Happy for the MAC
I have no idea whether Northern Illinois playing in the Orange Bowl is a strength or weakness of the BCS system, but I'm glad to see a Mid-American Conference school in a BCS bowl. Seven MAC schools are going to bowl games and it's not a coincidence. Teams in the conference have beaten Penn State, Rutgers, Iowa and others in so-called power conferences.
So ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit calls NIU's inclusion "a joke." Well if you want Oklahoma in a BCS bowl Kirk, why don't you tell the Sooners to play a little defense?
The whole BCS system is a joke, that's why it's getting reformed. But to pick on NIU isn't warranted. BTW, Kirk, who does your alma mater Ohio State play in its bowl game? Oh that's right, the Buckeyes have NCAA sanctions.
Little guys, rejoice
I'll call it a strength, but I'm admittedly biased. Did I want Kent State to show up in the Orange Bowl? Nope. But Chicago is NIU territory, and I'm craving to see Jordan Lynch take on a perennially overhyped and potentially under-motivated Florida State team.
The BCS will get blown up soon enough, but its biggest flaw is the rule that limits conferences to two teams. If ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit is fired up about NIU, what about Louisville? It is ranked six spots lower than the Huskies in the BCS standings, and they have two losses, not one, and didn't play a ranked team.
At least NIU is a little guy, and an intriguing one at that. Louisville is nothing more than good team that has a QB (Teddy Bridgewater) with a great name.
What's the big deal?
Los Angeles Times
It's both a strength and a weakness of the BCS system and a joke that so many people are making such a big deal about this. Does Northern Illinois belong? Why not? Georgia Tech would have been in the Orange Bowl with a 7-6 record had it won the ACC, and it still got a bowl bid at 6-7. Now that's a systemic failure. Louisiana Tech not getting a bowl bid at 9-3 is a breakdown. Northern Illinois got in because more than 200 voters and six computers put them in the top 16.
NIU finished ahead of two "AQ" champions, Louisville and Wisconsin, which still got major bids with a combined seven losses. The BCS bullies need to leave NIU alone and I'm kind of hoping the Huskies beat Florida State just to shut everyone up.
NIU earned invitation
Iliana Limón Romero
Northern Illinois scoring a BCS bowl bid is one of the great things about our current postseason format. Kirk Herbstreit railed against the Huskies during ESPN's selection show, but they weren't handed a BCS bowl invitation. The 12-1 team earned it. NIU doesn't boast a marquee strength of schedule, but that just meant there was less room for error for the team all year long. It beat a Top 25 team in overtime to earn a conference title and bowl bid.
If you want to talk about teams that didn't necessarily earn their spots, look at Wisconsin. It stumbled into the conference title game at 4-4 because Penn State and Ohio State were serving postseason bans. Wisconsin beat Nebraska and coasted to the Rose Bowl at 8-5.