While the College Football Playoff committee ultimately decides the top teams, rankings still play a large role in the sport. Some argue that preseason polls are meaningless, but for a team starting outside the Top 25 it can be a difficult road to move in the national title discussion.
The polls listed below reflect both the media’s and coaches’ beliefs about teams heading into the season. The AP Top 25 reflect voters from the national media. As the name suggests, the Coaches Poll are voted on by coaches all over the country. The Coaches Poll are often heavily scrutinized as it is difficult for them to be able to see all the top teams play when they are coaching on Saturdays.
To begin the season, both rankings have the same top five teams in the same order. The top five teams heading into the season are Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC and Clemson.
Penn State is listed in both rankings as sixth. The polls start to move in different directions beginning at the seventh spot. Essentially the polls ended up being about the same with each team being within the same spot or two in both polls.
The main difference comes at the end. The AP Poll has Washington State ranked 24th, while they are un-ranked in the Coaches Poll. Utah is ranked 25th in the Coaches Poll and un-ranked in the media poll.
Here’s a look at both college football rankings courtesy of ESPN heading into Week 1.
AP Poll Rankings Week 1
Coaches Poll Rankings Week 1