Michigan #7, Michigan State #19 In All-Time AP College Football Top 25

Oct 17, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines cornerback Channing Stribling (8) and Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. (85) can
Oct 17, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines cornerback Channing Stribling (8) and Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. (85) can /

On Tuesday, the Associated Press released their all-time college football top 25 poll, which placed Michigan seventh and Michigan State 19th.

The Associated Press compiled the results of their 1,103 college football top 25 polls from the last 80 years and released their all-time top 25 poll on Tuesday. The poll placed Ohio State at the top of the list.

The University of Michigan was ranked seventh, and Michigan State was listed 19th. Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Alabama and Southern California rounded out the top five, which will no doubt annoy Wolverine football fans in particular.

The AP awarded points to teams based on the number of appearances in the poll (one point), number-one rankings in the poll (one point) and national championships (ten points). Michigan’s ranking was based upon their appearance in 73% of the AP’s top 25 polls, 34 number-one rankings and two AP national championships. Michigan State has placed in 34% of polls, with 29 number-one rankings and one AP national championship.

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Of course, this ranking system has its flaws. The ranking is entirely based on the AP polls, which have only existed since 1936 and are arbitrary rankings made by a group of sportswriters, not based on any specific algorithm like the former BCS or current College Football Playoff ranking systems.

Also, no bonuses were given for wins, conference championships, bowl game appearances or higher rankings for teams within individual polls (a #2 ranking in a single edition of the poll was worth one point, the same as the #25 team in the same poll).

In addition, national championship bonuses were only awarded for years when the AP named the team as the national champion. Thus, Michigan, which claims eleven national championships, were only given credit for two of them while Alabama, which claims fifteen national championships, were credited with nine by the AP.

Despite the shortcomings that prevent this all-time poll from being a true measure of all-time greatness, the poll itself and the data that goes with it are interesting and worth looking at. The full poll, which includes a listing of the top 100 college football programs in AP poll history, is available here.

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The poll itself has existed since 1936, when it was a top 20 poll, and is the longest-running championship awarding poll in the country. It was briefly reduced to a top ten poll from 1961-67 before expanding back to 20 teams and then again to 25 in 1989. 61 writers submit their top 25 rankings and the results are compiled into a single ranking which is released every week from the preseason to the postseason. The preseason edition of the 2016 AP poll is set for release on August 21.