Northern Illinois Huskies are this season's underdog story
We all love the underdog. The sports movie genre is built on this premise. We all love to watch the small Indiana high school take down the giant. We love to see Rick Moranis lead his "Little Giants" against the towns favorite Pop Warner "Cowboys," and we love to see the ragtag little league team go from bad news bears to league champs. This year might provide us with another tale suitable for the silver screen. The much-unknown Northern Illinois Huskies have qualified for the BCS Orange Bowl this year and are set to play the Florida State Seminoles in a battle of notoriety and football. The Huskies were able to bypass powerhouse teams such as Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. The outrage that has poured out of the talking heads on ESPN and other networks has been loud and obnoxious at points and they always point out their reasons why the little guy shouldn't get a shot. Well here are your reasons why this little school in Northern Illinois deserves a chance.
The Huskies finished 12-1 this year and won their respective conference unlike the likes of Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. While I understand that the MAC Conference that NIU plays in features far less competitive teams than conferences such as the Big 10 and SEC. However, they can't help the fact that they are not a good enough team to compete in a powerful conference year in and year out. They were good enough this year, so why not give them a chance to perform against some of the big dogs?
Some people might say that based on the eye test, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are far superior teams and would blow out NIU 99 out of 100 times. Well in the words of famed "Little Giants" head coach Rick Moranis that still leaves, "One Time." Unfortunately for larger schools who feel like they could easily beat on smaller schools, we don't have a head-to-head playoff system for them to prove that. So those teams are forced to take a back seat. Georgia and Texas A&M should be especially mad at the post season rules as the BCS only allows a maximum of two schools per conference into BCS bowl games. Alabama and Florida took those spots leaving Georgia and A&M without an invitation to the dance.
One of the worst arguments I've heard through my television came from ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit who stated that NIU was undeserving of a BCS bowl because they lost to Iowa who would go on to finish with one of the worst records in the Big 10. What he failed to mention was that this loss came in week one, when most teams are still getting used to their personnel and finding out what kind of team they are. NIU is a totally transformed and different team than they were in week 1 and if larger schools are allowed to slip up in the early going and still compete, then why shouldn't a smaller school like NIU?
Everybody has Florida State favored in the Orange Bowl and it's for good reason, but this is a possibility for an enormous upset that could be a classic for years to come. NIU is lead by their quarterback Jordan Lynch who threw for nearly 3000 yards and rushed for over 1500 yards this season and has 43 total touchdowns. If he can get the ball rolling and the Florida State offense stalls like it did against NC State, we could be witnessing college football history to close the door on the BCS and move towards a playoff system.
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