Over the weekend, after Northwestern beat Duke in Durham and Stanford — whom Northwestern beat in Week 1 — beat USC, people started realizing that Northwestern might be legit. The polls reflected those realizations: Northwestern is in the top 20 in both the AP Poll (17) and the USA Today/ Amway Coaches Poll (19).
For two experts, the 19-10 victory in Durham meant far more to the bowl projections than the 41-0 pounding of Eastern Illinois in Week 2 did.
Still, it remains quite early in the season, and obviously much can and will change between now and the end of the season, but currently the projections have the Wildcats in some major bowls against some major opponents. It's a huge jump considering Northwestern wasn't even projected to make a bowl coming into the season. After three weeks, here's where the experts think the Wildcats will be playing their bowl game:
Jason Kirk: Pinstripe Bowl vs. North Carolina State, Dec. 26
Mark Schlabach: Outback Bowl vs. Alabama, Jan.1
Brett McMurphy: Outback Bowl vs. Florida, Jan. 1
Brian Bennett: Outback Bowl, Jan. 1
Jerry Palm: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Virginia Tech, Dec. 26*
*Palm's projections have not been updated through Week 3 as of this posting