Heading into Championship Week, the BCS picture is stating to get a little bit clearer. The contenders for BCS at-large bids has thinned out as the weeks have gone on and the BCS busters have all fallen off by the wayside except for one. The Northern Illinois Huskies became the first MAC team to make it to the BCS last season and are now in line to bust the BCS once again in 2013. Will they have more luck this time around?
At No. 14 in the latest BCS standings, Northern Illinois meets the requirements for the automatic non-BCS conference bid to a big-time bowl. While they haven’t reached the top 12 just yet, they are still higher than No. 16 and lead a conference champion from an automatic qualifier thanks to the AAC and the Central Florida Knights, currently leading the conference race at No. 16 in the BCS standings.
The Huskies have been dynamic on offense all season long and have routinely blown away their opposition. While they haven’t played a terribly difficult schedule, they’ve handled their business and finished the regular season with a perfect record for the second straight season. They overtook the Fresno State Bulldogs in last week’s BCS standings as the top non-BCS team in the rankings and now stand alone after Fresno State’s shootout upset this weekend at the hands of the San Jose State Spartans.
All that is left for NIU to qualify for their second-straight BCS bowl appearance is the MAC Championship game on Friday against the Bowling Green Falcons. If they win there and stay ahead of UCF in the last BCS standings, the Huskies will be back in a big time bowl game this January. Last season, they were embarrassed by the Florida State Seminoles. Can they put together a better showing this time around?