The preseason Associated Press poll was revealed this afternoon, and Kansas State begins the year in ranked #20 in the land.
The media poll doesn't deviate much from the coaches' poll released on the final day of July, with only a few single positional swaps: Oregon and Oklahoma, Ohio State and Auburn, Mississippi and Arizona State, and the Wildcats and Texas A&M all swapping places. Not exactly swapping places: Missouri and Texas. The Tigers were the last team out of the coaches' poll, while Texas, #24 in the coaches' ballot, sit behind Central Florida and Florida outside the top 25.
The same group of Big 12 teams which the coaches tipped were mentioned in the AP ranking, with Oklahoma and Baylor joining the WIldcats in the top 25. Texas, Texas Tech, and TCU all earned votes as well.
Teams which received votes in the AP poll but not the coaches' poll: Penn State, Vanderbilt, Navy, Nevada, and Utah State. The coaches, meanwhile, gave out votes to Houston, Arkansas, Arizona, and Northern Illinois without a single media member having similar thoughts.
With the polls being nearly identical, many of our observations about the coaches' poll are likewise the same. Three top ten SEC teams, and the top-ranked Group of Five school remains Central Florida, almost exactly as far out of 25th as they were in the coaches' view. The big difference is eight SEC teams rather than seven, and three Big 12 teams as opposed to four.
The same sort of gaps exist in the AP poll as were present in the coaches' ranking, although of slightly different color. While we use 93 as a benchmark in the coaches' poll, we use 90 here since the AP has two fewer voters, but that's a minor distinction. There is a clear and massive gap between the Seminoles and everyone, a gap which was not nearly as pronounced among the coaches. The next break is between the fourth-ranked Sooners and Ohio State, which was also higher up the ladder than the first true breakpoint of the coaches' poll (between Ohio State and UCLA at 6 and 7).
There's still a gap between 6 and 7 here, though, as Auburn and UCLA are separated by 92 points. The next dropoff is between LSU and Wisconsin at 13 and 14, which was also a clear break in the coaches' poll, and then there's a double-break: #17 Notre Dame is the equivalent of three whole places behind #15 USC, with Clemson sitting almost exactly between the two. The final big break is between Arizona State and Kansas State.
All these breaks mean lots of clusters. Alabama, Oregon, and Oklahoma are only separated by 37 points - barely half a position's worth of distance. USC only trails Wisconsin by 11 points, Notre Dame only has a 24-point lead on Ole Miss, and Texas A&M reverses the coaches' poll situation by nipping at K-State's heels, only four points adrift with Nebraska a mere 12 points behind the Aggies. Missouri and Washington are also only separated by four points at the bottom of the poll.
Just as K-State was a place ahead of their expected position in the coaches' poll based on points-per-voter, they are two places ahead of their expected 22nd-place position here, earning 4.03 points per ballot. Five teams received more than one point per ballot yet remain outside the top 25: Central Florida, Florida, Texas, Duke, and Iowa.The Wildcats are one spot higher than in the coaches poll -- and Auburn's one spot lower.