The MAC Champions may not "deserve" to be in a BCS bowl, but let's not act like that they're the most unqualified team in one this year.
With Notre Dame vs. Alabama the obvious call for the BCS title game, the biggest bit of drama coming into Sunday's bowl announcements was whether Northern Illinois would sneak into a BCS game.
By getting into the top 16 of the BCS standings and finishing ahead of two BCS conference champs (Wisconsin and Louisville), the Huskies managed to secure a spot in the Orange Bowl, where they'll play ACC champion Florida State.
For some reason, this seemed to bother Kirk Herbstreit greatly:
"The fact that Northern Illinois is in the BCS in 2012 is really a sad state for college football and where we are in the current system," Herbstreit said. "Thank goodness we're moving toward a new system in 2014.
"They don't deserve to be in the BCS this year. Are you kidding me with Northern Illinois playing in the BCS? Northern Illinois, no one knew they were playing until the Toledo game a few weeks ago. You're going to leave Oklahoma out to put Northern Illinois into a BCS bowl game? Are you kidding me?"
First off -- are you kidding me? The Oklahoma Sooners? This is the team that must be in a top bowl?
Let's be reality, this isn't one of the stronger teams Bob Stoops has had in Norman. Both their losses (Notre Dame, Kansas State) are respectable, but they don't have any impressive wins under their belt either. If your best win is against an underachieving Texas squad, you really haven't done all that much.
This is the team I'm supposed to be outraged for? It's no great loss for college football fans not to see Landry Jones one last time, trust me.
Are we even sure Northern Illinois is the weakest team in the BCS? 8-5 Wisconsin hasn't exactly lit the world on fire this year and 10-2 Louisville doesn't have too many skins on their wall either. For that matter, what's Florida State's most impressive win? Clemson?
I'm not saying the Huskies will be competitive against the Seminoles in Miami; I really have no idea. But I'm curious to see what they can do against a major conference power, what Jordan Lynch will do on a national stage and how the MAC style of play holds up against a defense filled with future NFL players. I'm a lot more curious about that than who would win a hypothetical Florida State-Louisville bout.
There are a lot of things wrong with college football, but Northern Illinois getting their shot to pull a Boise State on a national stage isn't one of them.