Tonight, the Huskies of Northern Illinois University have a chance to do something that has never been done in school history.
When NIU goes up against Kent State at Ford Field in Detroit, not only is the Mid-American Conference football title on the line, but so is a possible bid into the Bowl Championship Series.
It’s a long shot, but many experts are saying that the winner of tonight’s game could get one of the three at-large bids that will be available.
Both the Huskies and Golden Flashes come into tonight’s game with 11-1 records. Both teams are also ranked in the Top 25.
They are also ranked in the top 20 in the BCS rankings. They are also two of seven one loss teams this year.
Here is how one of these teams can get in:
For starters, one of them needs to win tonight’s game.
Whomever the conference champion is after tonight will have a record of 12-1, and will also have leg up on both Florida and Oregon because those two teams will not be playing for their respective conference championships.
Alabama and Georgia will be playing for the SEC championship tomorrow. Both teams only have one loss and because of where they are currently ranked, the winner will play Notre Dame for the national championship.
So the loser of that game will have two losses and will most likely be eliminated from a BCS spot.
The last one loss team in the mix is Kansas State. They will play Texas on Saturday night but they do so with Oklahoma right on their trail.
Oklahoma has two losses but only one conference loss, both teams have a 7-1 conference record.
Should K-State lose to Texas while OU downs TCU, Oklahoma will win the Big 12 Conference by way of a better conference record.
This will help the winner of the MAC Championship because Oklahoma would be a conference champion with two losses.
Oklahoma winning the the Big 12 title tomorrow will more than likely shatter the BCS hopes of Louisiana State, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Clemson.
The reason for this is that the winners of the Big Ten, Pac-12, and Atlantic Coast championship games, and whoever is crowned the Big East champion will have at least two losses on their resumes.
With so many two or more loss teams getting automatic BCS bids, some of which aren’t even in the Top 25, I doubt that the “BCS Computer” would let too many two loss teams into the fray.
This will be a hard fought game. Kent State is the favorite because of their high powered, pass-happy offense. They also have a dynamic quarterback who has gained almost 4,000 yards of total offense this season.
Both teams are looking for their first BCS bid in the history of their programs.
This would also mark the first BCS bid for the Mid-American Conference, a conference has that always felt left out of the BCS system.
The Huskies have a huge opportunity to make history in more ways than one, and they should not waste it.
They are looking win their third MAC title, and their second in a row. The Huskies have never won back-to-back conference championships. They won their first MAC trophy back in 1983 when the conference did not have a championship game.
This will be NIU’s fourth MAC Championship Game appearance, also a school record. NIU previously won four championships as a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
They also won an additional four titles as a member of the Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
But that is ancient history and the 2012 Huskies are looking to make history of their own.
They hope not to repeat the same mistakes that the 2003 team made. NIU was having an undefeated season that year and was being labeled as a possible “BCS Buster”.
Then on a fateful November Wednesday night, they fell to Bowling Green and all hopes went out the window.
Bowling Green would go on to win the MAC’s West Division and play in the MAC Championship Game.
This year’s Huskie team is not prone to making mistakes from the past. As good as Kent State’s offense is, the Huskies have the 13th best defense in the nation.
They also have one of the best balanced offenses in college football. Dave Doeren has proven thus far to be well on his way to being the greatest coach in the history of NIU football.
Northern Illinois may not be able to control what happens with the rest of the field, but they can control their own destiny.
And I personally believe that they are well coached and motivated to make the State Of Illinois proud.
If the Huskies can get into the BCS they would be only the second Illinois school to do so. The Illinois Fighting Illini made it to the Sugar Bowl back in 2001 after winning the Big Ten Conference.
The NIU Huskies know exactly what’s at stake here, and I have faith that they are ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
You can follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82 #ExtraSports
This post is also available in: Spanish
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