Northwestern is 8th in the College Football Playoff poll as their path to a Big Ten West title gets clearer

Big 10 Sports

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald leads the Wildcats onto the field before a game against Wisconsin at Ryan Field on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Evanston, Illinois. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

EVANSTON – In this season that was going to be historic no matter what due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Northwestern is adding more as the weeks go along.

On Tuesday came another major achievement – cracking into the Top Ten of the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Wildcats came in with the No. 8 ranking when the first poll was announced on Tuesday night, which is the highest in the history of the program. They are the second-highest ranked Big Ten program, with Ohio State ahead of them at No. 4.

This comes after the Wildcats have opened their season with a 5-0 record, including a 17-7 win over then No. 10 Wisconsin. That put them at the top of the Big Ten West division by themselves, meaning that if they win out, they’d win it for the second time in three seasons.

On Monday night, that road actually got a little easier, due to another COVID-19 cancelation for the Badgers.

Positive COVID-19 tests on Minnesota’s team means their game scheduled with Wisconsin for Saturday is off. Since the Badgers can only play a maximum of five games, they are ineligible to take part in the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis on December 19th.

Because of that, Northwestern only needs to win one of their last three games against Michigan State, Minnesota, or Illinois to make it to that contest.

But staying undefeated is on the minds of the Wildcats as they creep closer to a shot at a national championship with every win.

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