Ranked Again! — Coaches tab NU No. 21, BCS Ranks ‘Cats 24

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Not a lot going on during a Sunday morning after a bye week. The Wildcats spent their Saturday volunteering with Hunger Resource Network in Northbrook, Illinois. Cannot ask for anything more from your student-athletes. And hopefully they all went 1-0 on their mid-terms this week.

There was football being played Saturday. Many of us were disappointed that Michigan State could not hold on and defeat Nebraska to give NU an outside chance of getting into the Big Ten Championship Game and then got a second punch in the gut when Notre Dame completed the comeback against Pitt. But at least we did not need to fret or worry about things Northwestern could take care of.

The Wildcats get back to work this week against the Wolverines with kickoff set for 11 a.m. CT on ESPN at the Big House.

Northwestern’s idle week was not in vain though. The Coaches Poll has returned Northwestern to the Top 25 after several teams lost on a big showdown Saturday (more on that in my Blog Poll Ballot later today/Monday). Northwestern climbed to No. 21, one spot ahead of preseason No. 1 USC, the team that lost to Oregon at home this past weekend in Kenjon Barner’s wild ride.

This of course makes the Michigan game just a little bit bigger. The Wildcats have not performed well when ranked and the Wolverines should still open as favorites for this game. There will be a lot of pressure on NU with that number next to its name this week and (UPDATE ALERT) the ‘Cats cracked the BCS rankings checking in at #24 while Michigan did not make the cut!

Still, the ranking is a recognition of Northwestern’s accomplishments so far this season and a reminder NU is having a nice season. A win this week would be huge and help push the Wildcats forward in the bowl pecking order.

Northwestern secures preferred walk-on

A bit of recruiting news this Saturday too. Taylor Johnson of RantSports reports, and Rivals confirms as well, that 6-foot-7 offensive lineman Graham Bullmore has accepted an invitation to be a preferred walk-on at Northwestern. Bullmore plays for Kenosha (Wis.) Bradford High School and is already up near 300 pounds along with his considerable size.

Bradford runs a run-heavy offense and Johnson writes that his pass protections skills need some work before he can make it at the college level. He should get plenty of work though at Northwestern. Johnson writes that Bullmore is one of the top offensive linemen in Wisconsin. However, he has gained little interest from schools. Scout’s profile of him says that only Western Michigan was interested.

Really happy to have Bullmore on the team and hope he can develop nicely into a monster offensive lineman in the next 4-5 years!

  • David

    I am surprised we jumped 5 slots. Now our guys need to go to AA and show they deserve it.

    • DT

      Maybe some of the pollsters need to go to AA with that type bump in voting on a bye week no less…

  • hudhaifa3

    TOUCHDOWN BEARS….blocked my former wildcat McMannis and recovered by former wildcat Corey Wooton….Northwestern getting some shot outs

    • cece

      yep, watching the Bears, and a NU game broke out! later in the game the national announcers mentioned Fitz in conjunction with Woot and Sherrick and their D. WAY cool.

      • Nate

        Corey finally looks healthy after a couple trying years which is great to see. Imagine where he’d be if he didn’t tear his ACL in the Alamo Bowl.

      • nwujames

        Nick Roach was also later called out for having the 3rd most tackles, and mention that the coaches are as pleased as can be with his consistent performance.

    • vaudvillain

      Go Catbears!

    • cece

      hoping to see the vid of Sherrick and Woot on our big screen! would be a nice reminder to recruits, to the fans, of the alums and their great pro play.

  • Smolmania

    I guess the coaches thought our 4th quarter performance yesterday was rank worthy?

    • Nate

      Lol…hey, we didn’t spit the bit, but MSU sure did. Man, what a tough loss.

      • fred

        NU gets help when Denard goes down and U-M doesn’t realize they should put in Gardner as their backup, and then in the MSU game, when the refs levy a penalty during a super MSU pick-6 and then throw a PI on MSU for a clean pass break up at the end. At least the refs didn’t give Martinez a no-call for intentional grounding in his own end zone.

