The first edition of the Associated Press top 25 will pretend that the college football season is proceeding as normal.
The AP said Friday that it was pushing its annual preseason poll back to Aug. 24. That’s not a surprise. With teams waiting until mid-to-late September to start their seasons, it didn’t make sense for the AP to release the poll any earlier than necessary.
What may be surprising, however, is just who will be in that top 25. It can and will include teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12 and other conferences that said they wouldn’t play football in the fall of 2020.
“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,” said Michael Giarrusso, AP’s global sports editor. “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.”
The preseason poll will be the only AP poll that includes teams who aren’t planning to play in the fall. After the preseason poll — and assuming that the football season actually happens — teams from the six FBS conferences (ACC, American, Big 12, Conference USA, SEC, Sun Belt) will be the only teams eligible to be ranked.
If a spring season happens, the AP said it plans to rank teams again then.
The AP’s decision to include teams with postponed seasons in its first top 25 is probably the best ranking solution to the weird problems that this potentially bifurcated college football season is creating. Up until this week, poll voters were planning on a college football season that included most of the teams at college football’s top level. So we might as well get a chance to see what the preseason view of a now-hypothetical full season would look like and where a team like Ohio State would be in the top five.
Playoff committee ‘preparing’ for season
The College Football Playoff selection committee said Thursday that it was preparing for the season and gave off the impression that the postseason would happen as normal.
"We don't know right now what the season will bring, but as a committee, we are ready to use the protocol and the expertise of the 13 people who have been charged with selecting the teams," Iowa athletic director and CFP selection committee chairperson Gary Barta said in a statement.
"The committee's task is to rank the teams based on what happens on the field. This week gave us a great chance to catch up with the familiar faces and welcome our three new members to the process. If the board and management committee say we are having a CFP, we will be ready."
Barta’s Iowa Hawkeyes are a part of the Big Ten and are not playing in 2020. In the statement, the CFP said that the final rankings would be released on Dec. 20, the day after the final conference title games are scheduled to be played. Again, if there’s a season.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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