Florida State is followed by Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Ohio State. Auburn is sixth followed by UCLA,
We temper the poll release news because Florida State is an obvious No. 1 choice, coming off a 14-0 season in which it returns
Also, the venerated
The AP poll, which started in 1936, had always been an independent and important arbiter in the murky world of deciding No. 1 in a sport that had refused, until now, to stage any kind of playoff.
The AP, in 2003, independently crowned USC as national champions even though Louisiana State won the
It wasn't the first time the AP poll split with the voting coaches.
In 1997, the year before the BCS, Michigan was No. 1 in both polls entering its
The USA Today coaches, however, dropped Michigan after a win and instead awarded its share of the title Nebraska. Some saw it as a going-away present for retiring coach Tom Osborne.
The AP also allowed USC to keep its 2004 title even after the Trojans were forced to vacate their BCS title after
The impact of college football polls, however, becomes significantly diminished this year as a 13-person selection committee will choose the four-team playoff field.
The AP will still crown an independent champion, but it seems unlikely it would not be a team that won a two-game playoff test against top five teams in the nation.
Here's the complete AP pre-season poll (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. Florida St. (57); 2. Alabama (1); 3. Oregon (1); 4. Oklahoma (1); 5. Ohio St.; 6. Auburn; 7. UCLA; 8. Michigan St.; 9. South Carolina; 10. Baylor
11. Stanford; 12. Georgia; 13. LSU; 14. Wisconsin; 15. USC; 16. Clemson; 17.