To help you with your planning ahead of the college football season, we will have the following stories, photos and more ahead of the season. This digest is subject to change and will be updated throughout the month of August. For questions, please call 212-621-1630 or email Dave Zelio (dzelio(at)ap.org). All times Eastern.
Updates sent items. Adds FBC–T25-ALABAMA-HURTS’ ENCORE, FBC–T25-FLORIDA STATE-DEFENSE, FBC–LSU-ORGERON, FBC–BIG TEN-NEW COACHES and FBC–GEORGIA STATE STADIUM.
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TOP 25 POLL
The 2017 preseason AP Top 25 was released on Monday, Aug. 21. The weekly poll will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and will then be sent every Sunday at 2 p.m. through the regular season. The final poll will be sent roughly an hour after the national championship game of Monday, Jan. 8. This is the 82nd year of the Top 25 poll.
FBC–T25-COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL
Alabama is No. 1 in the preseason Top 25, the first program in 12 years to take the top spot two years in a row. The Crimson Tide will start the season ranked in the top five of The Associated Press preseason media poll for the ninth consecutive time. Ohio State, Florida State, Southern Cal and Clemson round out the top five. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 800 words, photos, agate lists on Aug. 21.
FBC–T25-TOP 25-HEAT CHECK
The AP preseason Top 25 is out and for all those fans feeling good about their ranked team to start the season, here is some information to spoil the fun. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 2000 words, photos Aug. 22.
FBC–T25-AP PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM
Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley highlight the first preseason All-America team in the history of The Associated Press. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 795 words, photos Aug. 22. With agate list.
All Power Five team previews, written in a things-to-know style, were sent on Thursday, Aug. 10.
Aug. 7: SEC, Pac 12
Aug. 8: Big Ten, Atlantic Coast
Aug. 9: Big 12, Mountain West
Aug. 12: American Athletic, Sun Belt, Conference USA, SWAC
Aug. 13: Mid-American
The two-a-day football practices that coaches once used to toughen up their teams and cram for the start of the season are going the way of tear-away jerseys and the wishbone formation. As part of its efforts to increase safety, the NCAA approved a plan this year that prevents teams from holding multiple practices with contact in a single day. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 900 words, photos on July 26.
FBC–SHORTENING LONG GAMES
Give us action, and make it fast. The lords of sports know how Americans like their games. To keep fans engaged – in the stands or on TV or mobile devices – the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball have taken steps to shorten games. Now it’s college football’s turn. By Eric Olson. SENT: 840 words, photos on July 31.
Football has been slower to become immersed in the type of statistical analysis and data-based decision-making that has revolutionized sports such as baseball and basketball. But it’s happening: An increasing number of college football programs are using analytics to decide everything from when to go on fourth down to what prospect to offer a scholarship. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 1000 words, photos on Aug. 5.
FBC–CASE FOR TARGETING
College football’s most hated rule turns five years old in 2017. Targeting, which penalizes players for hits to the head with ejections, drives coaches, players and especially fans crazy. But an attempt to dial back the harshness of the penalty was shot down this offseason. Targeting is here to stay and its supporters are adamant that it is a necessary part of the evolution of college football. SENT: 850 words, photos Aug. 12.
FBC–HOW TO GAME PLAN
Touting the strength of a schedule has become all the rage in the College Football Playoff era. Schools and conferences want to schedule to impress the selection committee, but the driving factor in most scheduling decisions is the bottom line. And those considerations change drastically from school to school and conference to conference. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 800 words, photos on Aug. 17.
Teams all over the country are choosing captains as the college football season approaches. They’re looking for those hard-working, high-character players who set an example for teammates to follow through both actions and words. At least that’s what coaches are hoping will happen. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 1000 words, photos Aug. 19.
The Pac-12 has been called the Conference of Quarterbacks and it looks like it will really live up to that this season. USC’s Sam Darnold leads a strong group of returning QBs, including Jake Browning of Washington and Josh Rosen of UCLA. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 1200 words, photos Aug. 22.
– FBC–T25-WASHINGTON ST-FALK’S FAREWELL. By Tim Booth. SENT: 900 words, photos Aug. 23.
FBC–BIG TEN-NEW COACHES
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The next generation of Big Ten coaches could give the league a different look. Jeff Brohm and P.J. Fleck are young, creative coaches moving their way up. Tom Allen has cloaked a new-age philosophy into an old-school mentality. No, it won’t be easy breaking through in a league that already has so many big-name coaches. But all three think they can get the job done at schools that have traditionally struggled to finish in the upper half of the Big Ten. By Michael Marot. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 6 p.m. Aug. 24.
