Northern Illinois Football: Should Huskies Make Jump to BCS Conference?

Dean SiemonAnalyst IIJanuary 24, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 01: Jordan Lunch #6 of the Northern Illinois Huskies rolls out to look for a receiver against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Soldier Field on September 1, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A couple of weeks have passed since the Northern Illinois Huskies fell to the Florida State Seminoles 31-10 in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.

It was quite the achievement, whether some experts felt they earned the opportunity or not, for NIU to claim a BCS berth with a second consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship.

The Huskies had a great season after winning 12 straight games and showing they are a dominant program in the MAC.

In the last decade, they've had several great seasons under different head coaches and wins against BCS teams.

The best season was in 2003, when NIU had victories over Maryland (ACC), Alabama (SEC) and Iowa State (Big 12).

But for a team that has done so well in the MAC in recent years, it feels there is so much more the program can do.

While browsing online, I found a column by B/R writer Keith Justice regarding NIU jumping to the Big East Conference (yes, it took me awhile to finally sit down to read this).

The Big East does need to expand its membership with a few schools deciding they want to move out to another conference.

But I honestly don't think it would be a perfect fit for the Huskies.

Consider that in football, they would remain competitive but probably have some struggles in the first few years against teams like UConn, Syracuse and Louisville.

In other sports, the Huskies would have a lot of problems. For one, the basketball program has a hard time winning games in the MAC.

If the Huskies were to switch to the BCS, the best possible fit for them would be in the Big 10.

Think about this; they are already in the Midwest and have had a history playing teams in the conference.

They already have a games at Iowa and Purdue for the 2013 season.

I also see a great rivalry start between NIU and Illinois. They have faced each other before in some close games.

In 2010, NIU lost 28-22 at Memorial Stadium in an almost even match.

The Huskies may not have the largest attendance at their games, but they would be able to travel well in the Big 10 with schools like Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern and Indiana.

The question remains if they will compete in a bigger conference.

There might be a season or two of adjusting to the new conference, but I could see them making an impact by Season 3.

They would have a better chance in a conference such as the Big 10 because of the Midwest market and the familiarity with the teams.