AP Poll

The Associated Press (AP Poll) provides weekly rankings of the top 25 NCAA teams in one of three Division I college sports: football, men's basketball and women's basketball. The rankings are compiled by polling 65 sportswriters and broadcasters from across the nation.[1] Each voter provides his own ranking of the top 25 teams, and the individual rankings are then combined to produce the national ranking by giving a team 25 points for a first place vote, 24 for a second place vote, and so on down to 1 point for a twenty-fifth place vote. Ballots of the voting members in the AP Poll are made public.[2]

Inaugural AP polls
Div I/FBS football1936
Div I/FCS football1978
Div I men's basketball1948–49
Div I women's basketball1976–77
Current AP polls
FBS football2018 season
FCS football2018 season
Div I men's basketball2018–19 season
Div I women's basketball2018–19 season

College football

The football poll is released Sundays at 2pm Eastern time during the football season, unless ranked teams have not finished their games.

History

The AP college football poll has a long history. The news media began running their own polls of sports writers to determine who was, by popular opinion, the best football team in the country at the end of the season. One of the earliest such polls was the AP College Football Poll, first run in 1934.[3] In 1935, AP sports editor Alan J. Gould declared a three-way tie for national champion in football between Minnesota, Princeton, and Southern Methodist. Minnesota fans protested, and a number of Gould's colleagues led by Charles "Cy" Sherman suggested he create a poll of sports editors instead of only using his own list, and the next year the poll was born.[4] It has run continuously from 1936.[5]

Due to the long-standing historical ties between individual college football conferences and high-paying bowl games like the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl, the NCAA had not held a tournament or championship game to determine the champion of what is now the highest division, NCAA Division I, Football Bowl Subdivision (the Division I, Football Championship Subdivision and lower divisions do hold championship tournaments). As a result, the public and the media began to acknowledge the leading vote-getter in the final AP Poll as the national champion for that season.

While the AP Poll currently lists the Top 25 teams in the nation, from 1936 to 1961 the wire service only ranked 20 teams. From 1962 to 1967 only 10 teams were recognized. From 1968 to 1988, the AP again resumed its Top 20 before expanding to the current 25 teams in 1989.

The AP began conducting a preseason poll starting in 1950.[6][7]

At the end of the 1947 season the AP released an unofficial post-bowl poll which differed from the regular season final poll.[8] Until the 1968 college football season, the final AP poll of the season was released following the end of the regular season, with the lone exception of the 1965 season. In 1964, Alabama was named the national champion in the final AP Poll following the completion of the regular season, but lost in the Orange Bowl to Texas, leaving Arkansas as the only undefeated, untied team after the Razorbacks defeated Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl Classic. In 1965, the AP's decision to wait to crown its champion paid handsomely, as top-ranked Michigan State lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl, number two Arkansas lost to LSU in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and fourth-ranked Alabama defeated third-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, vaulting the Crimson Tide to the top of the AP's final poll (Michigan State was named national champion in the final UPI Coaches Poll, which did not conduct a post-bowl poll).

Beginning in the 1968 season, the post bowl game poll became permanent and the AP championship reflected the bowl game results. The UPI did not follow suit with the coaches' poll until the 1974 season.

No. 1 vs. No. 2

As of the completion of the 2015 season the number one ranked team has faced the number two ranked team 50 times since the inception of the AP Poll in 1936.[9] The number one team has a record of 28–20–2 against the number two team.[9]

