Updated: Northwestern returns to coaches’ poll

Josh Walfish, Gameday Editor

Northwestern was ranked 21st today in the latest USA Today Coaches’ Poll, its highest ranking in the poll since Dec. 7, 2008, when it was ranked No. 20.

The Wildcats were ranked No. 22 in the same poll Sept. 30 after starting the season 5-0 but did not return to the rankings until this week. NU received the fifth-most votes among schools not in the top-25 in the Associated Press Poll, 65 points behind No. 25 Texas Tech.

The Bowl Championship Series’ rankings will come out tonight. The coaches’ poll is 1/3 of the equation, along with the Harris Interactive Poll and computer rankings. NU is ranked 24th, up from 26th, in this week’s Harris poll, released this afternoon. The computer rankings won’t be released until the BCS Standings are revealed.

The Big Ten continued its poor showing in the polls, as only two teams were ranked in each this week. In the AP Poll, Ohio State is ranked at No. 5 and Nebraska is No. 18, but because the Buckeyes are ineligible for the coaches’ poll, Nebraska moves up to No. 16 and the Cats are No. 21. Several other Big Ten schools are receiving votes in either poll.

NU is 7-2 this season but faces a stern test on Saturday, when it travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on Michigan. The Wolverines received the third-most votes of any team not in the top-25 in both the AP and coaches’ polls this week.

Check back with The Daily this evening when the BCS standings are released at 7:30.

Josh Walfish