MINNEAPOLIS (AP) With a spot in the Big Ten championship game secured, Northwestern has entered a strange pressure-free stretch of this already memorable season.
No matter what happens for the 24th-ranked Wildcats in the next two games, at Minnesota and against Illinois, they'll represent the West Division in Indianapolis on Dec. 1 against either, gulp, Michigan or Ohio State.
As the first FBS team to reach a title game after losing every nonconference game, Northwestern (6-4, 6-1, No. 24 CFP) is not in contention for the College Football Playoff. Bowl game eligibility has been reached for a fourth straight year. The final two games on the Big Ten schedule will simply be tune-ups for the Wildcats, who won last week at Iowa after beating Wisconsin by two touchdowns two games before that.