NCAA College Football Polls

College Football Polls

The USA Today Coach's Poll


The UPI , (United Press International,) Coaches' Poll began selecting the top 20 teams during the 1950 college football and basketball seasons. In 1990 the poll was expanded to 25 teams.

Beginning in the 1974 season, the poll of coaches conducted its final poll after the bowl games for the first time. In 1991, USA Today and CNN took over publishing the coaches' football poll. In 1997, ESPN took the place of CNN as co-sponsor. Finally, following the 2005 season, as a result of controversial voting practices related to the BCS, ESPN dropped its co-sponsorship of the football poll, leaving USA Today as the sole sponsor.

The final coaches poll was released in early December, not counting the bowl games, until 1974. The change to the post-bowl final poll was well-timed as the top-ranked team would lose its bowl game four more times in 1975, 1977, 1978, and 1979.

Although the coaches' football poll is often generally in accord with the AP Poll, there are important differences. Eleven times the Coaches Poll has crowned a different national champion than the AP Poll in 1954, 1957, 1965, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1991, 1997, and 2003 causing consternation among some college football fans. Also, since 1974, teams on probation are not recognized in the poll of coaches while the AP permits their inclusion.

The winner of the BCS National Championship Game is required to be voted number one, yet the AP Poll does not have this requirement.

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