No. 1 vs. No. 2 games
Light blue indicates bowl game
Season No. 1 Result No. 2 Site Event
1943 Notre Dame 35–12 Michigan Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, MI 1943 Michigan–Notre Dame football rivalry game
1943 Notre Dame 14–13 Iowa Pre-Flight Notre Dame StadiumNotre Dame, IN
1944 Army 23–7 Navy Baltimore StadiumBaltimore, MD 1944 Army–Navy Game
1945 Army 48–0 Notre Dame Yankee StadiumBronx, NY 1945 Army–Notre Dame football rivalry game
1945 Army 32-13 Navy Philadelphia Municipal StadiumPhiladelphia, PA 1945 Army–Navy Game
1946 Army 0–0 Notre Dame Yankee Stadium • Bronx, NY 1946 Army vs. Notre Dame football game
1962 USC 42–37 Wisconsin Rose Bowl StadiumPasadena, CA 1963 Rose Bowl
1963 Oklahoma 7–28 Texas Cotton BowlDallas, TX 1963 Red River Shootout game
1963 Texas 28–6 Navy Cotton Bowl • Dallas, TX 1964 Cotton Bowl Classic
1966 Notre Dame 10–10 Michigan State Spartan StadiumEast Lansing, MI 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game
1968 Purdue 37–22 Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN 1968 Shillelagh Trophy game
1968 Ohio State 27–16 USC Rose Bowl Stadium • Pasadena, CA 1969 Rose Bowl
1969 Texas 15–14 Arkansas Razorback StadiumFayetteville, AR 1969 Texas vs. Arkansas football game
1971 Nebraska 35–31 Oklahoma Oklahoma Memorial StadiumNorman, OK 1971 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma football game
1971 Nebraska 38–6 Alabama Miami Orange BowlMiami, FL 1972 Orange Bowl
1978 Penn State 7–14 Alabama Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, LA 1979 Sugar Bowl
1981 USC 28–24 Oklahoma Los Angeles ColiseumLos Angeles
1982 Georgia 23–27 Penn State Louisiana Superdome • New Orleans, LA 1983 Sugar Bowl
1985 Iowa 12–10 Michigan Kinnick StadiumIowa City, IA
1986 Oklahoma 16–28 Miami Miami Orange Bowl • Miami, FL
1986 Miami 10–14 Penn State Sun Devil StadiumTempe, AZ 1987 Fiesta Bowl
1987 Nebraska 7–17 Oklahoma Memorial StadiumLincoln, NE 1987 Nebraska–Oklahoma football rivalry game
1987 Oklahoma 14–20 Miami Miami Orange Bowl • Miami, FL 1988 Orange Bowl
1988 Notre Dame 27–10 USC Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles 1988 Jeweled Shillelagh game
1989 Notre Dame 24–19 Michigan Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI 1989 Michigan–Notre Dame football rivalry game
1991 Florida State 16–17 Miami Doak Campbell StadiumTallahassee, FL 1991 Miami vs. Florida State football game
1992 Miami 13–34 Alabama Louisiana Superdome • New Orleans, LA 1993 Sugar Bowl
1993 Florida State 24–31 Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN 1993 Florida State vs. Notre Dame football game
1993 Florida State 18–16 Nebraska Miami Orange Bowl • Miami, FL 1994 Orange Bowl
1995 Nebraska 62–24 Florida Sun Devil Stadium • Tempe, AZ 1996 Fiesta Bowl
1996 Florida 21–24 Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium • Tallahassee, FL 1996 Florida–Florida State football rivalry game
1998 Tennessee 23–16 Florida State Sun Devil Stadium • Tempe, AZ 1999 Fiesta Bowl
1999 Florida State 46–29 Virginia Tech Louisiana Superdome • New Orleans, LA 2000 Sugar Bowl
2002 Miami 24–31 2OT Ohio State Sun Devil Stadium • Tempe, AZ 2003 Fiesta Bowl
2004 USC 55–19 Oklahoma Pro Player StadiumMiami Gardens, FL 2005 Orange Bowl
2005 USC 38–41 Texas Rose Bowl Stadium • Pasadena, CA 2006 Rose Bowl
2006 Ohio State 24–7 Texas Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial StadiumAustin, TX
2006 Ohio State 42–39 Michigan Ohio StadiumColumbus, OH 2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State football game
2006 Ohio State 14–41 Florida University of Phoenix StadiumGlendale, AZ 2007 BCS National Championship Game
2007 Ohio State 24–38 LSU Louisiana Superdome • New Orleans, LA 2008 BCS National Championship Game
2008 Alabama 20–31 Florida Georgia DomeAtlanta, GA 2008 SEC Championship Game
2008 Florida 24–14 Oklahoma Sun Life Stadium • Miami Gardens, FL 2009 BCS National Championship Game
2009 Florida 13–32 Alabama Georgia Dome • Atlanta, GA 2009 SEC Championship Game
2009 Alabama 37–21 Texas Rose Bowl Stadium • Pasadena, CA 2010 BCS National Championship Game
2010 Auburn 22–19 Oregon University of Phoenix Stadium • Glendale, AZ 2011 BCS National Championship Game
2011 LSU 9–6 OT Alabama Bryant–Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL 2011 LSU vs. Alabama football game
2011 LSU 0–21 Alabama Mercedes-Benz Superdome • New Orleans, LA 2012 BCS National Championship Game
2012 Notre Dame 14–42 Alabama Sun Life Stadium • Miami Gardens, FL 2013 BCS National Championship Game
2013 Florida State 34–31 Auburn Rose Bowl · Pasadena, CA 2014 BCS National Championship Game
2015 Clemson 40–45 Alabama University of Phoenix Stadium · Glendale, AZ 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship
2018 Alabama 16–44 Clemson Levi's Stadium · Santa Clara, CA 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship

AP Poll inclusion in the BCS

In 1997, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was developed to try to unify the poll results by picking two teams for a "real" national championship game. For the first several years the AP Poll factored in the determination of the BCS rankings, along with other factors including the Coaches Poll and computer-based polls. Because of a series of controversies surrounding the BCS, the AP demanded in December, 2004, that its poll no longer be used in the BCS rankings,[10] and so the 2004–2005 season was the last season that the AP Poll was used for this purpose.

In the 2003 season the BCS system broke down when the final BCS standings ranked the University of Southern California (USC) at No. 3 while the two human polls in the system had ranked USC at No. 1. As a result, USC did not play in the BCS' designated national championship game. After defeating another highly ranked team, Michigan, in its final game, the AP Poll kept USC at No. 1 while the Coaches Poll was contractually obligated to select the winner of the BCS game, Louisiana State University (LSU), as the No. 1 team. The resulting split national title was the very problem that the BCS was created to solve, and has been widely considered an embarrassment.[11]

In 2004, a new controversy erupted at the end of the season when Auburn and Utah, who both finished the regular season 12–0, were left out of the BCS title game in favor of Oklahoma who also was 12–0 and had won decisively over Colorado in the Big 12 Championship game. USC went on to a win easily over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl while Auburn and Utah both won their bowl games, leaving three undefeated teams at the end of the season. Also, in that same year, Texas made up late ground on California (Cal) in the BCS standings and as a result grabbed a high-payout, at-large spot in the Rose Bowl. Previous to that poll, Cal had been ranked ahead of Texas in both human polls and the BCS poll. Going into their final game, the Golden Bears were made aware that while margin of victory did not affect computer rankings, it did affect human polls and just eight voters changing their vote could affect the final standings.[12] Both teams won their game that week, but the Texas coach, Mack Brown, had made a public effort to lobby for his team to be moved higher in the ranking. When the human polls were released, Texas remained behind Cal, but it had closed the gap enough so that the BCS poll (which determines placement) placed Texas above Cal, angering both Cal and its conference, the Pac-10.[13] The final poll positions had been unchanged with Cal at No. 4 AP, No. 4 coaches, and No. 6 computers polls and Texas at No. 6 AP, No. 5 coaches, and No. 4 computer polls.[13] The AP Poll voters were caught in the middle because their vote changes were automatically made public, while the votes of the Coaches poll were kept confidential. Although there had been a more substantial shift in the votes of the Coaches Poll, the only clear targets for the ire of fanatical fans were the voters in the AP Poll. While officials from both Cal and the Pac-10 called for the coaches' votes to be made public, the overtures were turned down and did little to solve the problem of AP voters. Cal went on to lose to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl. Texas defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Many members of the press who voted in the AP Poll were upset by the controversy and, at the behest of its members, the AP asked that its poll no longer be used in the BCS rankings. The 2004 season was the last season that the AP Poll was used in the BCS rankings, it was replaced in the BCS equation by the newly created Harris Interactive College Football Poll.[14]

Other media football polls

The AP Poll is not the only college football poll. The other major poll is the Coaches Poll, which has been sponsored by several organizations: the United Press (1950–1957), the United Press International (1958–1990), USA Today (1991–present), CNN (1991–1996), and ESPN (1997–2005). Having two major polls has led to numerous "split" national titles, where the two polls disagreed on the No. 1 team. This has occurred on eleven different occasions (1954, 1957, 1965, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1991, 1997, 2003).

