On Friday, November 30th, the Northern Illinois Huskies defeated #17 Kent State in the Mid-American Conference championship game. This placed them into the top 16 in Sunday’s Bowl Championship Series standings, earing them a spot in the . This is the first time ever that a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference has made it into the BCS while not being undefeated. NIU ended 12-1 with their only loss being to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Huskies will be playing Florida State (11-2) in the Orange Bowl on January 1st. This will be a tough match-up for the Huskies, especially since they lost their head coach, Dave Doeren, this past Saturday to a job offer from North Carolina State. Many are criticizing the Huskies’ worthiness to play in the BCS. Rules state that no more than two teams from a conference can be in the BCS. This leaves teams like Georgia and Florida from being able to play in a BCS bowl game, even though they’re definitely worthy of it. If this rule didn’t exist, there is no way that Northern Illinois would ever play in the BCS.
Many say that since Northern Illinois isn’t even undefeated they haven’t really proven why they deserve to play in such an important title game. Their appearance in the top 16 earned them a spot because they are ranked above Wisconsin and Louisville. NIU took up an at-large spot that many believe belongs to better teams. Critics can’t wait until the BCS moves towards another system in 2014, saying that the system they have now is just not working.
At the end of the day, it’s a fact that NIU will be playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl. It’ll either be a blowout or the Huskies might end up surprising a lot of the skeptics.