The AP Top 25 College Football Poll: A Barometer of Excellence

The Associated Press (AP) Top 25 College Football Poll is a weekly ranking system that captures the essence of the college football season. For both fans and teams alike, it serves as a barometer of excellence, providing a snapshot of who’s dominating the gridiron, who’s on the rise, and who’s facing challenges. This iconic ranking system has been an integral part of college football for decades, offering insight into the evolving landscape of this beloved sport.

The History of the AP Top 25

The AP Top 25 College Football Poll was first introduced in 1936 and has since grown to become a crucial element of the college football experience. This ranking system was created by sportswriters and sportscasters from across the United States, who formed the Associated Press to provide a comprehensive and independent assessment of the top college football teams.

While the AP poll is not the only ranking system used in college football, it is one of the most recognized and widely referenced. It plays a significant role in shaping public perception, as well as influencing other rankings and post-season selection committees.

Ranking Methodology

The AP Top 25 is determined by a panel of sports journalists who cast their votes to rank the top 25 college football teams in the country. These voters are selected by the AP and represent various regions and media outlets, ensuring a diverse and comprehensive view of the college football landscape. The ranking methodology is relatively straightforward, with each voter submitting their top 25 teams, and the results are aggregated to create the final poll.

Teams are awarded points based on their ranking, with the top team receiving 25 points, the second-ranked team earning 24 points, and so on, down to the 25th-ranked team receiving 1 point. The total points are then tallied, and the teams are ranked accordingly.

Week-to-Week Volatility

One of the most exciting aspects of the AP Top 25 is the week-to-week volatility. College football is known for its unpredictability, and this ranking system reflects that. A team’s performance in a given week can dramatically affect its ranking. A surprise upset or a dominant victory can lead to a significant jump or drop in the rankings.

This volatility keeps the college football season exciting and unpredictable, as teams work tirelessly to climb the rankings and secure their spot in the postseason. It also fosters an atmosphere of competition and determination, pushing teams to constantly improve and strive for excellence.

Post-Season Implications

The AP Top 25 has significant implications for the post-season, particularly in determining which teams receive invitations to prestigious bowl games and the College Football Playoff. While the AP poll itself does not officially dictate the bowl game selections, it heavily influences the decisions of bowl committees and playoff selection committees.

Teams that consistently rank in the top 10 or top 5 of the AP poll are often considered strong candidates for playoff spots. However, it’s important to note that the College Football Playoff uses a separate selection committee that takes a more comprehensive look at a team’s performance throughout the season.

Still, the AP Top 25 is a key factor in shaping public opinion and can influence the selection committee’s decisions, making it an essential part of the college football postseason landscape.

Fan Engagement

The AP Top 25 College Football Poll is a conversation starter for fans across the nation. It sparks debates, discussions, and predictions. Fans eagerly await the weekly release of the poll, and social media platforms buzz with reactions and opinions.

The rankings also serve as a powerful motivator for teams. Players and coaches take pride in earning a spot in the top 25 and use it as a source of motivation. Conversely, those teams that feel they are unfairly ranked or overlooked are determined to prove their worth on the field.

The AP Top 25 also provides a platform for underdog stories, allowing smaller programs to gain recognition and showcase their potential. When a non-powerhouse team breaks into the top 25, it often captures the hearts of fans nationwide, creating a compelling narrative.

Key Takeaways from the 2022 Season

Looking back at the 2022 college football season, the AP Top 25 provided some intriguing insights and storylines. Here are a few key takeaways from that season:

  1. Georgia Dominance: The Georgia Bulldogs consistently held the top spot in the AP poll throughout the season, showcasing their dominance on both sides of the ball. They ultimately won the National Championship, proving that the top ranking was well-deserved.
  2. Rise of Cincinnati: The Cincinnati Bearcats, a Group of Five team, broke into the top 4 of the AP poll, challenging the conventional narrative that only Power Five teams could compete at the highest level. Cincinnati’s success showed that a well-coached, talented team from outside the Power Five conferences could contend for a national championship.
  3. Alabama’s Resilience: The Alabama Crimson Tide faced a couple of early-season losses but managed to climb back into the top 4 by the end of the season. Their ability to rebound demonstrated the resilience of a program with a history of success.
  4. Surprise Performances: Throughout the season, several teams, including Michigan State, Baylor, and Ole Miss, enjoyed moments in the top 10 or top 15. These unexpected rises added an element of unpredictability to the season.


The AP Top 25 College Football Poll is a dynamic and essential part of the college football landscape. It provides insight, entertainment, and motivation for teams and fans alike. It’s a system that captures the ever-changing nature of college football, reflecting the sport’s unpredictability and excitement. The poll’s impact extends beyond ranking; it influences post-season opportunities, shapes narratives, and fosters a deep sense of community among college football enthusiasts. As the new season unfolds, the AP Top 25 will once again take center stage, guiding us through the highs and lows of college football.



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