Northwestern debuted at No. 24 in the Associated Press poll on Sunday while being voted the 22nd best team in the country by in the USA Today/Coaches poll.
The Wildcats moved to 8-0 after racking up a school record 704 offensive yards in Saturday's 44-29 win over Indiana on Saturday at Ryan Field. It was the first time Northwestern has been ranked in the coaches' poll since Nov. 20, 2010 and the first time they've been included in the AP Top 25 since Dec. 29, 2008.
"I don't vote for a reason," coach Pat Fitzgerald said last week. "I don't watch all the games. I think it's great that the coaches get a vote but, again, I don't have the time to do that, and that's why I chose not too. As far as the AP goes, maybe everybody gets to watch it. Maybe they do and maybe they don't. If it were up to me I wouldn't rank anybody until the middle of October. I'd make everybody play three conference games. Then you know where teams are at. All the stuff that gets done in the preseason is all just a popularity contest and how many clicks you get on a mouse on a website and how many magazines you can sell. It's a waste of time. What matters is where you're at going into November, do you have yourself in contention to be a Big Ten championship team?
"We've had teams in the past that have been pretty darned good and haven't been ranked but we've been one win away from playing for the championship the last two weeks of the season. We just worry about what we can control."
Fitzgerald said he declined an opportunity to vote in the coaches' poll.
"I've got enough on my plate being a father of three that are under 10, trying to be a good husband and lead a football program let alone trying to study up on what's going on all over the country," he said. "I wish I had the time to do that."