The AP Top 25 Poll is a weekly ranking of the best 25 Division I college football teams, compiled by polling 65 beat writers and columnists across the country who cover the sport. Although the AP Top 25 Poll is no longer officially utilized in setting up the NCAA playoffs, it is still given some consideration by the playoff ranking and selection committee.
The AP Top 25 Poll has run continuously since 1936, with the polling methodology remaining largely unchanged over the years. Every week after the last college football game is completed, each of the 65 AP voters provides a ranked list of his individual choices for the 25 best teams to the poll collector. AP then compiles the votes and releases a complete composite poll every Sunday morning during the regular season. The weekly poll traditionally goes on a brief hiatus at the start of bowl season, but a final poll is conducted after the championship game is played.
For years the results of the final AP Top 25 Poll were used to either declare a champion in college football or as a key element of the process to determine one. Since the NCAA switched to a four-team playoff, the AP Top 25 Poll is no longer officially used in the selection process. However, members of the ranking and selection committee who choose the playoff-eligible teams are encouraged to consult the poll as a guide and reference.