All Northern Illinois did was go 12-1 en route to winning the MAC Championship. The BCS system did the rest. That logic hasn’t saved the 15th- ranked Huskies from critics who argue that they have no business playing in tonight’s Orange Bowl against ACC Champ Florida State. Per Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com, even Orange Bowl officials aren’t being shy about their displeasure with this evening’s primetime matchup.
Feldman says that according to sources, an Orange Bowl representative recently told an NIU staffer “You guys (NIU) don’t even deserve to be here. We didn’t even want you here.”
The reported comments from the Orange Bowl rep may seem classless to some, but most college football fans agree with them. Even though the majority of fans admittedly enjoy seeing mid-major programs get a crack at the BCS, a team like NIU normally has to go undefeated to earn an invitation to one of the elite bowl games. Northern Illinois lost to a 4-8 Iowa team, and their only win against a ranked opponent came against a Kent State squad that lost to SEC bottom feeder Kentucky.
We will see if Northern Illinois uses all of the criticism that has come their way as motivation in about an hour when the game kicks-off.