The Florida State Seminoles are no stranger to the Orange Bowl. They have had some epic games against some of college football’s powerhouse programs, playing the likes of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Penn State and Notre Dame.
This year, the Seminoles find themselves back in the Orange Bowl and will take on, well, not exactly another college football powerhouse. They’ll play the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Northern Illinois? How do you go from Nebraska to Oklahoma to Penn State to Notre Dame to…Northern Illinois? Something doesn’t add up. That’s BCS math for you.
How is that possible?
It’s all real simple. There is a BCS clause that states a team from a non-BCS league to be chosen if it finishes in the top 16 of the BCS standings and is higher than a BCS conference champion.
Despite many pundits screaming that these Huskies do not belong, here they are. And it’s not the Huskies fault. If you want to point fingers, blame the system. It’s been broken for years. It will undoubtedly get tweaked again this year but it will never be right until a true playoff system is put in place.
It’s just a shame that a system has to completely fall apart before changes are made. Just ask the NFL in regards to replacement refs. You would think that there are smart enough people making enough money to figure out problems before they arise. But I guess not.
So enter NIU.
The fact of the matter is that NIU is actually a pretty good team, relatively speaking. Northern Illinois is coming into the game having won 21 of 22 (their only loss was a season opener this year against a bad Iowa team), including a school-record winning streak and a second straight Mid-American Conference championship.
Northern Illinois (12-1) is the first MAC school to earn a BCS bowl berth. They are not, however, the first non-BCS school to earn a berth. There have been seven of those. You can believe the FSU players and coaches are well aware that those teams are 5-2 in BCS games.
Remember when TCU beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl after the 2010 season? Utah knocked off Alabama in the Sugar Bowl after 2008. And who could forget the Statue of Liberty Bowl, otherwise known as the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when Boise State went for two and the win instead of kicking an extra point to tie the game after a last minute touchdown to beat the mighty Oklahoma Sooners.
Florida State may be primed for another one of those upsets. They aren’t exactly coming into this game setting the world on fire. After beginning the season ranked seventh and rising as high as third, they lost 17-16 at N.C. State on Oct. 6. Their dim but existent national title hopes ended with a 37-26 loss to Florida on Nov. 24. Then, in the ACC title game Dec. 1, the Seminoles were a heavy favorite over Georgia Tech but were shut out in the second half and needed an interception in the final minute to pull off a 21-15 win.
So this matchup between the Huskies of NIU and the FSU Seminoles may not carry the same glamor as Orange Bowls of days past, but it should make for a good game. NIU will be revved up and ready to play and FSU will have to do everything it can to not look down on these Huskies.
If the Seminoles show up at all, they’ll win by double digits. They have tons of talent and too much depth.
Just don’t be too swift to count out NIU. Nobody thought they would even be in this game; and they have nothing to lose. So, if it comes down to a last minute touchdown and they need an extra point to tie the game, don’t be surprised if they go for two for the win, Boise State style. Statue of Liberty anyone?
Where To Watch Online: Northern Illinois vs. Florida State