The Associated Press preseason poll was released Saturday morning and two Chicago-area teams earned a spot in the Top 25.
Notre Dame came in at No. 14, with Northwestern at No. 22.
Northern Illinois earned 16 votes, but could not crack the Top 25.
Notre Dame is coming off a surprisingly successful season in which they climbed the ranks to the No. 1 spot before being blown out in the National Championship game against Alabama. Several key Irish players have graduated -- including Tyler Eifert and Manti Te'o -- and they will be without 2012 starting quarterback Everett Golson.
Meanwhile, Northwestern's arrow is pointing up, notching a spot in the preseason AP poll for the first time since 2001. Under coach Pat Fitzgerald, a hometown hero, the Wildcats earned national acclaim last year with a 10-3 record and pulled off their first bowl victory since 1949. They return almost every impact player, including quarterback Kain Colter and running back Venric Mark.
Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch put NIU on the map last season, with a Top 25 ranking, but they had a disappointing showing in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.
The complete Top 25 is as follows:
2. Ohio State
6. South Carolina
7. Texas A&M
11. Florida State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Notre Dame
19. Boise State
25. Oregon State