The preseason AP Poll gives us a look into how college football teams are regarded by the national media. It sets an expectation for what will occur in the coming year. Voters base their selections on things like performance the previous season, returning production, staff changes, recruiting, and a host of other criteria specific to each individual. Over time, a team’s standing in the preseason poll is the amount of respect they have or their pedigree. Which teams have the best pedigree over the last decade or so? To answer that question, I developed a simple system for rating teams based on their position in the preseason AP Poll. In a bit of creative inspiration, I called my metric Preseason AP Poll Points or PRAPPP. The way it works is simple: the top-ranked team in the preseason AP Poll receives 25 PRAPPP, the second ranked team receives 24 PRAPPP, and so on with the 25th ranked team receiving a solitary PRAPPP. I decided to look at PRAPPP dating back to 2005 for current Power Five teams. I used 2005 as a starting point for several reasons. 2005 is when the ‘Realignment Era’ began in earnest and it also happens to be when I started this blog and began paying very close attention to college football. I looked at current Power Five teams because the only current mid-majors consistently in the preseason poll are Boise State and BYU. With the backstory out of the way, here are the top ten teams in PRAPPP since 2005.
Since 2005, five teams have appeared in each iteration of the preseason AP Poll. I bet you can guess four of them, but the fifth may surprise you. Anyway, here are the teams with the most preseason AP Poll appearances since 2005.
Next, I thought it would be useful to compare PRAPPP by conference. This can give us an idea of which teams are the most well-regarded in their respective leagues. We’ll start with the ACC (this includes current ACC teams and the PRAPPP they have generated regardless of the conference they occupied at the time). For teams that have not appeared in the preseason AP Poll in the last twelve seasons, their last appearance is included in parentheses.
Now here are the Big 10 rankings.
Here are the Big 12 rankings.
Here are the Pac-12 rankings.
And finally, here are the SEC rankings.
I wanted to do a chart for each conference showing how PRAPPP changed over time for each team, but
with ten to fourteen teams included, the charts were hard to read and not very valuable. I still wanted to show some trends, so I made a few charts with no more than three teams and have included them here.
This concludes our look at PRAPPP. Thankfully, the AP also conducts a poll when the season is over (and every week throughout the year). While the preseason poll is about expectations and reputation, the postseason poll should be about results and achievement. In the next post, we’ll look at how Power Five teams stack up in regards to the postseason AP Poll. Stay tuned.