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:
|1||Florida State (58)||12-0||1,546||2|
|2||Ohio State (4)||12-0||1,462||3|
|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:
|1||Florida State (97)||12-0||2,617||2|
|2||Ohio State (5)||12-0||2,488||3|
|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:
|1||Florida State (58)||12-0||1,498||2|
|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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