It's been awhile since Northwestern has been knocking at the "being ranked" door, but one of my favorite activities every time that happens is trying to figure out how NU can scrounge enough votes for next week.
Here are the relevant games:
1. South Dakota at Northwestern
Obviously, if NU loses this game everything else doesn't matter. Stranger things have happened, but not often.
2. BYU (+4.5) at Boise State (25/NR)
BYU has a decent shot in this game. Boise State just isn't as good as their recent iterations.
3. Arizona (22/21, +26.5) at Oregon (3/3)
The free space on the Bingo board.
4. Oregon State (NR, +11) at UCLA (19/19)
I think we're rooting for UCLA, but I'm not sure. Oregon State is also near the upper end of the "also receiving votes" group and would probably enter with a win. Conversely, I'm not sure UCLA drops out even with a loss.
5. Michigan (+3.5, 18/17) at Notre Dame (11/15)
Another mixed game. I think it's better for ND to win as far as being ranked next week, though Michigan might stay in even with 2 losses.
6. Virginia (+13.5) at TCU (17/16)
A long shot, but Virginia has some hot/cold tendencies. Also, I think TCU is in a down year but hasn't suffered for it yet.
7. Baylor (-7) at ULM
Baylor is also near the top of the "Also receiving votes" group. After beating Arkansas and losing in overtime to Auburn, I think ULM has a decent shot.