PROFILES and FEATURES:
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The pain of Alabama’s national championship game loss was still fresh when Jalen Hurts closed the book on his mostly terrific freshman season. Time to get back to work. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 3 p.m. Aug. 25.
– FBC–BAMA’S BACKFIELD. Bo Scarbrough appears likely to start as the featured back for the loaded Crimson Tide. By John Zenor. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 15.
FBC–PENN ST-SAQUON STRONG
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is a firm believer in the idea that championships runs start in the weight room. Barkley, who benches 420 pounds, squats 600 and recently power cleaned a ridiculous 420 pounds is not only one of the best players in the country, but he might be – pound-for-pound – the strongest. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 800 words, photos Aug. 22.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Deondre Francois had an appropriate answer when he assessed his performance last season – bumpy. The Florida State quarterback is hoping things go a little smoother in his sophomore season. By Joe Reedy. SENT: 850 words, photo Aug. 19.
– FBC–T25-FLORIDA STATE-DEFENSE. Nine starters are back for the opening-season test against No. 1 Alabama. By Joe Reedy. UPCOMING. 550 words, photos by 4 p.m. Aug. 24.
FBC–MISSISSIPPI-FOCUS ON FOOTBALL
OXFORD, Miss. – Mississippi’s disastrous offseason has mercifully come to an end. Now the Rebels are trying to shake a steady cascade of bad news and produce a decent season. By David Brandt. SENT: 750 words, photos Aug. 2.
FBC–OHIO STATE-WEAKEST LINK?
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A chip on the shoulder may help make the Buckeyes’ offensive linemen play nastier this season. Or at least motivated to prove they’re not the team’s weakest link. By Mitch Stacy: 600 words, photos Aug. 9.
– FBC–OHIO STATE-A BETTER BARRETT? By Mitch Stacy. SENT: 670 words, photos Aug. 18.
EUGENE, Ore. – After the trials of last season, Oregon running back Royce Freeman appears to have emerged with two things: a college degree and a brighter outlook. The senior, who opted to stay with the Ducks rather than enter the NFL draft this spring, heads into the season with 936 career rushing yards to go to reach LaMichael James’ Oregon record of 5,082. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 625 words, photos Aug. 17.
BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU arguably has never had a coach who understands Tigers fans as well as Ed Orgeron, who was one of them as a Cajun kid growing up on the banks of a Louisiana bayou. Orgeron knows a good gumbo is all about the roux, that crawfish boils are a Mother’s Day tradition and how much better everything from a fricasse to a cochon-de-lait seems to taste when LSU plays well. That’s what makes his tenure with the Tigers so much bigger than football in the state where he was raised. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 p.m. Aug. 27.
CLEMSON, S.C. – Undersized receiver Hunter Renfrow is already a Tiger folk-hero after his game-winning catch to beat Alabama in the national championship game. Now, he would like an even larger role in Clemson’s offense in his junior season. By Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 700 words, photo Aug. 15.
FBC–K-STATE’S SILVER FOX
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Bill Snyder likes to tell the story about the farmer from western Kansas who, so appreciative of Kansas State’s coach, drove several hours to campus just to thank him. That was in 1993, shortly after Snyder had led the long-downtrodden program to a mid-level bowl game. Imagine just how thankful that man would be these days, after nearly 25 years interrupted by a brief retirement that have been marked by Big 12 tiles, more bowl games and, most recently, a cancer diagnosis that’s hardly slowed him down. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 900 words, photos Aug. 13.
Two big questions for Stanford this college football season were answered not long after coach David Shaw arrived Down Under for the season opener. And he did it with a most appropriate, Australian-style response: No worries when it comes to replacing do-everything Christian McCaffrey. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 550 words, photos Aug. 22.
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Lane Kiffin will freely admit the following: that he’s a troll on Twitter, that he knows he’s a lightning rod for critics and sometimes goes out of his way to give them what fuel they need, and that he’s far from perfect. That all being said, he also believes he’s older and wiser now as he reboots his coaching career as the new head man at Florida Atlantic. By Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
FBC–FLORIDA ATLANTIC-BRILES: Lane Kiffin’s staff and roster at Florida Atlantic prompted him to dub his program ”Last Strike U.” By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 740 words, photos on Aug. 20.
