia Tech 118

7 Texas 112

8 Tennessee 111

9 Army 109

10 Michigan 93

11 Wisconsin 91

T12 Illinois 82

T12 UCLA 82

T12 USC 82

T15 Duke 78

T15 Ole Miss 78

17 Cal 77

18 Iowa 76

T19 TCU 67

T19 Texas A&M 67

21 Auburn 64

22 Navy 64

23 SMU 57

T24 Alabama 50

T24 Pitt 50

Also Receiving Votes/Points: Miami 47; Stanford 44; Kentucky 39; Rice 39; Baylor 38; North Carolina 36; Minnesota 30; Oregon State 27; Princeton 27; LSU 25; Cornell 23; Pennsylvania 21; Purdue 21; Washington 18; West Virginia 17; Clemson 16; Northwestern 16; Nebraska 14; South Carolina 12; Air Force 11; Florida 11; Mississippi State 11; Washington State 11; Penn State 10; Kansas 9; Missouri 9; Oregon 8; Texas Tech 7; Yale 7; Syracuse 6

AP Preseason Polls
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s

USA TODAY Coaches Poll, All-Time Final Rankings
Greatest Programs of All-Time | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s
1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s | AP Top Programs of All-Time
USA TODAY Preseason Coaches Polls
1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s

Story originally appeared on College Football News