Outside of the state of Illinois and the BCS committee, there were very few people in the country who felt as though Northern Illinois deserved a spot in the Orange Bowl against Florida State. The Huskies, of course, felt as though they earned the opportunity. In fact, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch called out the Seminoles’ defense earlier in the week, saying that he wanted to see FSU defenders “on their knees” by the fourth quarter.
Then, the Huskies went out and scored only 10 points in a 31-10 loss on Tuesday night. They failed to silence the naysayers and confirmed what many of us already thought (especially Kirk Herbsreit) — that they had no business playing in a BCS bowl game. After the game, FSU linebacker Vince Williams ripped Lynch.
“He’s terrible,” Williams said according to the Orlando Sentinel. “I can’t believe they tried us like that. They tried our life, man. … He’s not good at all.”
For what it’s worth, Florida State’s defense ranked 6th in the nation with only 14.7 points per game allowed this season. Lynch may have had a phenomenal season during which he threw for over 3,000 yards, rushed for nearly 2,000 and scored 44 total touchdowns, but that was mainly against teams from the Mid-American Conference. Clearly, the competition in conferences like the ACC is much steeper.
The fact that an Orange Bowl rep reportedly told Northern Illinois that they did not belong in the Orange Bowl says a lot. The system is broken, and the playoffs will help repair some of the issues. The bottom line is Northern Illinois had a fantastic opportunity to prove that small-conference schools deserve to be in the BCS discussion and the end result couldn’t have been much worse.
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