The first AP Top 25 poll of the upcoming 2016 season has been released and Northwestern — which was No. 23 in the final poll of 2015 — is not included.
Just four Big Ten teams -- Ohio State (No. 6), Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 12) and Iowa (No. 17) -- are ranked. At the conclusion of last year’s bowl season, six of the conference’s 14 teams were in the AP Top 25, including Northwestern. Defending national champion Alabama tops the poll.
Northwestern did receive five AP votes, though, while Wisconsin (42) and Nebraska (11) were the other Big Ten teams in the poll's "others receiving votes." Miami (FL) led the group with 159 votes.
Even though the Wildcats posted 10 wins and appeared in the Outback Bowl in 2015, the losses of Dean Lowry, Dan Vitale and other seniors have pushed Northwestern out of the rankings. Assuredly, the 45-6 bowl drubbing against Tennessee didn’t help matters either.
Northwestern also wasn’t ranked in the first Amway Coaches Poll of the new season.
Here is the entire poll:
- Alabama (33 first place votes)
- Clemson (16)
- Oklahoma (4)
- Florida State (5)
- LSU (1)
- Ohio State (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Notre Dame
- Ole Miss
- Michigan State
- Oklahoma State
- North Carolina