Northwestern football is giving a whole new meaning to the term, "sleeper pick."

The Wildcats have jumped out to a surprising 6-1 start to the season, and the team believes its success lies in a very basic part of their pre-game ritual: nap time.

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald realized the importance of his players' cat naps after the team's sluggish start against Boston College, according to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. Despite pulling out a 22-13 win, the Wildcats trailed 10-9 in the second quarter after the Eagles' defense returned a botched snap for a touchdown. After the game, Fitzgerald discussed the sloppy play with his leadership council, who attributed it to the kickoff time interfering with their scheduled napping.

"They looked at me, and they're like, 'Well, coach, it's nap time," Fitzgerald told the Chicago Tribune. "I'm like, 'What?' They go, 'It's what time we take a nap.' I said, 'OK, fine.'"

Since then, Northwestern has instituted mandatory nap time into its game-day regimen, with players contending that it makes a significant difference on the field.

"We'll wake up, have our pregame meal, do our mental things and then have a mandatory nap," quarterback Kain Colter told ESPN Chicago. "Those hotel beds are really comfortable and the pillows are soft. [Then] we'll come down refreshed and ready to kick some butt."

Fitzgerald reluctantly ceded, making the wise decision to go with what has worked for his team thus far.

"Unbelievable," Fitzgerald lamented to the Tribune. "This is what I get paid to do. Seriously. Create naptime. It's pathetic."

The secret may be out, however; the New York Jets recently brought in a sleep specialist to help improve the team's performance.

"They're trying to help us in any way they can so we can perform at a high level," said right tackle Austin Howard, via The Wall Street Journal. "It's absolutely a smart move."

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  • Kentucky State

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  • Boise State

    Boise State's Shane Williams-Rhodes (11) tries to break the tackle of Miami (Ohio) defensive back D.J. Brown, left, during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Boise, Idaho.

  • Hawaii

    Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder throws a pass during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Brigham Young on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, in Provo, Utah.

  • Florida A&M

    Florida A&M running back James Owens (21) takes off on a long run against Hampton in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Tallahassee, Fla.

  • Washington State

    Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday passes against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Seattle.

  • Air Force

    After pulling in a pass, Air Force's Drew Coleman heads for the end zone while being pursued by Colorado State's Kevin Pierr-Louis during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Falcon Stadium at Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012.

  • Miami

    Miami running back Mike James (5) runs against Bethune-Cookman defensive back Tim Burke (21) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Miami.

  • Albany State

    Albany State defensive back Gary Howard (23), intercepts a pass intended for Kentucky State's Troy Churchill Jr. (13), while fellow Albany State defensive back Jeremy Reynolds (21), looks on in the third quarter of the Chicago Football Classic football game in Chicago, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012.

  • Miles

    Miles' quarterback David Thomas (16) gets his face mask pulled by Albany State's Jamarkus Gaskins (44) during the SIAC college football championship game at Clark Atlanta University, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Atlanta.

  • Boston College

    Alex Amidon #83 of the Boston College Eagles celebrates with teammates following his touchdown against the Clemson Tigers during the game on September 29, 2012 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

  • UAB

    UAB's Jonathan Perry drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.

  • Tennessee Tech

    Tech wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers carries the ball against Oregon during a college football game in Eugene, Ore.

  • Oregon

    Oregon center Hroniss Grasu, right, sets up for the snap while quarterback Marcus Mariota calls out signals during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Fresno State in Eugene, Ore.

  • Louisiana Tech

    Louisiana Tech running back Hunter Lee (36) gets tripped up by Virginia defensive tackle Will Hill (93) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Scott stadium in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012.

  • Iowa State

    Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz, left, fumbles the ball in front of Texas Tech linebacker Branden Jackson, right, during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Ames, Iowa.

  • Marshall

    Marshall's Rakeem Cato runs a quarterback keeper in the red zone past Western Carolina defender Brian Johnson during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, W.Va.

  • Wyoming

    Wyoming running back DJ May is pulled down by Toledo during an NCAA college football game in Laramie, Wyo., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012.

  • Maryland

    Maryland running back Justus Pickett (44) celebrates with his wide receiver Kevin Dorsey (12) after scoring a touchdown on a 6-yard run during the fourth quarter of a NCAA college football game against William & Mary, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in College Park, Md.

  • San Jose State

    San Jose State quarterback David Fales is chased by Stanford cornerback Usua Amanam (15) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.

  • Virginia Tech

    Virginia Tech running back Michael Holmes (20) looks for room against Georgia Tech's Rod Sweeting (6) and Quayshawn Nealy (54) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Monday, Sept. 3, at Lane Stadium, in Blacksburg, Va.

  • Central Florida

    Central Florida's Justin Tukes, left, celebrates his touchdown against Ohio State with teammates including Phil Smith (75) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.

  • Georgia

    Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan, right, is congratulated by teammate Adam Erickson after kicking a 52-yard field goal during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Columbia, Mo.

  • Iowa

    Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg looks for a receiver during the fourth quarter against Iowa State in an N,CAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 in Iowa City, Iowa.

  • Minnestota

    Minnestota's quarterback MarQueis Gray (5) looks for an open player during the first half action during his NCAA college football game against UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 in Las Vegas.