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Perfect record intact, N. Illinois keeps BCS-busting hopes alive

Jordan Lynch Getty Images

Much to the dismay of a team on the West Coast, there are still two non-automatic qualifiers that retain the ability to crash the BCS’ final postseason party.

On the strength of its wildly-entertaining, 48-27 win over what was a one-loss Ball State squad, Northern Illinois pushed its winning streak to 10 straight and kept its mark on the season a perfect 10-0.  And, as is the case with nearly every Huskies victory, it was Jordan Lynch who served as the catalyst.

The senior quarterback accounted for 468 yards of total offense, 345 passing and 123 rushing.  It was the first time this season and third time in his career he’s passed for 300-plus and rushed for 100-plus in the same game, with one of those being a 400/100 game.

Of NIU’s five offensive touchdowns, Lynch was responsible for four of them — two passing and two rushing, including one with just over a minute left that served as the icing on a cake that was topped with a pick-six cherry 50 seconds later.

All told, the Huskies scored 21 points in the last  5:49 of the game to turn a 27-all game into a blowout.  The win further increased NIU’s grip on the MAC West, but it’s the national picture to which much of the national focus has shifted.

With just two games left in the regular season for both, NIU and Fresno State are still the only undefeated non-AQ teams remaining.  In the most recent set of BCS rankings, the Bulldogs were at No. 14 while the Huskies were right behind at No. 15.  AAC leader UCF, which will likely be the lowest-rated of the so-called Big Six conference champions that earn automatic BCS bids — and provided they don’t stumble and gift the league title to Louisville —  was at No. 17.

In the BCS average of the two human polls plus the computer composite, NIU (.3505) was .0812 behind Fresno (.4317) while they were just .0094 ahead of UCF.

For a refresher as to why the Knights are important to both NIU and the other FSU, here’s how the non-AQs can turn themselves into BCS busters:

3. The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, or the Sun Belt Conference (hereinafter “non-AQ group”) will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:

  • A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or
  • B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

(Writer’s note: there are provisions for two non-AQ teams to earn BCS bowl bids, although that is highly unlikely to happen in 2013.  For those scenarios, click HERE.)

As far as the homestretch is concerned and how this may play out, here are the remaining regular season schedules for all three of the teams involved:

Fresno State
Nov. 23 vs. 3-6 New Mexico
Nov. 29 at 5-4 San Jose State

Northern Illinois
Nov. 20 at 7-3 Toledo
Nov. 26 vs. 1-9 Western Michigan

UCF
Nov. 16 at 1-8 Temple
Nov. 21 vs. 5-3 Rutgers
Nov. 29 vs. 2-6 USF
Dec. 7 at 3-5 SMU

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14 Responses to “Perfect record intact, N. Illinois keeps BCS-busting hopes alive”
  1. soundsofsuccess7 says: Nov 14, 2013 12:27 AM

    Because we apparently didn’t learn last year they can’t hang with the big boys.

  2. lgbfl says: Nov 14, 2013 2:56 AM

    Makes no sense for these two teams to be ranked this high. Their strength of schedule is a joke. The only real team that NIU has played was their against Ball State. Other than that, their schedule does not warrant them being ranked in the top 25, even if they win out.

    BTW, why is “UCF Golden Knights” a keyword for this article? UCF dropped the “Golden” several years ago.

  3. bender4700 says: Nov 14, 2013 3:05 AM

    NIU beat TWO Big Ten teams.

    These little guy haters don’t even bother checking their facts, real smart.

  4. bender4700 says: Nov 14, 2013 3:07 AM

    NIU beat TWO Big Ten teams. Little guy haters can’t even check their facts but try and correct the writer? So smart.

    They did hang with FSU last year. Check the box score, FSU pulled away late.

    NIU is real good. Just get over it. What, you prefer the same boring ass games?! Losers.

  5. bender4700 says: Nov 14, 2013 3:08 AM

    And thanks IPad for posting it when you closed down the first time.

  6. longborer69 says: Nov 14, 2013 3:23 AM

    NIU has earned their ranking. They haven’t earned a top ten ranking, but they’ve beat some decent teams. And it is hard to go undefeated. They’d not win any of the top conferences, but they’d be competitive in any conference.

  7. kansacity88 says: Nov 14, 2013 6:46 AM

    Go tell those two teams, face-to-face that they don’t belong in the top 25! Who are you guys to decide who should be ranked? GTFOH, with all that non AQ hate! If THATS the case, then little schools SHOULDNT be able to make the round of 65 in the NCAA bball tourney either, just because they supposedly don’t have a great SOS although they win their conference championships.

  8. conwell2549 says: Nov 14, 2013 6:48 AM

    This weeks Sagarin poll has N. Illinois SOS at 145 and Fresno at 122. Not very good when compared to other BCS eligible teams

  9. halbert53 says: Nov 14, 2013 9:23 AM

    There’s a reason there are non-AQ conferences, as a whole they are weak. Want to play in a BCS bowl, earn it rather than feel entitled by a stupid rule. Win the bowls you play in and you will get consideration for better bowls. Getting blown out vs FSU last time shows NIU is not deserving of a BCS bowl. The comparison to basketball is ludicrous. Seven good players can win enough games to get consideration for 65 slots and there are lots of regular season games so you can schedule some tough non-conference games. A FB team from a non-AQ conference that aspires to play in BCS bowls should schedule 3 games a year against top tier teams representing multiple AQ conferences.

  10. niubears says: Nov 14, 2013 1:01 PM

    Schedules are made years in advance. Who knew Iowa & Purdue would suck so much?