College basketball

In Division I men's and women's college basketball, the AP Poll is largely just a tool to compare schools throughout the season and spark debate, as it has no bearing on postseason play. Generally, all top 25 teams in the poll are invited to the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournament, also known as March Madness. The poll is usually released every Monday and voters' ballots are made public.[15]

Men's basketball

The AP began compiling a ranking of the top 20 college men's basketball teams during the 1948–1949 season. It has issued this poll continuously since the 1950–1951 season. Beginning with the 1989-1990 season, the poll expanded to 25 teams. Duke has the most appearances atop the rankings.[16]

Women's basketball

The women's basketball poll began during the 1976–1977 season, and was initially compiled by Mel Greenberg and published by The Philadelphia Inquirer. At first, it was a poll of coaches conducted via telephone, where coaches identified top teams and a list of the Top 20 team was produced. The initial list of coaches did not include Pat Summitt, who asked to join the group, not to improve her rankings, but because of the lack of media coverage, Summitt believed it would be a good way to stay on top of who the top teams were outside of her own schedule.[17] The contributors continued to be coaches until 1994, when the AP took over administration of the poll from Greenberg, and switched to a panel of writers.[18] In 1994, Tennessee started out as No. 1 in the polls with Connecticut at No. 4. After losses by the No. 2 and No. 3 teams, Tennessee and Connecticut were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, headed into a showdown, scheduled as a special event on Martin Luther King day, the only women's basketball game scheduled on that day. Because of the unusual circumstances, the decision was made to hold off the AP voting for one day, to ensure it would be after the game. Connecticut won the game, and moved into first place in the AP poll, published on Tuesday for the only time. (Connecticut went on to complete an undefeated season.)[19] Over the history of the poll, over 255 coaches have had a team represented in polls.[20]

NFL football

Beginning in 2012, the AP began issuing a weekly pro football ranking, the AP Pro32 rankings.[21]

See also

References

  1. ^ Associated Press voters 2013 retrieved 2 January 2014 Archived 15 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "AP College Poll Voters [Football]". Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009.
  3. ^ "November 15, 1934 AP Football Poll". College Poll Archive – Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings. 1934-11-15. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  4. ^ Halberstam, David. Breaking news: how the Associated Press has covered war, peace, and everything else. Princeton Architectural Press, 2007. p150-151
  5. ^ "1936 Final Football Polls". College Poll Archive – Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings. Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  6. ^ Ellis, Zac (2013-08-17). "AP Poll: Alabama, Ohio State headline first preseason rankings". Campus Union - SI.com. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
  7. ^ "5 things to know about the AP preseason poll - TimesDaily: College". 18 August 2013. Archived from the original on 18 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  8. ^ The official final AP poll, taken before the bowls, had Notre Dame No. 1 (107 first place votes) and Michigan No. 2 (25 first place votes). Michigan won the Rose Bowl 49–0 over USC while Notre Dame did not play in a bowl game. Detroit Free Press sports editor Lyall Smith arranged a post-bowl AP poll with only Michigan or Notre Dame as choices. Michigan won that poll 266–119.Kyrk, John. Natural Enemies. pp. 142–7. ISBN 1-58979-090-1.
  9. ^ a b AP No. 1 vs. No. 2 games. Associated Press, August 13, 2008
  10. ^ AP Removes Its Poll From BCS, ncaasports.com, Dec. 22, 2004, Accessed June 6, 2006.
  11. ^ Tim Layden, Embarrassing moments in College Football (#10), SportsIllustrated.com, Aug. 2, 2006 , Accessed Aug. 2, 2006.
  12. ^ Kelly Whiteside = California bears burden of making point that it's BCS-worthy. USA TODAY, November 29, 2004
  13. ^ a b *"2004 BCS Standings, BCS Rankings" (PDF). The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  14. ^ BCS Replaces AP Poll, ncaasports.com, July 12, 2005, Accessed June 6, 2006.
  15. ^ "AP College Poll Voters [Men's Basketball]". College Poll Tracker.
  16. ^ "Total AP Men's BB Poll Appearances Summary - College Poll Archive - Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings". collegepollarchive.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  17. ^ Greenberg, Mel. ""The stare" may have been Summitt's trademark, but it did not define her true personality". FullCourt.com. Retrieved 8 Nov 2012.
  18. ^ "Mel Greenberg Class of 2004/2005 – Sports Writer". Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 1 Oct 2017.
  19. ^ Mel Greenberg, Mel. "Guru's College Special: How A Previous NHL Lockout Enhanced WBB To UConn's Benefit". Womhoops Guru. Retrieved 8 Nov 2012.
  20. ^ Greenberg, Mel. "Guru's College Report: Associated Press Preseason Poll Trivia". Womhoops Guru. Retrieved 8 Nov 2012.
  21. ^ Wilner, Barry (31 July 2012). "Packers top first-ever AP Pro32 rankings". The Washington Times. Retrieved 31 July 2012.

