The Associated Press will rank the nation’s all-time top college football programs for the first time, as tabulated from its more than 1,100 weekly polls of top college football teams over the past 80 years.
The all-time ranking will be released on Aug. 2. They will be based on total poll appearances, number of times ranked No. 1 and AP national championships.
"College football is rich with history, and the AP poll is a unique measure of how the sport has changed through time," said Noreen Gillespie, deputy sports editor. "The all-time list lets fans interact with that history, and debate how the nation’s top programs fared over time."
The programs on the Top 100 list range from the first-ever team ranked No. 1 in an AP poll, Minnesota, to the most recent national champion, Alabama. Some schools on the list haven't appeared in an AP poll for generations, such as Duquesne (last appearance: Oct. 12, 1942), Fordham (Oct. 31, 1949) and Villanova (Oct. 15, 1951). Others no longer even field a football team, such as Santa Clara (Nov. 28, 1949).
The all-time rankings will be released to customers at 2 p.m. ET on Aug. 2 and posted on AP's college football site, collegefootball.ap.org. AP will also provide analysis and additional details.
Starting Aug. 15, AP will release a series of eight stories focused on trends and top teams during each decade of the AP poll, including the Notre Dame / Army rivalry of the 1940s, Miami's domination in the 1980s, and the rise of the South in the 2000s. The historical poll data also will be used in coverage of the upcoming season to provide a perspective unique to AP.
Now known as The AP Top 25, the poll originated with 20 teams, then was reduced to 10 teams from 1961 to 1967 before expanding back to 20. The poll then grew to 25 teams starting with the 1989 season.
The 2016 preseason AP Top 25 will be released on Aug. 21.
The AP Top 25 is determined by a simple points system based on how each voter ranks college football's best teams. A team receives 25 points for each first place vote, 24 for second place and so on through to the 25th team, which receives one point. The rankings are set by listing the teams' point totals from highest to lowest. The mathematical formula is the same as the one used for the AP Pro 32 rankings and the AP Top 25 rankings for men's and women's basketball.
The Associated Press began its college football poll on Oct. 19, 1936, It is now the longest-running poll of those that award national titles at the end of the season. A panel of 61 sports writers and broadcasters from around the country votes on the poll weekly. All of the voters have an extensive background in covering college football.
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