The Northern Illinois University Huskies entered the Top 25 in the USA Today Weekly Coaches’ Poll at No. 23 this week, marking the earliest appearance in the Top 25 by an NIU team since 2003. In the Associated Press’ Week 6 rankings, the Huskies come in just outside the Top 25 in the “Others Receiving Votes” category at No. 26.
NIU earned a Top 25 ranking for the third time in the last four seasons by picking up 131 points from the coaches to enter the USA Today Poll at No. 23, between 4-0 Texas Tech (231 points) and 3-1 Arizona State (118 points). Prior to its 55-24 win over Purdue Saturday to lift Northern Illinois to 4-0 on the season, the Huskies had 21 points and were in the 30th spot.
The Huskies earned 104 points from the media voters in the Associated Press poll, up from just nine the week before. NIU is 15 points behind No. 25 Maryland (4-0) in the AP listing.
NIU finished the 2012 campaign ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in school history when they came in at No. 22 (AP) and No. 24 (USA Today) in the final polls. The Huskies spent four weeks in the Top 25 a year ago beginning in Week 13. The Huskies never cracked the Top 25 in 2011 despite posting an 11-3 record and winning their last nine games. NIU spent one week in the AP and USA Today Top 25 in 2010 before falling in the MAC Championship game.
Northern Illinois’ earliest appearance in the Top 25 came in 2003 when the Huskies were ranked 20th (AP) and 22nd (USA Today) in Week 5 after defeating No. 21 Maryland, Tennessee Tech, No. 23 Alabama and Iowa State. NIU spent a school record eight weeks in the Top 25 that season and reached a record-high ranking of No. 12 (AP) and 14 (USA Today).
NIU was ranked in the Top 25 in four weekly polls last season, rising to a ranking of No. 16 after winning the Mid-American Conference title.
The Huskies take on Kent State (2-3, 1-1 MAC), their opponent in last year’s MAC Championship game, Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2:30 p.m. at Dix Stadium. The game will be televised by Time Warner Cable Sportschannel and can be seen live locally on WTVO Rockford’s DT2 channel as well as online on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN mobile app. Comcast SportsNet Chicago will replay the NIU-Kent State game on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.