Notre Dame is getting all the attention in the national media outlets, but two other Chicago-market teams have cracked the BCS Top 25 rankings.
Northern Illinois and Northwestern are among the country's best teams, coming in at No. 21 and No. 22, respectively.
NIU, owners of an 11-1 record, join conference rival Kent State as the only two members of the MAC. Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch leads the way for the Huskies and has emerged as an outside challenger for the Heisman trophy with 2,750 passing yards, 1,611 rushing yards and 39 total touchdowns (23 passing, 16 rushing).
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald has Northwestern at 9-3, joining Nebraska and Michigan as the only Big Ten teams in the Top 25. Junior running back Venric Mark (1,310 yards, 11 TDs) and junior quarterback Kain Colter (820 rushing yards, 12 TDs) lead one of the best rushing attacks in the NCAA, netting 230.9 yards per game, good for 14th in the nation.
In the AP poll, NIU finished 19th while Northwestern was again 22nd. Northern stretched as high as No. 18 in the USA Today Poll while the Wildcats came in at No. 20. In the ESPNU Fan Rankings, NIU received votes but Northwestern did not.