Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's that Number Next to Northwestern?

That would be a ranking. Yeah, a national ranking. For the first time since November of 2005, the Wildcats have moved into the top 25, with a #22 ranking in the coaches' poll.

Northwestern was idle last weekend, but moved up anyway, setting up a match-up between ranked teams when #19 Michigan State comes into Evanston this Saturday.

With a 5-0 start the Wildcats are almost a lock for a bowl game this year as head coach Pat Fitzgerald is enjoying his best season yet. With three winnable games against Purdue, Indiana, and Minnesota to follow Michigan State, Northwestern could be looking at 9-0 heading into a match-up with Ohio State in November.

A 9-0 start is not likely, but the hype is starting to build on campus and obviously people are starting to take notice nationally. The worry is that Northwestern will be distracted by the success, but Fitzgerald and his veteran team will do all they can to avoid distractions.

The Wildcats do have the advantage of senior leadership this year and one senior, tailback Tyrell Sutton knows how important it is to stay focused on winning games.

"You have to block everything out," Sutton said. "The biggest thing we can do is focus on ourselves and stick to the game plan."

Northwestern and Michigan State have played some great games in the past few seasons and this year's shouldn't be any different with both teams undefeated in the conference and ranked in the nation. So I'd tune in Saturday, or at least peek at the score.

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