    Also if you throw the SOS argument out there you might as well include Baylor on that list and say they don’t deserve a BCS bid (96 SOS). Louisville is still praised by all these media people after a loss but they’re STILL the most overrated team in the nation. Their SOS is 116th.

    Bowl games outside the National Championship are just glorified exhibitions anyways. Bowl Games lost their luster over a decade ago. It’s not like NIU & Fresno will be playing for a National Championship. They’re playing for a BOWL GAME. A Bowl Game that in the end of the day means absolutely nothing when deciding a National Champion.

    If you want good bowl games all around, get rid of AQs. Simple as that.

  11. niubears says: Nov 14, 2013 1:07 PM

    Some other things of note:

    NIU might have been dominated by FSU in the game but it was still a ONE possession game going into the 4th qtr. It was the second most competitive BCS game last year outside of the Rose Bowl.

    And where are all the complainers when AQs get blown out in BCS games?

    ND, K-State & Florida last year.
    Clemson in 2012.
    VT & UConn in 2011.
    Cincy in 2010.
    Illinois in 2008.
    Oklahoma (every year they play a big bowl game)

    The list goes on and on. Hate the system. Not the team.

  12. kansacity88 says: Nov 14, 2013 1:19 PM

    Hey, NIU didn’t pay or ask to get in. The BCS rules PUT them there. You can get on NIU’s case and call them whatever you want but the fact of the matter is….those kids are just out there winning games and they are taking care of their OWN business. Just because they have the DESIRE to get to a BCS bowl don’t mean a damn thing. HELL, I’m pretty sure some FCS teams have a desire to be in a BCS bowl but THEY, and NIU, aren’t the ones responsible for it. What I’m trying to say is, direct your anger towards the BcS pollsters and voters. NIU is no friggin slouch. If you’ve watched them over the past 10-12 years, its not like they DON’T schedule tough teams. These guys USED to play SEC teams. If I am correct, they played teams like Alabama (and if my memory serves me correct, they won IN Tuscaloosa) and other SEC teams. They play, as of late, B1G teams. They’ve scheduled tOSU, Wisconsin, and others. Its not THEIR fault that the teams they happen to have scheduled (4-5) years IN ADVANCE) will suck by the time they play them! You can only schedule whats there, win your games, and play where you get told to play. Not even a fan of NIU but I respect the program. ANYONE can aspire to play in a BcS game, but stop hating NIU and getting all pissed off at them when they aren’t the ones you SHOULD be pissed off at. But all this is moot, right? Because next year, it wont matter and all you non-AQ haters wont have anything to worry about. TECHNICALLY, by what you are calling a stupid rule, NIU and Fresno State ARE EARNING IT!!! You are proving my point! Do I agree with you that the rule is stupid? *shrugs shoulders* It don’t matter to me anymore because next year is the playoffs so, it won’t matter. But I ain’t gonna get mad at NIU if they get there. I like football in general. I watch it as a coach AND a fan. If a team like NIU draws a team like FSU or Oregon or whatever kind of team, I watch it anyway. Whether its a blowout or not, I still watch it and like it regardless. Thats just me.

    Oh yeah, by the way….that NIU-FSU game? If you even bothered to watch it, the score was not even an indication of how close that game was. it was 17-10 going into the 4th quarter. But of course, you all look at the final score and say…..yeah, NIU got blown out. FSU pulled away late in the game….PERIOD.

  13. lgbfl says: Nov 14, 2013 1:43 PM

    I’m not hating the teams, niubears. They should be proud of what they’ve accomplished so far and what they will likely accomplish before the end of the season. Just pointing out that a flawed ranking system has allowed them to be ranked higher than they should be ranked.

    There are a number of flaws in the system. For example, the pre-season rankings, which are pretty much meaningless, skew much of the season because it’s hard for a team who’s ranked high to get adjusted down to where they really belong, even with early losses. They are artificially bouyed up by their initial ranking, which in some cases should have never been that high. This, at least temporarily, pushes some of their early opponents artificially high as well since they beat a highly ranked team.

    Some polls have teams ahead of other teams that have beaten them, even though they have a weaker SOS, because they were ranked high originally and have a “stronger name.”

    The coaches’ poll is a complete joke. First, what coach has time to really review the play and accomplishments of teams outside their own conference during the season? They’re (rightfully) too busy preparing their own team… at least one would hope. So instead, they promote teams they’re playing to make their own SOS look good and promote teams in their conference to make their conference look good. This poll should not even exist.

    A ranking system will never be perfect, and without any kind of decent playoff system (which I know would be a bit grueling with football), we’ll never have a true, undisputed “National Champion” for college football. We’ll just have the national champion of the BCS Club or the FCS Club or whatever they’re calling it that year, and the AP Poll champion… which may be a totally different team. If they’d just stop calling the winner of the highly political “top bowl game” the “National Champion” and admit the team is just the national champion of that “club” or that college football grouping, we could probably all relax a little more and have a bit more fun.

    Kind of reminds me of the “World Series” title. When’s the last time you saw a team from another country play in the “World” Series? ;-)

    And don’t even get me started on how much control ESPN has over college athletics these days….

  14. kansacity88 says: Nov 14, 2013 3:20 PM

    soundsofsuccess7 says:
    Nov 14, 2013 12:27 AM

    Because we apparently didn’t learn last year they can’t hang with the big boys.

    ——–

    And apparently, we (or you) didnt watch the entire game last year! The ‘big boys’ didnt look so big until the 4th quarter. Read some of the posts above….

    lgbfl says:
    Nov 14, 2013 1:43 PM

    Kind of reminds me of the “World Series” title. When’s the last time you saw a team from another country play in the “World” Series?

    Good point! Hahaha!!

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