Northwestern takes first in ‘Academic BCS’ standings

Josh Walfish, Gameday Editor

Northwestern can take pleasure in knowing that it’s ranked No. 1 in the Bowl Championship Series for academics.

A poll released Monday by the New America Foundation ranked the Wildcats as the best academic team among the 25 schools listed in the final BCS standings of the season. The rankings not only take into account a team’s NCAA Academic Progress Rate, but also how a program’s graduation rate compares with that of the student body, how the black-to-white graduation rate match up and how well the graduation rate among black players compare to black students at the school.

NU graduates 90 percent of its players with both races having a graduation rate of 89 percent, two percentage points higher than the black graduation rate for the school as a whole. The Cats finished with 139 points, 12.3 more than second-place Northern Illinois and 59.3 points ahead of Nebraska, the next-highest Big Ten school on the list.

The two teams playing for the national title on the football field this year, Notre Dame and Alabama, finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the rankings.

— Josh Walfish