Ohio State (1,504 points) was a No. 2 behind Trevor Lawrence and Clemson (1,520), which starts the ranking for the second straight season. The Tigers defeated the Buckeyes in an exciting college football playoff semifinal last season.
Alabama is No. 3, Southeastern Conference rival Georgia is No. 4 and defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma is No. 5. Defending national champion LSU is No. 6.
The 85th edition of the AP ranking will not be the same.
When the season begins – if the season begins – the Buckeyes and 53 other Bowl subdivision teams will no longer be eligible to make it to the top 25, as they postpone their season until spring.
The Big Ten, where Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State play, and the Pac-12, home to No. 9 Oregon, canceled their fall playing seasons due to concerns about coronoviruses. The Mid-American and Mountain West conferences have also stated that they will try to play spring football.
The SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, American Athletic, Conference USA and Sun Belt have been trying to pursue fall sports with changes. The remaining three Power 5 conferences, the SEC, the ACC, and the Big 12 have ended all or most of the illegal games and delayed their season start by one to three weeks.
A host of non-conferencing matchups tantalizing were erased from the college football schedule this year: Oregon State Oregon; No. 10 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Wisconsin at the Lambo Plain in Green Bay; No. 14 Texas at LSU; No. 17 Southern California vs. Alabama in Arlington, Texas; And No. 18 Auburn vs. No. 18 North Carolina in Atlanta.
For now, big conference games such as Ohio State-Michigan and Washington-Washington State can still be made in the spring.
All Division I teams qualified for the Presiden AP Top 25, but only teams scheduled to play in the fall are eligible, once the season begins. Of which 76 FBS teams are to leave.
If a spring season is played, AP will consider ranking for those teams as well.
back to back
Clemson had never been No. 1 until last season, and now starts there again. This is the eighth time that a team has been ranked No. 1 in two straight seasons since the presidential election began in 1950. Alabama, from 2016 to 2018, was a three-year runway 1.
The Tigers finished last season No. 2 after losing the championship game to LSU with a remarkable run of nine seasons, starting with Clemson ranking the same or better. This included the last five seasons in which Clemson surpassed his prescription ranking by finishing No. 1 twice after starting No. 2.
The ACC’s Tigers, who welcome back star running back Travis Etienne, stand to tackle Jackson Carman and strong defensive Tyler Davis, will seek to finish No. 1 as the 12th president to become No. 1. Only two teams have gone wire-to-wire as No. 1: Florida State in 1999 and USC in 2004.
LSU is the first defending national champion to start the next season outside of the top five since Auburn in 2011 (post-Cam Newton, the Tigers were ranked No. 23 in the preseason poll). LSU also lost a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and No. 1 overall NFL draft pick, Joe Burrow.
Myles Brennan is the new QB for the Tigers, who selected 14 players in the final draft, including five in the first round. A lot of talent is returning, with All-America receiver Ja’Marr Chase, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and nose tackle Tyler Shelvin.
The Tigers will try to become Alabama in 2011 and the first back-to-back National Champion since ’12.
Nice to see you here
• No. 18 North Carolina is ranked in Presiden for the first time since 2016.
• Number 19 makes its first appearance in the Cincinnati AP Presiden Poll. The Bearcats have ranked each of the last two seasons.
• No. 20 Minnesota is making its first pre-poll poll appearance since 2004. The Goffers were one of the surprise teams of last season, their best finale since 1962, with an unraked start and ending at No. 10.
Ohio State extended the longest active streak of preseason top 25 appearances with 32, followed by Oklahoma with 21, LSU with 20, Georgia with 19, Alabama with 13 and Clemson with nine.
The Buckeyes had 21 first-place votes in the preseason top 25 by a non-number. 1 team since Ohio State in 2008, when it also had 21 and was one behind top-ranked Georgia. Florida, which finished 5th with five first-place votes in 2008, won the national title that year.
The Southeast Conference leads, as always, with seven teams in the top 25, including six of the first 13 teams.
The Big Ten is with six, but when the regular season begins, No. 6 Penn State, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan, No. 19 Minnesota and No. 24 Iowa will no longer be eligible for the vote. The same goes for No. 9 Oregon, No. 17 USC and No. 22 UAC Off-12.
SEC: 7 (Nos. 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 25).
Big Ten: 6 (Nos. 2, 7, 12, 16, 19, 24).
Big 12: 4 (No. 5, 14, 15, 23).
ACC: 3 (No. 1, 10, 18).
Pac 12: 3 (Nos. 9, 17, 22).
American: 2 (No. 20, 21).