Sep 052012

Southern California didn’t hold onto the AP’s No. 1 ranking for very long.

Yesterday, the Trojans found out that they dropped from the No. 1 spot in the AP’s second poll of the season. It’s not as if they lost either. They beat Hawaii 49-10. Their competition for the No. 1 spot just looked that much stronger, as preseason No. 2 Alabama beat No. 8 Michigan 41-14. Thus Alabama is the new No. 1.

Southern California is actually only the fifth preseason AP No. 1 to fall in a season’s second poll, after winning in week 1.

AP Preseason No. 1’s That Fell in the Poll After a Week 1 Victory

Season AP Preseason No. 1 Poll #2 Rk Previous Week Score
1951 Tennessee No. 3 vs. Mississippi St. 14-0
1965 Nebraska No. 2 vs. Texas Christian 34-14
1977 Oklahoma No. 5 vs. Vanderbilt (TN) 25-23
2008 Georgia No. 2 vs. Georgia Southern 45-21
2012 Southern California No. 2 vs. Hawaii 49-10


Why were they bumped?

1951 Tennessee

The 1951 Tennessee Volunteers were bumped from their preseason No. 1 ranking by Michigan St. and California. At the time of the second AP poll, Michigan St. and California had already played two games, beat ranked opponents, and weren’t scored upon.

Tennessee’s shutout of unranked Mississippi St. failed to impress the pollsters, and the Vols lost the No. 1 ranking.

A few weeks later, after a 26-0 victory over No. 16 Duke, 42-13 victory over Chattanooga, and a 27-13 road victory over Alabama, the Vols took back the AP’s No. 1 spot. They wouldn’t let loose of it again, winning the AP’s national championship in 1951.

1965 Nebraska

Nebraska was bumped by Notre Dame, after the Fighting Irish opened their season whipping California 48-6. Despite an undefeated regular season record, the Cornhuskers never regained the No. 1 spot. In the 1966 Orange Bowl, they lost to No. 4 Alabama 39-28, and finished the year ranked No. 5 in the AP’s final poll.

1977 Oklahoma

It’s fair to say, that Oklahoma was bumped from the No. 1 spot because they nearly loss to the far less talented Vanderbilt Commodores 25-23 in the opener. Oklahoma dropped to No. 5, but would regain the No. 1 spot a couple of weeks later after beating No. 4 Ohio St. 29-28.

The Sooners finished the year ranked No. 6 in the AP’s final poll with a record of 10-2.

2008 Georgia

The pollsters weren’t impressed with Georgia’s 45-21 victory over the FCS’s Georgia Southern, and Southern California bumped them for the No. 1 spot in the second AP poll. Georgia never regained the No. 1 spot, and finished the year 10-3 and ranked No. 13.

2012 Southern California

Despite their 49-10 opening game thrashing of Hawaii, the Trojans dropped to No. 2 in second AP poll of the season. The Trojans 39-point margin of victory is the greatest among preseason No. 1’s that fell after winning in week 1.


Sources: College Football at Sports-Reference.comCollege Poll ArchiveCollege Football Data Warehouse

  2 Responses to “AP Preseason No. 1’s That Fell in the Poll After a Week 1 Victory”

  1. What about Notre Dame in 1974? ESPN has them listed as one of those teams.

  2. They’re referencing to any week within a season. I was looking at preseason No. 1’s in their first game of the season.
    In 1974, Oklahoma was the AP’s preseason No. 1.

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