To help you with your planning ahead of the college football season, we will have the following stories, photos and more in coming weeks, anchored by a special project surrounding the Top 25 poll, team and Power Five conference previews as well as three weekends of feature stories. This digest is subject to change and will be updated throughout the month of August. For questions, please call 212-621-1630 or email Ed Montes (emontes(at)ap.org) and Dave Zelio (dzelio(at)ap.org).
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Adds Pick Six on Hot Seat Coaches in Shareable Content section and Back From the Pros, T25-Baylor-Bears Backers and World of Walk-Ons in Long Reads.
TOP 25 POLL
The 2016 preseason AP Top 25 was released on Sunday, Aug. 21. The weekly poll will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 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 the evening of Monday, Jan. 9, in Tampa, Florida.
AP SPORTS EXTRA – PRESEASON POLL PAGE
A paginated look at the preseason AP Top 25 poll is available. The AP Sports Extra pages are available in full broadsheet, half broadsheet and tabloid size (perfect for preseason football tabs). They will include space for local advertising or content. The pages will focus on the 25 teams selected by AP poll voters with emphasis on those at the very top. The pages are available at no charge to all AP Sports subscribers. Contact Barry Bedlan at bbedlan(at)ap.org for more information.
ONLY ON AP
For the first time, AP has tabulated every single one of its weekly college football polls since the first was released 80 years ago. That research has been used to determine an all-time rankings list and other stories, including an eight-part series looking at the top teams of each decade. A separate advisory on this package was also sent. All the content is featured on a special page of the College Football Digital News Experience. More on the DNE below.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL
To look back, all the way back, to the first Top 25 college football poll is to take a walk through history. The great teams at Notre Dame and Army, at Oklahoma and Alabama, the coaching greats like Bud Wilkinson and Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, Lou Holtz and Nick Saban. For the first time, The Associated Press has sorted through all those polls – all 1,103 of them – to determine the top 100 programs of all time after eight decades of arguing who's the best. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 800 words , photos on Aug. 2.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL -THE TOP 100-LIST
The Top 100 college football teams of all time as determined by The Associated Press Top 25. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 2,500 words on Aug. 2. Capsules on the best 25 teams, then a list of the remaining 75.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL -THE NO. 1s-LIST
All 44 teams ranked No. 1 at least once over the 80 years, with capsules that include the overall top team for each school. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 5,000 words , photos on Aug. 4.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-1930s-40s
The Associated Press college football poll was created to try to answer the simplest yet most divisive question in sports: Who's better? The poll helped give a regional sport more of a national scope. The poll helped define the Army-Notre Dame rivalry in the 1940s and was part of their games becoming major events. By John Kekis. SENT: 700 words , photos on Aug. 14.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-1950s
By the 1950s, college football's power has drifted away from the elite Eastern schools and into the Midwest. Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma dynasty dominated the polls as it set a record winning streak that still stands. By College Football Writer Eric Olson. SENT: 700 words , photos on Aug. 15.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-1960s
The focus on the national championship race and the polls reached new heights in the 1960s, with a peak in 1966 when the matchup of No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State late in the season ended in a famous 10-10 tie. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 700 words , photos on Aug. 16.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-1970s
Coaching icons dominated the AP poll during the 1970s with Bear Bryant at Alabama, Joe Paterno at Penn State, Woody Hayes at Ohio State, Bo Schembechler at Michigan, Barry Switzer at Oklahoma and Tom Osborne at Nebraska. Their matchups would often help determine No. 1. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 700 words , photos on Aug. 17.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-1980s
A new dynasty emerges at Miami, where the brash Hurricanes upend the established Midwestern powers, with pro-style offenses and speedy defenses that smother option football. It takes a little while for AP poll voters to catch up to the power shift, but when they do, Miami becomes a fixture. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 700 words, photos on Aug. 22.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-1990s
Controversial championships, sometimes with the AP poll breaking one way and the coaches' poll going another, prompt the bowls and conferences to start working toward a more definitive way to determine the national title. Eventually, it becomes the BCS. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 700 words, photos on Aug. 23.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-2000s
The first half of the decade is dominated by USC's unprecedented run at No. 1, but then the SEC takes over. The overlap produces the last split national champion with the Trojans taking the AP title and LSU winning the BCS. The constant controversy leads to the AP asking out of the BCS process. By David Brandt. SENT: 700 words, photos on Aug. 24.
FBC–T25-ALL-TIME AP POLL-2010s
A new power emerges in Oregon, a rarity for college football. But an old one in Alabama dominates as Nick Saban reigns. AP voters are asked to judge a changing brand of football that is played fast and furious and often without a lot of defense. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos on Aug. 25.
CONFERENCE AND TEAM PREVIEWS
Each of the following will move in a `things to watch' chunky text format of approximately 700 words, with photos.
All previews for Power Five conference schools, BYU, Notre Dame, the service academies and select Group of Five schools were sent on Aug. 12.
Aug 8: SEC , Pac-12
Aug. 9: Big Ten , Atlantic Coast
Aug 11: Big 12 , Mountain West
Aug. 12: American Athletic , Sun Belt , Conference USA , Mid-American , SWAC
Every week until the regular season, AP will offer a FBC–PICK SIX story from July 14 until Aug. 31.
– FBC–Pick Six-SEC-Pivotal Players. SENT: 700 words , photos on July 14.
– FBC–Pick Six-Pac-12-Pivotal-Players. SENT: 700 words , photos on July 20.
– FBC–Pick Six-Big 12-Pivotal Players. SENT: 700 words , photos on July 28.
– FBC–Pick Six-ACC-Pivotal Players. SENT: 700 words , photos on Aug. 3.
– FBC–Pick Six-Big Ten-Pivotal Players. SENT: 700 words , photos on Aug. 4.
– FBC–Pick Six-Heisman-Dark Horses. SENT: 625 words , photos on Aug. 10.
– FBC–Pick Six-Big Games. SENT: 650 words , photos on Aug. 15.
– FBC–Pick Six-Hot Assistants. SENT: 725 words , photos on Aug. 17.
– FBC–Pick Six-Graduate Transfers. SENT: 745 words , photos on Aug. 19
— FBC–T25-Pick Six-Hot Seat Coaches SENT: 630 words, photos on Aug. 25.
PLAYOFF PULSE PODCAST
Posted Wednesday evenings on top topics of the day. All podcasts can be accessed via the College Football DNE blog and through your locally branded version of the DNE.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – With so many high-profile intersectional matchups on neutral sites, the Southeastern Conference's opening-week schedule bears a striking resemblance to a bowl lineup. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 750 words , photos on Aug. 5.
FBC–HARBAUGH'S NEXT ACT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – He's slept at recruit's houses, had his wife mock his $8 khakis and taken his team on the road for camp, rankling the SEC and forcing the NCAA to take a stand. There may be no louder voice in college football. But what's happening behind the scenes makes Harbaugh much more than a meme. By Larry Lage. SENT: 750 words , photos on Aug. 5.
Leonard Fournette. Christian McCaffrey. Deshaun Watson. Baker Mayfield. Four of the top six vote-getters from last year's Heisman race are back, giving this fall's competition for college football's top honor plenty of intrigue. By David Brandt. SENT: 800 words , photos on Aug. 6.
UMass is going it alone this season, its first as a football independent since essentially being booted out of the Mid-American Conference. New Mexico State and Idaho have faced similar decisions recently, too – to go independent and stay in the Bowl Subdivision or drop to the FCS. New Mexico State is staying. Idaho will be going. When you aren't Notre Dame, there are a lot of pros and cons to independence. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 880 words , photos on Aug. 13.
FBC–YEAR OF THE RUNNING BACK
It's another year of the running back in college football. LSU's Leonard Fournette, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, Oregon's Royce Freeman and Florida State's Dalvin Cook all are back after rushing for over 1,800 yards last season. The talent at running back is so loaded that guys such as Tennessee's Jalen Hurd and North Carolina's Elijah Hood – who would be boldface names in any other year – are relatively under the radar. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 700 words , photos on Aug. 13.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Nick Saban is one national title away from matching Bear Bryant's record and, with his 65th birthday coming up on Halloween, shows no signs of slowing down. By John Zenor. SENT: 750 words , photos on Aug. 14.
