Final AP Ranking Projection For NU

Hey guys, I know what you're thinking -- where in the hell has this guy been all year? Well, I've been in transition in New York City, having moved around Queens for the past two months, and I haven't had much time to talk football. Let's change that!

One of the big talking points has been where NU will end up in the rankings after our (long overdue) bowl victory. We have a solid win -- but don't forget, everyone else has been playing football, too! Most teams have had quality games, so wins probably won't move the needle much unless they are big ones. For this post, let's look at the latest standings from 11 - 25 in the AP poll, as well as each team's bowl outcome:

#11) South Carolina (907 pts) - Beat #19 (AP) Michigan
#12) Oklahoma (851 pts) - To play #10 Texas A&M
#13) Florida State (789 pts) - Beat #16 Northern Illinois
#14) Clemson (691 pts) - Beat #8 LSU
#15) Oregon State (638 pts) - Lost to #29 Texas
#16) Northern Illinois (534 pts) - Lost to #13 Florida State
#17) UCLA (440 pts) - Hammered by #32 Baylor

#18) Utah State (379 pts) - Beat Toledo by a wide margin
#19) Michigan (306 pts) - Lost to #11 South Carolina
#20) Boise State (276 pts) - Beat Washington
#21) Northwestern (266 pts) - Beat Mississippi State
#22) Louisville (248 pts) - Beat #4 Florida
#23) Nebraska (227 pts) - Lost to #6 Georgia
#24) San Jose State (157 pts) - Beat Bowling Green
#25) Kent State (117 pts) - To play Arkansas State

My thoughts on who we could pass:

#11 - #14: All of these teams are well above us, and each of them beat ranked opponents. (Note: Oklahoma has not played TA&M yet.) Even if Oklahoma loses, I doubt we will pass any of them.
#15 - #17: All of these teams lost their respective games. Oregon State and UCLA lost to teams outside of the Top 25, so they should drop enough for us to pass them. NIU, I think, got beaten handily enough by Florida State that they will also drop out of place. (Granted, it also helps that they aren't in an AQ conference.)
#18 Utah State: Had a sizeable victory, but it was against a marginal opponent. I think NU's win turns out to have more weight, and they make up the difference to pass USU.
#19 Michigan: Michigan sucks.
#20 Boise State: This one's tough. We are reeeeeally close to Boise State in terms of votes. However, the Broncos have the benefit of name recognition; on the other hand, they barely beat a middling Washington team. I say that the 10-win threshold does something for us and we pass the Broncs.
#22 Louisville: Ugh, Florida had to go and stink it up. With a super-quality win in a BCS bowl, the Cardinals will no doubt jump us in the poll order.
#23 - 25: These teams either lost or beat rather middling teams in their bowl games and will not pass us.
Everyone else: Too far away to leapfrog us. Even you, Texas.

So, to summarize:

We jump past: Oregon State, NIU, UCLA, Utah State, Michigan, Boise State (6 teams)
We get jumped by: Louisville (1 team)

Final projected AP ranking: #16

I'm sorry to bust the bubble of some folks around here, but I think we end up just outside the Top 15 like everyone is hoping for. But seriously, guys, we just won 10 games for the first time in 17 seasons. Finishing as the 16th best team in college football is pretty $#&*ing awesome. Go 'Cats!

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