When the No. 12 Florida State Seminoles square off against the No. 15 Northern Illinois Huskies Tuesday in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl, the exciting meeting of two wildly different programs has the entire sport on the edge of its seat.
While the Seminoles are a storied program with enough bowl experience to classify them as one of the college football mega powers, the Huskies are not well-known to the casual fans, but are as hot as any team in the nation.
After losing the season opener to Iowa, Northern Illinois has won 12 straight games and enters the Orange Bowl as a viable threat to ruin Florida State’s chance of walking away victorious.
The Seminoles may be fighting for Orange Bowl glory on New Year’s Day, but the Huskies are fighting for the honor of their school because they know Northern Illinois may never get this chance again.
Football fans should be ready for a hard-fought battle Tuesday.
Who: ACC Champion vs. No. 3 BCS at-large selection
Where: SunLife Stadium in Miami
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: ESPN Radio
Prediction: Florida State 24, NIU 23
As much as the Northern Illinois Huskies are the Cinderella story every college football fans want to root for, the Florida State Seminoles are the more talented group of players and will walk away victorious.
The Huskies deserve immense credit for a great season—eighth in the sport with 40.8 points scored per game—but the lack of elite competition in the MAC has inflated the impressive defensive numbers; a unit that ranks 18th in college football with 19 points allowed per game.
While those numbers are impressive, Florida State has even more impressive statistics against better competition.
The Seminoles offense is one of the best in the sport—12th in college football with 39.9 points per game—but it will be the defense that steps up and shuts down the Huskies.
With only 15.1 points allowed per game, the Florida State defense is ranked sixth in the nation; that will be the difference.
After a brutal game that features plenty of back-and-forth action, it will be the Seminoles that walk out of SunLife Stadium with the Orange Bowl Trophy.
Check back for more on the NCAA Football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s College Football page to get your fill of college football.