There has been a lot of talk this week about what could happen if the Northern Illinois Huskies football team beats Kent State for the Mid-American Conference title today.
The two teams will meet at 6 p.m. at Ford Field in Detroit, and the winner could – could – earn a berth in a BCS bowl game, probably the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.
An Orange Bowl berth would be the program’s first BCS berth, and it would benefit in terms of exposure as well as financially (the share of revenue for non-automatic qualifying conferences doubles when one of their teams makes a BCS bowl.)
Unfortunately, that’s not all within the Huskies’ control. A lot of things would have to break their way for a BCS bowl berth to become a reality.
What is within their control? Well, if they can beat the MAC East Division champion Golden Flashes today, NIU’s football team will have:
• Extended its conference winning streak to 17 games.
• Become only the third team in history to win consecutive MAC football titles.
• Shown a national audience – including potential recruits and important poll voters – exactly who they are and what they can do.
The Huskies are No. 21 in the BCS rankings headed into today’s championship game, while Kent State is No. 17. An impressive win and the right combination of outcomes in other weekend games could be enough to move NIU into the top 16 to qualify for a big bowl game.
Maybe a win tonight really can put them on the national stage on New Year’s Day.
It’s fun to daydream, but the fact is the Huskies first have to take care of business. Good luck to the Huskies in tonight’s game. Lots of us will be cheering you on, both from the stands at Ford Field and in our living rooms here at home.