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NCAA Football Northern Illinois Huskies

5 Reasons Why Northern Illinois Football Should Be Taken Seriously

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Why NIU Should Be Taken Seriously

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year! College football season is winding down and we start to look forward to the postseason. The BCS is giving everyone headaches, but there are late season match ups that make you want to celebrate life as we begin to debate which non-powerhouse conference leaders are the best.

Northern Illinois is one of those at-large teams that is currently fighting for a BCS bid. In 2012, they had the distinct honor of playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl but eventually lost 31-10. However, the Huskies are back in the national spotlight and are looking to return to a BCS bowl game this year.

NIU currently sits undefeated at 11-0 and comfortably atop the MAC conference standings. The team they play in the MAC championship game will be decided this weekend when Bowling Green goes toe-to-toe with Buffalo to decide the winner out of the conference’s East division.

For the Huskies, they better hope that it’s Buffalo as they are a much more impressive team, and defeating them in the MAC championship game would look better in the computers and give them a better chance to get into a BCS bowl game.

Northern Illinois is a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly and deserves all the respect it has earned and then some. In 2012, they made a BCS bowl game and, despite losing, have returned better than ever thanks to their senior quarterback, Jordan Lynch.

The following are five reasons why Northern Illinois should be taken seriously by the rest of the college football world.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. They Are Resilient

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Many teams have played them tough this year and they just keep fighting back. While they won by 18 against Toledo, that game wasn’t decided until the final few minutes of the contest. Northern Illinois has gotten knocked down, but they continue to get right back up and come back swinging.

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4. The Defense is Solid

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not the best defense in the world, but they make plays when they need to. They rank 46th in the FBS in points against (24.5), and with an offense as solid as theirs that’s just tough enough to keep them in contention for every ball game. It certainly will become a bigger issue against tougher teams offensively, but the defense is just good enough to give them a chance to win.

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3. They’ve Stood Up to Every Challenge

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

You can use the fact that they are from the MAC as a reason to knock them, but don’t overlook the difficulty of their schedule. In week one they rolled into Kinnick Stadium and defeated Iowa at their own place. Just a few weeks later they headed to Purdue and took home an impressive 55-24 victory there as well. While their schedule may not be the toughest in the NCAA, they’ve stood up to every challenge thrown their way and have come away the victors on every occasion.

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2. Never Sleep on Cinderella

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing that college sports across the board have taught us it’s that it’s never right to sleep on Cinderella. Just when you think the underdog is down and out and doesn’t stand a chance, magical things happen. How many people honestly gave Boise State a chance against Oklahoma? Don’t sleep on the Huskies just because they are the underdog from an underdog conference.

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1. Jordan Lynch

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Lynch is the man, no doubt about it. He can pass or run, and he simply makes plays. While I’m not solid on his NFL future, there’s no denying he’s a difference maker for this team. He has single-handedly led them to where they are today. He’s thrown for 2,418 yards and 21 yards while rushing for 1,434 yards and 17 touchdowns.