As if the 2020 college football season isn't odd enough without Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and MAC programs, the preseason AP Top 25 is about to make it even stranger.
According to the Associated Press, voters have been instructed to consider teams no matter whether they're playing in the fall. It's likely the initial poll will include reigning Big Ten and Pac-12 champions Ohio State and Oregon, respectively.
Subjectivity always rules a Top 25 and leads to disagreements. Now that voters can rank programs not scheduled to play a game, the reactions are going to vary dramatically.
In short, the results of this poll will be fascinating.
AP Top 25 Release
Date: Monday, Aug. 24
Time: Noon ET
Preseason AP Top 25 Expectations
Looking ahead to the regular season, the AP Top 25 won't be as confusing. Still unusual, but less perplexing.
"After games begin, voters will rank only teams that are scheduled to play," the AP's Ralph D. Russo noted.
Nevertheless, it's entirely possible that Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and USC will appear in the Top 25.
The difficulty of predicting exactly what to expect for the Big Ten and Pac-12 programs (and perhaps Boise State) is it's unclear if every ballot will include the teams. If even one voter doesn't include them, it can alter the rankings noticeably.
But the hope is that's not going to happen.
"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," AP global sports editor Michael Giarrusso said.
Working under the premise the ballots are unchanged, early perceptions have seemingly defined a few ranking tiers.
Ohio State, Clemson and Alabama will combine for a strong majority of first-place votes. Behind that trifecta will very likely be Georgia, reigning national champion LSU and Oklahoma.
The next groups will include Penn State, Oregon, Notre Dame and Florida, followed by Auburn, Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Michigan. That should complete the Top 15 ahead of Oklahoma State, USC, North Carolina and Minnesota.
From there, it's a crowded group for six spots.
Among the teams scheduled to play, the ACC has Virginia Tech, Miami and Louisville. The Big 12 offers Iowa State and Baylor, while the SEC has Tennessee and Kentucky. Also, the AAC should see Cincinnati and UCF receive strong consideration with Memphis a possibility for the 21-25 range.
In conferences not playing this fall, there's Iowa (Big Ten), Utah and Arizona State (Pac-12) and Boise State (Mountain West).
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.