External links

1936 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1936 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year. 1936 was the first year of operation for the AP Poll.

1937 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1937 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1938 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1938 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1939 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1939 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1939 college football season

The 1939 college football season concluded with the Aggies of The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M) being named as the national champions by the voters in the Associated Press writers' poll.

The Volunteers of the University of Tennessee were unbeaten and untied, and unscored upon, shutting out all of their opponents in ten games; but for the second straight year, they finished second in the poll. The final AP Poll in this era came out before postseason bowl games and, in the 1940 Rose Bowl, the Volunteers were unable to hold everyone scoreless, with the University of Southern California registering two touchdowns and beating them 14-0. As a consequence, the Dickinson System named USC, which had been ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll before the bowl games, the national champion. As a result, the USC Trojans now claim a share of the 1939 title. However, USC did not begin recognizing 1939 as a national championship until 2004.The first AP Poll of the season was taken after four weeks of play, starting with October 16. Each writer listed his choice for the top ten teams, and points were tallied based on 10 for first place, 9 for second, etc., and the AP then ranked the twenty teams with the highest number of points.

1940 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1940 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1943 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1943 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1943 college football season

The 1943 college football season concluded with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame crowned as the nation’s #1 team by a majority of the voters in the AP Poll, followed by the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks as the runner-up. For the third time in the history of the AP Poll, a team that had lost a game was named mythical national champion; (Minnesota 1936 and Ohio State 1942). Notre Dame lost its final game of the season, a Chicago contest against the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Along the way, however, the Fighting Irish had played one of the toughest college schedules ever, beating two #2 ranked teams (Michigan and Iowa Pre-Flight) and two #3 ranked teams (Navy and Army). Purdue University would seemingly have a claim on the 1943 Championship as well as the only undefeated team playing a full schedule, but the Purdue athletic department has never pursued the claim.

In 1943, as many as 131 sportswriters participated in the AP poll, which included, for the first time, “service teams“. Drawn from flight schools and training centers for participants in World War II, the service teams played against the colleges. At the same time, a number of universities suspended their football programs. Most of the members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) -- Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt -- did not field teams in 1943. In addition, Pacific Coast Conference teams Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, and Stanford, did not play, nor did Boston College, the Citadel, Duquesne, Fordham, Harvard, Michigan State, Syracuse, and William & Mary.

1944 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1944 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1944 college football season

The 1944 college football season was played during the Second World War. The football team of the United States Military Academy, more popularly known as Army, was crowned as the nation’s #1 team by 95 of the 121 writers who participated in the AP Poll. As in 1943, the AP poll included service teams, drawn from flight schools and training centers which were preparing men for fighting in World War II, and the teams played against the colleges as part of their schedules. Half of the final Top 20 teams were composed of service teams, in addition to the two service academies at West Point and Annapolis. Most colleges that had suspended their programs in 1943 were back in 1944, including the entire Southeastern Conference.

