Ralph Russo has been the national college football writer for The Associated Press since 2004, covering conference realignment, the creation of the College Football Playoff and every national championship game over the last 14 years.
He focuses on trends on and off field, from the rise of up-tempo offenses to the NCAA governance overhaul that created autonomy for the so-called Power Five conferences.
Russo has profiled Heisman Trophy winners and conference commissioners, and broken stories on the playoff, NCAA college basketball reform and coaching searches.
Every Sunday during the football season, he hears it on social media from fans unhappy about their team’s place in the AP Top 25 poll. And still reads his mentions.
Russo also developed the AP Top 25 College Football Podcast and is a regular host on SiriusXM’s college sports channels.
Russo, 48, is a native New Yorker and graduate of Fordham University, where he aspired to be the next Bob Costas at WFUV.
Instead, he landed in print journalism.
He has spent almost all of his 25-year career in with the AP, covering sports.
The exception was a two-year stint at the Denver Post, covering everything from high school sports to local sports media to the small colleges to pro teams.
Russo was drawn to college sports, despite growing up in the ultimate pro town, at a young age and then got hooked while working in SEC country for almost five years.
While living in Jackson, Mississippi, Russo covered the rise of Eli Manning at Ole Miss and Mississippi State’s hiring of the first African-American head football coach in the Southeastern Conference.
He also met his wife of 13 years in Jackson _ Sally Slavinski, who grew up in Long Island. They have a 12-year-old daughter, Sophia, who thinks football is silly, and live in Brooklyn with a dog and cat.