College Football Top 25: 10 non-ranked teams who could crack the late-season polls

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Dec 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback Drew Hare (12) runs the ball in for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Bowling Green Falcons at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4: Northern Illinois Huskies

2014 Finish: 11-3, 7-1 MAC

Northern Illinois is for real, and they are the epitome of what MACtion is all about. The Huskies have won the MAC three times in the past five years, and have played in the championship game for five straight seasons.

Drew Hare will be returning at quarterback this season, after replacing Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch, and the Huskies were fine with Hare running the show. He completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 2,322 yards and 18 touchdowns to only two interceptions. This Husky offense is loaded and ready to fire once more, returning several key players.

Defensively, NIU had some struggles, but they are returning eight starters. They sat pretty much in the middle of the pack against the run and pass, and in scoring defense. Finding a way to get offenses off the field quicker will go along way to continuing the level of success this program is seeing.

The Huskies probably have the best shot at securing a Group of Five playoff spot this season if they play up to potential. A week three match up against defending national champion Ohio State highlights what is a pretty tough schedule. If the Huskies pull off that upset and win the MAC outright, a playoff spot is more than attainable. Top 25 should be a given.

Next: Colorado State