Big Ten in the polls: Northwestern returns

Northwestern has hovered on the periphery of the Top 25 for most of the season. After Saturday's 50-14 shellacking of rival Illinois, the 9-3 Wildcats are back in for a while.

Pat Fitzgerald's crew returned to the polls Sunday, checking in at No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches' poll. A turbulent week at the bottom of the Top 25 helped Northwestern get back in.

The Big Ten has four teams in the AP poll and three in the coaches'.

Despite finishing the season at 12-0, Ohio State remains at No. 4 in the AP poll, behind two one-loss SEC teams (Alabama and Georgia). The Buckeyes will move up to No. 3 in next week's poll as Alabama and Georgia meet in the SEC championship game. There's a good debate about whether Ohio State or Georgia should be No. 3 right now (I think it should be Ohio State).

Nebraska moves up three spots to No. 14 in the AP poll and one spot to No. 13 in the coaches'.

Michigan remains ranked in both polls despite its loss to Ohio State. The Wolverines fall one spot to No. 21 in the AP poll, while the coaches drop Michigan four spots to No. 24.

Penn State is finally getting some love from the AP voters, who have the Lions fourth among teams also receiving votes.

To recap:

AP Poll

No. 4 Ohio State (last week: 4)

No. 14 Nebraska (last week: 17)

No. 21 Michigan (last week: 20)

No. 22 Northwestern (last week: not ranked)

Penn State receiving votes

Coaches' Poll

No. 13 Nebraska (last week: 14)

No. 20 Northwestern (last week: not ranked)

No. 24 Michigan (last week: 20)

No other Big Ten teams receiving votes (Ohio State and Penn State not eligible to be ranked)