LINCOLN, Neb. – Rugby-style tackling, which positions the defender's head to the side of the ball-carrier rather than straight-on, is growing in popularity in a sport beleaguered by concussion concerns. The Seattle Seahawks were the first team to teach the technique, with Ohio State following last season. Nebraska, among others, is the latest program coaching rugby-style technique. By College Football Writer Eric Olson. SENT: 750 words , photos on Aug. 14.
FBC–OHIO STATE-JT'S TEAM
COLUMBUS, Ohio – J.T. Barrett was beaten out by Cardale Jones last year in one of the most intriguing training-camp quarterback races in the nation. Now, he is Ohio State's undisputed starter and leader of a team that's reloading after the departure of 16 starters. The Buckeyes' fortunes likely will ride on the 21-year-old Texan's ability to recapture some of the magic from the 2014 national championship season. By Mitch Stacy. SENT: 710 words , photos on Aug. 16.
BATON ROUGE, La. – Les Miles is more in touch with his coaching mortality than ever, yet seemingly unfazed by the scrutiny he'll most certainly face during his 12th season at LSU. In Baton Rouge, fans are fed up with the Tigers' five-game losing streak against Alabama and question why a program with LSU's profile, highly rated recruiting classes and first-class facilities hasn't played in an elite bowl game for four seasons. That's why pressure mounted on LSU's administration to fire Miles during a three-game skid last year. But the quirky, grass-eating, coach and his famously unconventional syntax are back, and Miles has made some adjustments to his approach that he hopes will maximize the potential of a 2016 team loaded with talent and returning starters. By Brett Martel. SENT: 700 words, photos on Aug. 19.
FBC–BACK FROM THE PROS
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – New Illinois coach Lovie Smith brings decades of NFL experience that both fans and players see as an upgrade and potential starting point for resurrecting the program. So far, Smith and his low-key style appear to be a good fit for what has been a troubled program. Success among high-profile programs has been found to some degree over the past 15 years by coaches with NFL coach on their resumes – Pete Carroll, Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh among them. But more often the results are mixed. Former Oregon and Kentucky coach Rich Brooks and current Nebraska coach Mike Riley agree the college game presents a longer list of challenges. By David Mercer. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Moving Aug. 26.
WACO, Texas – Sammy Citrano believes Baylor games will be ''great therapy'' for the entire community, not only the Bears on the field. Chris Salazar, another Waco restaurateur and Baylor fan, knows it hasn't been a typical offseason. Far from it after the sudden dismissal three months ago of two-time Big 12 champion coach Art Briles after an independent investigation determined the school mishandled complaints of sexual assault, some against football players. There has been time to heal from the initial shock, and the 23rd-ranked Bears will soon be back under the spotlight they prefer – playing games, the first coming Sept. 2. Will the start of the season be enough to bring back some sense of normalcy for the community and fans of team that has won 50 games the past five seasons? By Stephen Hawkins. UPCOMING. 800 words, photos. Moving Aug. 26.
FBC–WORLD OF WALK-ONS
LINCOLN, Neb. – With the start of college classes this past week, hundreds of walk-on players hit practice fields to round out football rosters. A lot of them passed on scholarship offers from lower-level schools to chase their dream of playing big-time college football. Some eventually will earn a scholarship. But most won't complete their eligibility where they're at, many will never play a down in a game, and others will accumulate tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt. By College Football Writer Eric Olson. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. Moving Aug. 27.
DIGITAL NEWS EXPERIENCE
All the stories in this advisory as well as exclusive blog content, a weekly podcast and videos will be available through the College Football Digital News Experience, a fully curated digital presentation of AP's college football coverage that is anchored around the 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/lufkindailynews and http://collegefootball.ap.org/wvgazette . Contact Barry Bedlan at bbedlan(at)ap.org to take advantage of this free digital offering.