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Northwestern finally welcomed into the Top 25 poll

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(Associated Press)

After a 5-0 start, with four wins against BCS conference opponents, the Associated Press voters have finally taken notice of Northwestern.

The Wildcats cracked the AP poll, checking in at No. 24 this week. Northwestern, perhaps the biggest surprise in the Big Ten so far, is making its season debut in the poll. Northwestern looked impressive in a 44-29 win against Indiana on Saturday.

While Northwestern has had some moments of football glory, particularly when current coach Pat Fitzgerald was a linebacker in the mid-1990s, the school is far better known for its academic standing than its athletic prowess. But Fitzgerald has shown Northwestern can be competitive on the field as well, building a program that has emerged as a legitimate threat to win the Big Ten this season, something that would probably get a little more buzz nationally than the school's stellar graduation rates.

While Northwestern should feel pretty good about its move up in the polls, a national power can't be too happy to move down.

LSU, which dispatched an overmatched Towson team on Saturday, moved down from No. 3 to No. 4 in the AP poll. Taking the third spot in the poll is Florida State, which handled South Florida 30-17 on Saturday, a week after beating Clemson at home.

Here is the rest of the AP's Top 25:

1. Alabama (60)
2. Oregon
3. Florida St.
4. LSU
5. Georgia
6. South Carolina
7. Kansas St.
8. West Virginia
9. Notre Dame
10. Florida
11. Texas
12. Ohio St.
13. USC
14. Oregon St.
15. TCU
15. Clemson
17. Oklahoma
18. Stanford
19. Louisville
20. Mississippi St.
21. Nebraska
22. Rutgers
23. Washington
24. Northwestern
25. UCLA

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