        • fred

          Silly me – obviously meant “UNL”, not “NU” at the beginning

          • Nate

            Yeah the officiating in yesterday’s game was questionable to put it lightly. UNL has to drop 2 of 3. Can Penn St. go to Lincoln and win? Maybe, but Indy doesn’t look good right now. I just want NU to come out of Ann Arbor with the W.

    • PBR Cat

      Not one hundred percent satisfied with the ranking. The Wildcats have not won a game against a first tier opponent yet.

      I am still in pain over the Nebraska loss. The Wildcats could be in first place!
      I am still hoping for the best, but Northwestern needs to take care of business and run the table and hope for some help.
      It is shocking to think that the Wisconsin/Indiana game may decide which team will represent their division in the Conference Championship Game in Indiana.

  • Pittsburgh Wildcat

    Would like to point out an SEC school going through their own football dark ages. Kentucky fired their former-player-turned-head-coach today, after getting crushed at home yesterday by Vandy, 40-0. The last time Kentucky had a winning record in SEC play? 1977. Oh, and UK lost in football back in September to Western Kentucky.

    • David

      Just curious what your point is? Are you trying compare UK to NU? I don’t want to make assumptions about your post.

  • Catatonic Joe

    Just looking at some of the BCS projections. Does anyone know what is the highest BCS ranking the Cats have gotten before?

    • cece

      don’t know, but it’s BCS 24 right now!

    • Nate

      If you’re talking about the highest ranking for an individual week, it would’ve probably been either during the ’00 or ’08 seasons, my guess is 15.

    • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

      GREAT question…should find out today when game notes get released.

    • Fanaticat

      According to HailToPurple.com the highest was #15 BCS in 2000 going into the fateful Iowa game. Bad memories…we were #21 BCS in 2005 going into the fateful Michigan homecoming game.

      We finished the 2005 and 2008 seasons ranked in the BCS, which is a good goal for this year if we win at least 2/3 and the bowl game.

  • Stephen Zgrabik

    #24 in BCS!

  • Mossreport

    I love hearing about this offensive libeman who needs work coming as a preferred walk-on. In the past, we would have probably thrown a scholarship at a talent like this just on potential. Just another sign that Fitz has taken our recruiting to the nexr level.

  • GoU_NU

    Serious question…

    If we win out, what are the chances we can rise to >=14 in the BCS?

    • http://twitter.com/RevDJEsq Chad

      It’s a really fascinating question. A 10-2 B1G team, with no bad losses (PSU/Nebraska are both solid) and 9 wins over BCS conference teams would be pretty damn impressive as a resume. And you have to assume some of the teams ahead of us now in the standings will lose over the coming weeks.

      I mean, #14 Stanford plays #11 Oregon State, #3 Oregon, and #18 UCLA in the coming weeks. #23 Rutgers has Cincinatti, Pitt, and #9 Louisville ahead. #17 Texas still plays #2 Kansas State and TCU. #18 UCLA still plays both USC and Stanford. Odds are that enough teams will lose that we could creep up towards the top 14.

      And what will benefit us is limits on how many teams from each conference the BCS can take, the weakness of the ACC/Big East, Notre Dame being maybe the only non-BCS team likely to make a BCS bowl (although Louisiana Tech is intriguing at #20), and the hopes that the Big 12/Pac 12 might cannabilize each other in the waning days of the season.

      • DT

        And one slip up by NU against UNRANKED Michigan, Michigan State or Illinois deep sixes all that stuff, that makes Romney’s path to the White House look linear.. Game at a time, eh?

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Nebraska5010
Minnesota4110
Iowa4110
Northwestern2210
Wisconsin3100
Illinois3201
Purdue2301

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Maryland4110
Ohio State3100
Michigan State3100
Penn State4111
Rutgers4101
Indiana2201
Michigan2301