FBC–RUTGERS-KILL COACHING AGAIN
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Jerry Kill has been seizure-free for almost a year and a half. He has lost 25 pounds by cutting way down on carbs and taking long walks. After years of sleeping two or three hours a night, he now regularly gets six or more at Rutgers. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 950 words, photos July 29.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The first week of training camp at Miami had just ended, and Hurricanes coach Mark Richt made his way after practice into a luncheon to do some recruiting. He wasn’t seeking new players. His aim was to assist past ones. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 800 words, photos Aug. 6.
TAMPA, Fla. – Charlie Strong is accustomed to high expectations. The former Texas and Louisville head coach heads a USF team coming off a school-best 11-2 finish under Willie Taggart, who left for Oregon last December. By Fred Goodall. SENT: 690 words, photos Aug. 21.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen is the Southeastern Conference’s leading returner in passing efficiency from a season ago. He’s only third fiddle in his own division when it comes to preseason accolades, a fact he insists won’t motivate him this season. By Kurt Voigt. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 8
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Shaq Jones could have bolted suddenly football-free UAB for just about any Conference USA school, and some others. Instead, the Blazers linebacker stayed put for the past 2-1/2 years, remaining near his young son and holding down multiple jobs while working to help former foster kids find homes and jobs. Now, Jones & Co. are ready for some football again. ”It was worth it,” Jones said, ”without a doubt.” By John Zenor. SENT: 740 words, photos Aug. 11.
LINCOLN, Neb. – Fans might catch a glimpse of student managers at the stadium or on TV serving as ball persons on game days. It’s a small fraction of what they do seven days a week and at odd hours. Most also carry a full load of classes. By Eric Olson. SENT: 1000 words, photos Aug. 19.
PROVO, Utah – Junior quarterback Tanner Mangum has plenty to smile about as he enters 2017 as the clear-cut starter in Year 2 of offensive coordinator Ty Detmer’s system. SENT: 800 words, photos July 27.
NEW YORK – In many ways, the only thing changing for Brad Nessler is the blazer he will be wearing in the booth. Nessler is preparing for his first season as the voice of the SEC on CBS, filling the seat held for 17 years by friend Verne Lundquist and returning to the network where he first went national. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 725 words, photos Aug. 1.
ATLANTA – After starting out as Centennial Olympic Stadium and spending the last two decades as Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, welcome to Georgia State Stadium. The facility near downtown Atlanta has undergone its latest transformation into a 24,000-seat stadium for the fledgling Panthers football program. By Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 a.m. Aug. 28.
These mobile-friendly stories are also available:
– FBC–PICK SIX-GROUP OF FIVE, the top teams from the Group of Five conferences. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 14.
– FBC–PICK SIX-IMPACT TRANSFERS, the top non-QB transfers ready to play. By Genaro C. Armas. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 15.
– FBC–PICK SIX-IMPACT FRESHMAN, the top freshman to watch. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 16.
– FBC–PICK SIX-REDSHIRT FRESHMAN, the top youngsters to watch. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 17.
– FBC–PICK SIX-HEISMAN DARKHORSES, top off-the-radar possibilities for the Heisman. By Joe Reedy. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 18.
– FBC–PICK SIX-GOOD PLAYERS ON BAD TEAMS, the best of the crop stuck on teams expected to struggle. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 23.
– FBC–PICK SIX-PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS, the four teams we think will make the College Football Playoff. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 650 words, photos Aug. 24.
– FBC–PICK SIX-CRITICAL GAMES, the race to the title starts early with a bunch of tantalizing matchups. By Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25.
AP TOP 25 PODCAST
The Top 25 podcast is published weekly on Tuesday evenings and can be accessed via the College Football DNE blog and through your locally branded version of the DNE. You can also subscribe here .
AP SPORTS EXTRA – PRESEASON POLL PAGE
A paginated look at the preseason Top 25 is available in both AP Newsroom and AP Exchange. The pages look at the poll dominance of Nick Saban’s Alabama in recent seasons as well as a closer look at the other teams in the top five. The pages are designed to be used any time before the start of the season and are available at no charge to all AP Sports subscribers. Contact Barry Bedlan at bbedlan(at)ap.org for more information.
DIGITAL NEWS EXPERIENCE
All the content in this advisory will be available through the College Football Digital News Experience , which is a fully curated digital presentation focused entirely on AP’s college football coverage and anchored around the marquee Top 25 poll. The site, which is responsive to all devices, is available for free and even pays a revenue share to participating sites. The DNE allows for local customization of the site logo, navigation bar, highlighted teams and other features, including embeddable widgets around the poll and Latest News. Some examples: http://collegefootball.ap.org/tampabay and http://collegefootball.ap.org/newsday. Contact your local sales representative or Barry Bedlan at bbedlan(at)ap.org to take advantage of this free digital offering.