College Football Rankings, Championship Week: Northern Illinois Ranked No. 18 In Coaches Poll

Hook 'em, Huskies? - Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

After finishing the regular season 12-0 NIU has jumped up to No. 18 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll. But is it enough to prevent NIU from sliding in the BCS?

After finishing the season 12-0 Northern Illinois has moved up two spots to No. 18 in the latest USA Today Coaches poll. The Huskies defeated WMU 33-14 on Tuesday, and get to play in the MAC Championship game this Friday, for the fourth consecutive season. They take on the Bowling Green Falcons (9-3, 7-1) for the conference championship giving NIU one more chance to boost their rankings before the final bowl decisions are made.

This is the highest the Huskies have been ranked in the Coaches Poll this season. Last week the Huskies moved up a spot in the USA Today Coaches Poll to No. 20, but were still seven spots below the then No. 13 Fresno State Bulldogs. But Fresno (10-1, 7-1 MWC) fell to San Jose State 62-52 Friday night. The Bulldogs fell nine spots this week and now sit at No. 22.

Both Central Florida, the American Athletic Conference champion (a BCS AQ-conference) is still ahead of NIU also moving up two spots this week to land at No. 17. This is a dynamic to watch as Northern Illinois needs to finish in the BCS top 16 and above UCF to get a BCS bid. If NIU can land at No. 12 or higher in the final BCS rankings, it doesn't matter where UCF is. It should be noted that while UCF has had a slight edge over NIU in the Coaches Poll, the Huskies have a sizable lead over the Knights in the BCS rankings thanks to a favorable ranking for NIU by the computers.

The Coaches Poll makes up one-third of the BCS rankings, with the Harris Poll and a collection of computer rankings combining for the other two-thirds of the formula. NIU moved up one spot to No. 17 in last week's Harris Poll. NIU also moved up two spots to No. 16 in the week's AP Poll, which has no bearing on the BCS rankings, but still holds weight with many college football analysts and fans around the country.

The Harris Poll will be updated later today, and the updated BCS rankings will be released tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

UPDATE: The Harris Poll is out and NIU comes in at No. 15 this week, up two spots from last week. The Huskies are three spots ahead of UCF.

Here's a look at the full Coaches Poll:

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Florida State (58) 12-0 1,546 2
2 Ohio State (4) 12-0 1,462 3
3 Auburn 11-1 1,437 5
4 Alabama 11-1 1,333 1
5 Missouri 11-1 1,315 6
6 Oklahoma State 10-1 1,248 7
7 South Carolina 10-2 1,100 9
7 Baylor 10-1 1,100 8
9 Michigan State 11-1 1,037 11
10 Stanford 10-2 1,034 10
11 Clemson 10-2 853 4
12 Oregon 10-2 843 12
13 Arizona State 10-2 765 18
14 LSU 9-3 720 15
15 Oklahoma 9-2 660 17
16 Louisville 10-1 625 16
17 UCF 10-1 572 19
18 Northern Illinois 12-0 547 20
19 UCLA 9-3 473 22
20 Duke 10-2 402 24
21 Wisconsin 9-3 266 14
22 Fresno State 10-1 215 13
23 Cincinnati 9-2 167 25
24 Texas 8-3 149 NR
25 Texas A&M 8-4 121 21
Others Receiving Votes: Miami (FL) 47, Georgia 41, Vanderbilt 18, Iowa 13, Marshall 13, USC 10, Washington 6, Virginia Tech 4, Minnesota 4, Notre Dame 3, Ball State 1

Here's a look at the Harris Interactive Poll for Week 15:

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Florida State (97) 12-0 2,617 2
2 Ohio State (5) 12-0 2,488 3
3 Auburn (3) 11-1 2,422 5
4 Alabama 11-1 2,262 1
5 Missouri 11-1 2,231 6
6 Oklahoma State 10-1 2,083 7
7 Stanford 10-2 1,873 8
8 South Carolina 10-2 1,841 10
9 Baylor 10-1 1,778 9
10 Michigan State 11-1 1,758 11
11 Clemson 10-2 1,444 4
12 Oregon 10-2 1,398 12
13 Arizona State 10-2 1,277 16
14 LSU 9-3 1,258 14
15 Northern Illinois 12-0 1,104 17
16 Oklahoma 9-2 1,041 19
17 Louisville 10-1 1,013 18
18 UCF 10-1 967 20
19 UCLA 9-3 779 22
20 Duke 10-2 620 24
21 Wisconsin 9-3 485 15
22 Fresno State 10-1 428 13
23 Texas A&M 8-4 290 21
24 Texas 8-3 167 NR
25 Georgia 8-4 148 NR
Others Receiving Votes: Cincinnati 142, Miami (FL) 88, USC 51, Notre Dame 19, Ball State 17, Marshall 10, Iowa 7, Washington 7, Minnesota 4, Bowling Green 4, Vanderbilt 4

For those interested, here's the full AP Poll:

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Florida State (58) 12-0 1,498 2
2 Ohio State 12-0 1,418 3
3 Auburn (2) 11-1 1,387 4
4 Alabama 11-1 1,294 1
5 Missouri 11-1 1,281 5
6 Oklahoma State 10-1 1,197 7
7 Stanford 10-2 1,067 8
8 South Carolina 10-2 1,066 10
9 Baylor 10-1 1,020 9
10 Michigan State 11-1 1,002 11
11 Arizona State 10-2 843 13
12 Oregon 10-2 815 12
13 Clemson 10-2 813 6
14 LSU 9-3 690 15
15 UCF 10-1 621 17
16 Northern Illinois 12-0 596 18
17 UCLA 9-3 510 22
18 Oklahoma 9-2 503 20
19 Louisville 10-1 482 21
20 Duke 10-2 348 24
21 Wisconsin 9-3 299 14
22 Texas A&M 8-4 186 19
23 Texas 8-3 156 NR
24 Fresno State 10-1 124 16
25 Georgia 8-4 111 NR
Others Receiving Votes: Cincinnati 45, USC 28, Miami (FL) 26, Notre Dame 26, Iowa 23, Vanderbilt 16, Washington 6, Minnesota 2, North Dakota State 1
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