Northern Illinois essentially is in control of its own destiny in trying to get to a second straight Bowl Championship Series game.
NIU, which defeated Western Michigan, 33-14, on Tuesday night, is ranked No. 14, unchanged from last week in the latest BCS rankings released Sunday night. The Huskies are the top non-AQ team and dramatically increased their lead on Fresno State after the Bulldogs fell to San Jose St., 62-52, on Friday. The Bulldogs now are ranked No. 23 in the BCS standings and almost certainly have been eliminated from BCS bowl contention.
NIU can earn its second straight BCS bid by finishing either in the top 12 of the final BCS standings, or in the top 16 and ahead of a champion from an automatic-qualifying conference.
The Huskies are ahead of American Athletic Conference champion Central Florida, which is ranked No. 16. Also, no undefeated team ever has finished outside the top 12 of the BCS standings.
NIU came in at No. 18 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll, moving up two spots. NIU is ranked 15th in the Harris Poll, another component of the BCS standings.
In The Associated Press Poll, which is not a component of the BCS, NIU is ranked No. 16.
NIU will face Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference Championshio Game on Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit and will be going for its third consecutive MAC title.
Central Florida plays at SMU on Saturday.