For the sixth straight season, the Associated Press (AP) has failed to name the Northwestern Wildcats in their Top 25 team to start the season.
The poll, released Monday, featured six Big Ten teams, but left out the Wildcats despite the team finishing with a No. 21 overall ranking in the final edition of last year’s poll. NU also finished the 2017 season ranked at No. 17 — the team’s highest finish in the poll since 1996. Northwestern substantially missed out on cracking this year’s rankings as they received just 63 votes, the fifth-most of any unranked team.
Five of Northwestern’s 2019 opponents, including 5 of their first six opponents earned a spot in the Top 25. The Stanford Cardinal, who the ‘Cats will play against on the road in their season opener, slotted into the No. 25 spot in the poll.
Here are the full rankings:
PRESEASON AP POLL— College Football Rankings ™ (@CFBRanking) August 19, 2019
5 Ohio St
12 Texas A&M
15 Penn St
18 Mich St
21 Iowa St
As you can see, Ohio State led the way for the Big Ten coming in at No. 5 overall. The Wildcats will host the Buckeyes in a Friday night primetime game in mid-October. It’s also interesting to note how highly the preseason polls think of Utah (No. 14), a team that Northwestern beat in thrilling fashion in last year’s Holiday Bowl.
Apart from a few symbolic advantages and consequences, there’s not that much to make of when it comes the Wildcats failing to crack a preseason poll that they rarely do to start the season anyways. It can be frustrating as fans to see the Wildcats snubbed in favor of teams that they beat head-to-head and finished above last season like Michigan State, Iowa and Utah, but that’s just the way it is for a program like Northwestern.
After cracking this year’s Coaches Poll for the first time since 2013, it would’ve been nice to see the Wildcats get that same sort of love from the AP poll, but I guess we as NU fans can only have so many nice things. TWO preseason Top 25 rankings would’ve been too much national love to start the season. It just wouldn’t have felt right.
Anyways, enough of the preseason hype/lack of recognition debate. The season opener is just 12 days away. Time to beat some No, 25 ranked trees.