(AP) - The day after earning a spot in the Big Ten championship game, Northwestern is ranked in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season.
The Wildcats (6-4) were No. 24 in the Top 25 after beating Iowa to clinch the Big Ten West with two games to play.
The rest of the Top 25 was fairly stable, especially at the top where the only difference in the first 11 teams from last week was No. 8 Washington State moving past No. 9 Ohio State and No. 10 LSU.
Alabama is a unanimous No. 1, followed by Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan and Georgia. Oklahoma is six and West Virginia seventh. UCF is still No. 11.
Northwestern was ranked 17th at the end of last season, but lost three of four to start 2018.
The Wildcats have had a strange season, losing early to Duke and Akron and late to Notre Dame, to become the first team in FBS to win a division without winning a nonconference game, according to ESPN Stats and Info. But they are 6-1 in Big Ten play, with only a 20-17 loss against Michigan. Northwestern has won four Big Ten games by four points or less, and beat Michigan State by 10.