Where College Football Teams Who Start in the Preseason AP Top 25 Tend to Finish

The AP Top 25 Poll introduced its preseason poll in 1950, which means the release of Monday’s preseason AP Top 25 marked the conclusion of the seventh decade of the AP’s preseason poll. The AP poll arrived at its current, 25-team form in 1989 after previously ranking 20 teams (1936-61; 1968-88) and 10 teams (1962-67).

Inspired by ESPN’s Bill Connelly’s S&P+ history Twitter thread, wherein the college football advanced stats guru looks at the history of programs by examining their efficiency, explosiveness, field position and ability to finish drives in a given year, we looked at programs based upon where they have been ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll and where they were ranked at the end of every season since 1950.

The rankings data comes from sports-reference.com.

For each school, there are two different colors of dots/lines — one for the preseason and one for postseason.

If a school wasn’t ranked in the preseason and/or postseason, then there’s no dot for that year.

The most interesting observations come from schools that are frequently ranked in the preseason, but not the postseason (or vice versa), or schools that consistently improve upon their preseason ranking.

Schools are listed alphabetically below.

 

Alabama

Arizona

Arizona State

Arkansas

Auburn

Baylor

Boston College

California

Clemson

Colorado

Duke

Florida

Florida State

Georgia

Georgia Tech

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Iowa State

Kansas

Kansas State

Kentucky

Louisville

LSU

Maryland

Miami (FL)

Michigan

Michigan State

Minnesota

Mississippi State

Missouri

NC State

Nebraska

North Carolina

Northwestern

Notre Dame

Ohio State

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

Ole Miss

Oregon

Oregon State

Penn State

Pittsburgh

Purdue

Rutgers

South Carolina

Stanford

Syracuse

TCU

Tennessee

Texas

Texas A&M

Texas Tech

UCLA

USC

Utah

Vanderbilt

Virginia

Virginia Tech

Wake Forest

Washington

Washington State

West Virginia

Wisconsin

MORE: Brett McMurphy’s Instant Reactions to the AP Preseason Top 25 Poll