Northwestern (5-0) is firmly on the national radar after its win Saturday against Wisconsin (2-1). The Wildcats slotted in eighth in the first rankings released by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee on Tuesday evening.
After starting the season unranked, Northwestern has increased its position all the way to 11th in the AP Top 25 poll. By defeating the Badgers this week, NU has cemented its place as a contender for a spot in the Playoff.
Northwestern’s No. 8 spot is the Wildcats’ highest ranking since the College Football Playoff format was created in 2014. NU leap-frogged BYU, Oregon and Miami in the CFP rankings, all teams listed ahead of them in the AP Top 25. The ‘Cats have impressive wins over CFP-ranked Iowa (No. 24) and Wisconsin (No. 16).
As expected, the Wildcats are on the outside looking in at the field of four. Considering their next three opponents have the same amount of wins combined as they do, the Wildcats likely will not make any other major jumps in ranking until the Big Ten Championship barring craziness from those ranked above them.
Northwestern is one of five ranked Big Ten schools, joining No. 4 Ohio State, No. 12 Indiana, as well as the aforementioned Hawkeyes and Badgers.