AP will include teams sitting out fall in preseason poll

Teams from Big Ten, Pac-12 won't be ranked once season begins
Ohio State Buckeyes QB Justin Fields runs from Clemson Tigers during College Football Playoff semifinal at Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 28, 2019
Posted at 8:28 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 20:28:47-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Associated Press will include teams that won't be playing this fall in its annual preseason rankings.

A panel of 62 sports writers and broadcasters who cast their votes in the AP top 25 have been directed to consider all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in their 2020 preseason ballots.

"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," Michael Giarusso, AP's global sports editor, said. "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."

However, once the season begins -- if it begins -- voters will only rank the teams that play.

"Once games kick off, it does not make sense to rank teams that are not participating," Giarusso said.

The coronavirus pandemic has already spoiled any fall football plans for coaches, players and fans of teams from two Power 5 conferences. The Big Ten and Pacific 12 conferences decided to postpone fall sports, while the other major conferences -- the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference and Southeastern Conference -- are still planning a truncated fall season.

As of Friday, 67 out of 130 FBS teams are slated to begin play next month.

So what will it mean for the top 25 if there is college football in the spring?

"The AP and our voters have no idea what a spring football season will look like," Giarusso said. "But we are open to adapting and finding a way for our top 25 voters to be involved in ranking teams if real games are played in the spring of 2021."

Nine teams that won't be playing in the fall were ranked in the top 25 preseason coaches poll released earlier this month. Three of those teams -- No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Penn State and No. 9 Oregon -- were ranked among the top 10.

The preseason AP poll will be released Aug. 24.