In the AP poll, each participating writer listed his choice for the top ten teams, and points were tallied based on 10 for first place, 9 for second, etc., and the AP then ranked the top twenty results.

1945 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1945 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1947 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1947 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1948 NCAA football rankings

One human poll comprised the 1948 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football rankings. Unlike most sports, college football's governing body, the NCAA, does not bestow a national championship, instead that title is bestowed by one or more different polling agencies. There are two main weekly polls that begin in the preseason—the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. The Coaches' Poll began operation in 1950; in addition, the AP Poll did not begin conducting preseason polls until that same year.

1954 Ohio State Buckeyes football team

The 1954 Ohio State Buckeyes football team represented the Ohio State University in the 1954 Big Ten Conference football season. The team was led by quarterback Dave Leggett and captains John Borton and Dick Brubaker. They were the second national title team in Ohio State football history. They were coached by Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes. The Buckeyes were awarded the title by the AP Poll and represented the Big Ten Conference in the Rose Bowl.

The Buckeyes finished the 1953 season with a record of 6–3. They were ranked #20 in the preseason AP Poll, but dropped out of the first in-season poll, which was issued before their season opener. However, six weeks later, the Buckeyes had risen to the top of the AP Poll. Their rise from unranked to #1 in six weeks stood as an AP Poll record for 60 years until being broken by Mississippi State in 2014. The Buckeyes defeated six ranked teams to capture their first league title under fourth year Coach Hayes.

Led by their powerful defense, the Bucks beat the #2 Wisconsin Badgers and their eventual Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche on an 88-yard interception return by Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, who won the award the following year. The Buckeye defense forced 35 turnovers during the season and allowed only two teams to score more than one touchdown

In their game against the Michigan Wolverines, the Bucks held a goal-line stand and then drove 99 yards for a touchdown. The AP Poll declared the Bucks to be number one while the UPI Coaches Poll opted for the 9–0, Pacific Coast Conference champion the UCLA Bruins. However, because of the "no repeat rule" the Bruins were locked out of the Rose Bowl leaving the Buckeyes to play second place USC.

The 1955 Rose Bowl was played during a rainstorm in poor field conditions. However, Ohio State managed to gain 304 yards and hold the Trojans to only six first downs. USC's only score came on an 86-yard punt return. The team finished 10–0 for the first time in school history.

1954 college football season

The 1954 college football season saw three teams finish unbeaten and untied, with Ohio State Buckeyes and the UCLA Bruins sharing the national championship as the #1 picks of the AP Poll and the UPI Poll, respectively. Although the winners of the Big Ten and the Pacific conferences normally met in the Rose Bowl, a "no repeat" prevented the two champions from meeting. UCLA, which had been in the Rose Bowl earlier in the year, was replaced by conference runner-up USC.

During the 20th century, the NCAA had no playoff for the college football teams that would later be described as "Division I-A". The NCAA did recognize a national champion based upon the final results of "wire service" (AP and UPI) polls. The extent of that recognition came in the form of acknowledgment in the annual NCAA Football Guide of the "unofficial" national champions. The AP poll in 1954 consisted of the votes of as many as 419 sportswriters.Though not all writers voted in every poll, each would give their opinion of the twenty best teams. Under a point system of 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined. Although the rankings were based on the collective opinion of the representative sportswriters, the teams that remained "unbeaten and untied" were generally ranked higher than those that had not. A defeat, even against a strong opponent, tended to cause a team to drop in the rankings, and a team with two or more defeats was unlikely to remain in the Top 20. Generally, the top teams played on New Year's Day in the four major postseason bowl games: the Rose Bowl (near Los Angeles at Pasadena), the Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), the Orange Bowl (Miami), and the Cotton Bowl (Dallas).

In 1954, a limit of 10 games per season, excluding a bowl game, was imposed on all teams, with the exception that existing contracts would not be changed.

