NIU Orange Bowl 2013: Don't Blame Northern Illinois, It's Everybody Else's Fault

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterDecember 3, 2012

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 30:  Winning quarterback Jordan Lynch #6 of the Northern Illinois Huskies is presented with the Player of the Game trophy from MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher after defeating the Kent State Golden Flashes 44-37 during the Mid-American Conference Championship game at Ford Field on November 30, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Northern Illinois going to the Orange Bowl is not exactly the "don't hate the player, hate the game" scenario that some, like ESPN's Danny Kanell, are making it out to be:

I hate the current bowl system. Happy for NIU -they deserve a shot but Oklahoma is the best 2 loss team in the country and getting hosed

— Danny Kanell (@dkanell13) December 3, 2012

No, in the case of the Huskies, it is more of a "don't hate the player or the game, hate the other players who sucked at the game" type of a scenario.

You see, this shouldn't be about Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch defending his team as he did in the Chicago Sun-Times. As ESPN's Big Ten Blog pointed out, Northern Illinois players were less than thrilled with ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit bashing their team and their BCS bid.

One player threw an orange at the video screen when Kirk Herbstreit when he said NIU didn't deserve BCS berth

— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) December 3, 2012

The Huskies should not have to defend themselves, nor should the BCS or the Orange Bowl. If anyone should be taken to task and forced to defend themselves, it is the Big East, the Big Ten and even Oklahoma.

Those factors determined how the Sooners are in the Cotton Bowl and how the Huskies gained entrance into the Orange Bowl.

Sorry, Charlie, your after-the-fact outrage is falling on deaf ears in this instance. Oklahoma, win the title for real instead of hoping for an at-large spot. Don't lose to Kansas State, at home, and you do not have to worry about not getting a BCS spot.

More importantly, if random pundits want to be upset because Oklahoma (the No. 11 team) does not get to go, they need to wake up and realize they are blaming the same system that would help the Sooners get in over higher-ranked squads.

Oklahoma is not even a Top 10 team. Yet people are upset the Sooners can't go but are okay with Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina going to non-BCS bowls due to the system's two-team cap.

You cannot have it both ways. The system is the system, and instead of directing your vitriol at a Northern Illinois team that worked the system to success, you need to be mad at the Big Ten and the Big East for leaving the door wide open.

Blame Nebraska for getting their skull dragged all over the field by a five-loss Wisconsin team and giving the opportunity to the Huskies. Even in a loss, if the Cornhuskers were at least competitive, perhaps Northern Illinois would not garner enough support to come in at No. 15.

Point that finger at the Big East, whose champion was at No. 9 before dropping games to Syracuse and Connecticut to fall out of the rankings. If Louisville had avoided the loss to UConn, it would still be ahead of the Huskies, leaving Northern Illinois out and putting Oklahoma in.

Do not blame the Huskies. All they did was go out and win 12 of their 13 games this season. All they did was play the best football they could and then let the chips fall where they may. Thanks to some poor performances by teams in a couple of different conferences, those chips pushed Northern Illinois into the BCS picture.

So, no, don't hate the player. Don't hate the game. Hate all of those other teams that failed to play the game to your liking.