No. 7 – Northwestern Wildcats 0-2 (0-0)
It’s hard to put Northwestern last in the power rankings because of the potential they have as a team. They started the season garnering a couple of top-25 votes, however have stumbled out of the gates. A 22-21 loss to Western Michigan was surprising but understandable. The Broncos are arguably the best team in the MAC and have built a very good program over the past couple of seasons.
One of the most shocking losses in college football throughout the first two weeks, though, is when the Wildcats fell to Illinois State 9-7. They failed to score until 9:10 remained in the fourth quarter and easily allowed Illinois State to march down the field to kick a game winning field goal. Illinois State’s quarterback Jake Kolbe completed all seven passes on the final drive to set up the game-winning 33-yard field goal.
The field goal bounced off the uprights, making Northwestern just an inch away from being 1-1. Even if Northwestern escaped with a win, they shouldn’t have been in that position to begin with. For a program that had seemingly turned itself around since Pat Fitzgerald took over, they’ve gone back to the old-Northwestern that is historically one of the worst programs in the nation.
Not to mention that star running back Justin Jackson went down with a lower body injury in their loss to the Redbirds. He’s expected to play against Duke this week, but that doesn’t fix the Wildcats problems through the air. Clayton Thorson has completed just 50.8 percent of his passes this season, and was a liability for much of their game against Illinois State.
Northwestern was a top-25 team in 2015, however most of their wins were close games where a couple of key plays went their way. Those plays haven’t gone their way this year, and their offense hasn’t been good enough to complement their stifling defense as a result.
The Wildcats have potential to get their season back on track, therefore it’s hard to put them last knowing the type of team they can be. With that being said, they just lost to Illinois State, are the only team in the West Division without a win, and have Duke, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan State next on their schedule.
Next: No. 6