1964 NCAA University Division football season

The NCAA was without a playoff for the major college football teams in the University Division, later known as Division I-A, during the 20th century. The NCAA recognizes Division I-A national champions based on the final results of polls including the "wire service" (AP and UPI), FWAA and NFF. The 1964 AP poll continued to rank only ten teams, compiling the votes of 55 sportswriters, each of whom would give their opinion of the ten best. Under a point system of 10 points for first place, 9 for second, etc., the "overall" ranking was determined.

In the preseason poll, Mississippi (Ole Miss Rebels) was first with 425 points and the Oklahoma Sooners second with 400 points. As the regular season progressed, an updated poll was issued on Mondays; and the "writers' poll" by Associated Press (AP) was the most popular.The Associated Press presented the AP Trophy to the Alabama Crimson Tide due to their 10–0 regular season record and their #1 finish in the AP poll. The Arkansas Razorbacks also had a 10–0 regular season in 1964, but finished #2 in the final AP poll. On New Year's Day, the Crimson Tide lost to #5 Texas Longhorns 21–17 in the Orange Bowl to finish the season with a 10–1 record. Arkansas had beaten the defending national champions, then #1, at Austin in October, and finished its season undefeated, 11–0, with a 10–7 win over seventh-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Cotton Bowl.

Since there were no further polls, Alabama's national championship was unaffected, despite Arkansas' undefeated, untied season and its win over the common opponent. The UPI Poll in 1964 also named its national champion before the bowl games were played. However, Arkansas was named national champion by the Football Writers Association of America. After a one-year trial run in 1965, the AP Poll began its current practice of naming their national champion at the conclusion of the bowl games in 1968. The UPI Poll followed suit in 1974, after its choice for national champions in each of 1965, 1970, and 1973 lost their respective bowl games.

1979 NCAA Division I-A football season

The 1979 NCAA Division I-A football season saw the Alabama Crimson Tide bring home a national title with a perfect 12-0 season. The title was Alabama's 11th claimed, and their 6th Associated Press awarded title.

This was an extremely dominant Alabama team, only giving up 67 points the entire season and shutting out five opponents. The team won a tight game against LSU 3-0 and beat Auburn by a touchdown before beating Arkansas 24-9 in the Sugar Bowl.

There was very little movement at the top of the rankings throughout the season, as only three different teams held the top spot in the AP poll and only two in the UPI poll. USC was the pre-season top-ranked team, and held the number one ranking until a 21–21 tie with Stanford, a game USC led at halftime 21–0. A fumbled hold on the snap from center cost the Trojans a chance at a last-second field goal. Stanford was led by quarterback Turk Schonert, while freshman John Elway served as his backup. USC ended up finishing second in the country, but running back Charles White brought home the Heisman Trophy.

Number 2 Alabama then took over the top spot and never relinquished that position in the UPI poll. In the AP poll, however, Ohio State took over the top spot in the last regular season poll of the season. Ohio State had defeated #13 Michigan in Ann Arbor by a score of 18–15 to earn the Big 10 title. Two weeks later, Alabama defeated #14 Auburn 25-18 in Birmingham, but the AP voters saw fit to jump Ohio State ahead of them.

Thus, Ohio State came within one point of a national title under first-year coach Earle Bruce, who replaced coach Woody Hayes, falling to USC 17–16 in the Rose Bowl after an undefeated season.

1991–92 NCAA Division I men's basketball season

The 1991–92 NCAA Division I men's basketball season began in November 1991 and ended with the Final Four at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 6, 1992.

2004 NCAA Division I-A football season

The 2004 NCAA Division I-A football season was the highest level of college football competition in the United States organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The regular season began on August 28, 2004 and ended on December 4, 2004. The postseason concluded on January 4, 2005 with the Orange Bowl, which served as the season's BCS National Championship Game.

USC defeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl by a score of 55–19, which earned the Trojans their second consecutive AP title and first-ever BCS title. The Orange Bowl win and accompanying BCS title were later vacated as part of the sanctions levied against USC following an NCAA investigation. USC appealed the decision but was denied by the NCAA, and the 2004 BCS title was officially vacated on June 6, 2011.

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