The Associated Press began its college football poll on Oct. 19, 1936, and it is now the longest-running poll of those that award national titles at the end of the season. The preseason poll was started in 1950.
A panel of 60 sports writers and broadcasters from around the country votes on the poll weekly. All of the voters have an extensive background in covering college football. 
Alabama, last season's champion, and Notre Dame are tied for the most AP national titles with eight. Oklahoma has seven, while Miami and Southern California have five each.
Beginning on Sept. 4, the AP Top 25 will be updated each week. In addition, each team's ranking will be mentioned in AP stories throughout the preseason and the regular season, along with a link to the Top 25: