Starting in 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff, the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation will conduct and release a weekly poll ranking the top 16 teams in major college football, according to a FWAA press release on Tuesday.
Per the release:
The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today that they will jointly conduct a weekly major-college football poll during the 2014 season.
Officially, the poll will be known as the "FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16" poll, named in honor of the great sportswriter who became an influential leader of the NFF during its early years in the late 1940s. Rice played a key role in the history of both organizations as an FWAA member and NFF president.
Voters for the poll will consist of "FWAA members, College Football Hall of Famers and NFF Board members." It's a mixture of media minds and former players that is not dissimilar to the CFP selection committee itself, albeit skewed more heavily in the direction of the media.
There will be 36 voters in total: 26 from the FWAA and 10 from the NFF. The former players and Hall of Famers will come from the latter group of 10. Per the release, the 26 voting members from the FWAA will be selected carefully to ensure "balanced-geographical representation."
The poll will deviate from the traditional ranking methods by listing 16 teams instead of 25. It will be released in accordance with the other polls, however, coming out every Sunday during the regular season and culminating after the conference championship games on Dec. 7.
Said FWAA President Kirk Bohls:
We are extremely excited to announce this first poll in conjunction with the National Football Foundation at a time when major college football is ushering in a new era. I can't think of a better partner in jointly producing the ‘Grantland Rice Super 16' poll of the best teams in the nation.
Our poll will include distinguished past presidents of the FWAA as well as outstanding NFF Hall of Famers who have given so much to the game we all love and who hope to bring more insight to college football and enjoyment of this fine game. We feel we can provide a very valuable poll of some of the best-credentialed voters and most knowledgeable, objective college football minds around.
It's fair to question the necessity of such a poll.
College football already has enough "official" rankings, it might seem, despite the loss of the BCS standings in 2014. And it's not like the Super 16 poll will have any bearing on which teams are included in the College Football Playoff—teams that will instead be selected by the CFP's official committee of 13 members.
After the details were released Tuesday, Dan Wolken of USA Today agreed:
The voting members of the Super 16 poll will be announced some time this summer. "It's a group without an agenda," said FWAA executive director Steve Richardson of his prospective voting body, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.
The Associated Press and USA Today football coaches poll will continue ranking 25 teams each week next season.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT