The Knights also came in at No. 21 in the preseason Coaches Poll earlier this month. As with that poll. this is the third consecutive year that the AP has included UCF in its introductory top 25. The Knights ranked 21st and 17th in the 2018 and 2019 preseason polls, respectively. They finished last season at No. 24.
UCF is the second-highest ranked team from the Group of 5, one spot behind American Conference East Division foe Cincinnati. They are the only two G5 teams in the top 25, although Memphis’ 86 points would put the Tigers at No. 26.
This year’s top 25 includes programs such No. 2 Ohio State and No. 9 Oregon because the AP asked its 62-member voting base to fill out their ballots as if all FBS conferences decided to play football this season. The same logic will be used to piece together the AP’s preseason All-America team; all players, including those who have already opted out, will be eligible for inclusion.
But once the games start, the poll will rank only teams that are actually competing. If you omit teams from the conferences that have canceled fall football, UCF moves up in this poll from No. 21 to No. 14. Nine teams in the top 25 will not be playing this fall.
“The preseason poll has always been a speculative ranking of teams based on last year’s results and knowledge about the new makeup of teams,” said Michael Giarrusso, AP’s global sports editor. “This year, we think it is crucial to give all the teams and all their fans a snapshot look at what the Top 25 would have been to open the season.
“Once games kick off, it does not make sense to rank teams that are not participating. There is no solution that will satisfy every fan or every team. But ranking teams that play is the one that makes the most sense.”
The Knights are scheduled to begin their season at Georgia Tech on Sept. 19.