The analysts have spoken, and the Northern Illinois Huskies do not deserve the Orange Bowl bid they received.
Never mind the Huskies won 12 games with only one loss. Never mind they finished 15th in the nation in the computer polls. Never mind they won their conference, which all the teams on the outside looking in did not.
The Huskies aren't good enough to play in the Orange Bowl. That's the common belief.
Yet there they are, and we should be excited about their inclusion. While it may be true that the Oklahoma Sooners are a more talented team than Northern Illinois, would a BCS bowl game with Oklahoma be more interesting than a BCS bowl game with the Huskies?
Oklahoma certainly has a larger fanbase, and it has more national interest. However, let's just say the Sooners were put in the Orange Bowl against Florida State—is that a game that really stokes the fires of any football fan that doesn't have a rooting interest in either of the two teams?
For football purists, maybe it does. But for the common fan, the Northern Illinois Huskies bandwagon is ready to be jumped upon. The Huskies are a great underdog story. We love great underdog stories. Remember Rudy? Remember the Americans beating the Russians in the Olympics?
Northern Illinois has become a hot topic team, no matter how you feel about its bowl bid. For those who love the Cinderella story, you now have a team to root for. For those who are outraged about the Huskies' inclusion, you now have a team to root against, and hope they get blown out by 40 points. No matter what your opinion is, their game against Florida State generates interest.
The BCS system is hopelessly flawed, and this season has shown that perhaps more than any other. But for college football, it's tremendous. College football, at its core, is a business, and there is nothing worse for business than apathy. There is nothing about the Northern Illinois BCS bowl bid that would generate an apathetic reaction.
And that is a win for college football.