Before Anyone Else Cries Foul, Northern Illinois Deserved BCS Bowl Selection

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Before Anyone Else Cries Foul, Northern Illinois Deserved BCS Bowl Selection
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone who believes that the Northern Illinois Huskies do not deserve a BCS Bowl bid should stuff it! I have heard enough of already! NIU should have just as much of a chance to play in a BCS Bowl game as Wisconsin, Louisville and Oklahoma does.

Just do not tell that to ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, who bared no expense in trashing NIU as a BCS Bowl team during the BCS Bowl Selection Show.

The fact that Northern Illinois is in the BCS in 2012 is really a sad state for college football and where we are in the current system. Thank goodness we're moving toward a new system in 2014.

They don't deserve to be in the BCS this year. Are you kidding me with Northern Illinois playing in the BCS? Northern Illinois, no one knew they were playing until the Toledo game a few weeks ago. You're going to leave Oklahoma out to put Northern Illinois into a BCS bowl game? Are you kidding me?

 

ESPN's BCS Bowl panel talks about the Sugar Bowl (via ESPN.com)..

Herbstreit was not the only one upset with NIU getting the at-large berth in the Discover Orange Bowl. KSL.com, a Salt Lake City-based online newspaper held a poll discussing if NIU were deserving of the selection as well.   

There has been a great deal moaning and complaining about NIU earning the right to face the Florida State Seminoles on January 1st. NIU versus FSU is a matchup that, depending on who you ask, no one wants to see. As a member of the MAC Conference, NIU is an unknown entity to most of the college football world. The larger FBS schools generally take the bulk of the spotlight.

Because the country is so fixated on the mega-conferences such as the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10, NIU was able to sneak up in the polls.

Did Northern Illinois deserve to play in a BCS Bowl game?

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Is it NIU’s fault that they have a higher ranking (15th in the AP Poll) than Louisville (22nd) and Wisconsin (unranked)? Those teams represent the winners of the Big East and Big Ten conference championships.

Louisville is 10-2. Perhaps they earned their BCS Bowl bid. They get the right to face “No. 3” Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Four other Big East schools received bowl bids but none of them are ranked in the AP Poll.  

Louisville’s non-conference schedule included Kentucky, Missouri State, North Carolina, Florida International and Southern Mississippi. If you take away North Carolina’s 8-4 record, Louisville’s non-conference opponents combined record was 7-39.

Seven schools received bowl bids in the MAC Conference and Kent State is ranked 25th. NIU’s non-conference opponents included, Iowa, Tennessee-Martin, Army and Kansas. Their combined record was 15-31.

Louisville plays in a tougher conference and according to CollegeFootballPoll.com, their current strength of schedule is 66th out of 124 schools. NIU had a weaker strength of schedule, which is 122nd. Where NIU has an edge over Louisville is in CFP’s Congrove rankings. NIU is 11th while Louisville is 18th.

I compared NIU to Louisville because there is little fuss over Louisville getting an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl despite NIU having a better overall record and ranking.

There is also very little fuss about Wisconsin getting their automatic BCS Bowl ticket punched with an 8-5 record.

Very few people would suggest that NIU is a better team than the three biggest snubs, Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas A&M. There are a couple of arguments to be made why NIU is a feasible option over each of the snubs.

In the case of Georgia and Texas A&M, they are both SEC schools. With two schools, Alabama and Florida already in BCS Bowls, having a third team would not be good for college football. It waters down the purpose of the BCS and represents exclusivity within one football conference.

As for Oklahoma, they did deserve a BCS Bowl bid, but I must pose these questions before I am ready to suggest they were a better choice over NIU.

Did Oklahoma win the Big 12 conference title?

No.

Does the Big 12 have a conference title game?

No.

How many losses does Oklahoma have?

They have two loses.

When did Oklahoma lose their last game?

It was October 27th, their seventh game of the season.

If those same questions were posed for NIU everything would point in their favor. They also have one secret weapon. His name is Jordan Lynch. He is an exciting dual-threat quarterback generating early Heisman Trophy buzz for next season. Oklahoma has nothing that comes close to Lynch.

NIU QB Jordan Lynch discusses the team's bowl selection (via ESPN.com)

Win or lose the game, NIU will come out victorious in terms of media attention and a possible recruiting bump. They have a chance to compete with the same big-boy schools that would refuse to play them otherwise.  

It was time to give another school outside of the major conferences to have a crack at BCS glory.

Kirk Herbstreit, you’re welcome.  

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