Northern Illinois screwed on fumble call that wasn’t overturned (Video)

The Orange Bowl between Northern Illinois and Florida State was actually somewhat close until a controversial call helped swing things in favor of the Seminoles.

Northern Illinois was trailing 24-10 and had the ball at the FSU 38 early in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Da’Ron Brown got the ball on an end-around pitch and tried reversing field. He was quickly brought down, and then he lost the ball as two other Seminoles converged on him. The ruling on the play was that Brown fumbled.

Luckily for the Huskies, the play was reviewed by the referees, who should have overturned the call after seeing that Brown’s knee was down before the ball came out. Unfortunately for Northern Illinois, the officials upheld the ruling on the field, giving Florida State the ball. Fullback Lonnie Pryor ran for a 37-yard touchdown two plays later to make it 31-10.

Instead of driving to make it a one-score game, Northern Illinois ended up down by 21 points. The Huskies had difficulty moving the ball most of the game and the ‘Noles more than doubled their yardage, but they were in it until that call.

The screenshot below shows that Brown’s knee was down before the ball came out:

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Orange Bowl rep reportedly told Northern Illinois we didn’t want you here

The disrespect shown to Northern Illinois’ football team has been evident since it was announced the team would be playing in the Orange Bowl. First it was ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit saying the Huskies didn’t belong in the Orange Bowl, and now Northern Illinois is even hearing it from the bowl game’s representatives.

According to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, an Orange Bowl rep got into it with a Northern Illinois staffer recently and said the bowl didn’t even want them.

“You guys [NIU] don’t even deserve to be here,” the Orange Bowl rep said to the NIU staffer, per Feldman. “We didn’t even want you here.”

Feldman reports that the exchange took place in a hospitality suite, and that it escalated after that point.

Northern Illinois is 12-1 and has won 12 in a row since losing its season opener to Iowa. The Huskies won their division in the MAC and beat Kent State in the conference championship game. The got into the Orange Bowl as a BCS at-large berth after finishing in the top 16 of the BCS standings. It’s common knowledge that BCS bowls didn’t want Northern Illinois as one of its participants because of their small fan base and lack of appeal to a national audience. However, you can’t fault the Huskies for winning nearly all their games and making it into the bowl game based on the existing BCS rules. Maybe they’ll just use the slight as more motivation in the game.

Jeff Van Gundy: Northern Illinois doesn’t belong in BCS bowl game

jeff-van-gundy-red-glassesJeff Van Gundy is the latest pundit to say that Northern Illinois shouldn’t be playing in a BCS bowl game.

The former NBA coach and current NBA analyst’s comments were prompted by a promo for the Orange Bowl between Northern Illinois and Florida State that was read by his broadcasting partner, Mike Breen, during the Clippers-Nuggets game on Christmas.

“How flawed is that BCS system that Northern Illinois is in that bowl?” Van Gundy asked rhetorically. “Oklahoma — you’re telling me they’re not better? If you put Northern Illinois into the Big 12 … Louisville is in [the Sugar Bowl] … come on, that’s ridiculous.”

Van Gundy went on to say that a team’s conference should carry more weight.

“I’m happy for Northern Illinois. They’ve had a great year. I’m just saying, if you want the best teams, you’ve got to give the leagues they play in … you put Northern Illinois in the SEC, you think they’re coming out unscathed?”

What’s funny is that Van Gundy was ripping the BCS for the exact opposite reason most people criticize it for. Most people complain that the BCS is too elitist and doesn’t give a chance to the smaller-conference teams the way the NCAA basketball tournament does.

I generally hold a similar opinion to Van Gundy, but I guess we’ll find out on January 1 whether or not Northern Illinois belongs with the big boys. We do know one thing: Van Gundy is sure to set off a reaction among Huskies fans the way Kirk Herbstreit did.

Gas station defends Northern Illinois with ‘Suck our oranges’ sign (Picture)

Northern Illinois is going to face Florida State in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day, whether we like it or not. Many feel as though the Huskies’ BCS selection symbolizes all that is wrong with the current BCS system, given the fact that elite teams like Oklahoma and Texas A&M who have faced elite opponents all year did not get an invite.

Kirk Herbstreit told us all how he feels about the selection with his epic rant on Sunday, and it’s probably safe to say most people agree with what the ESPN analyst had to say. However, the Marathon gas station on Lincoln Highway in Illinois strongly disagrees with the majority, as evidenced by the lettering they put on their sign earlier this week.

“Suck our Oranges, ESPN. Go Huskies!” the sign read as Huskie Wire pointed out.

There’s a good chance Florida State will prove that the Huskies were the wrong choice next month, but anything can happen. Northern Illinois certainly won’t have to search thoroughly to find bulletin-board material.

Photo credit: Kyle Bursaw/The Daily Chronicle

Kirk Herbstreit goes off on Northern Illinois being in a BCS game (Video)

Northern Illinois has quickly emerged as this year’s punching bag for those who despise the BCS system. The 2012-2013 bowl schedule was released over the weekend, and the 12-1 Huskies — who capped off the season with a 12-game winning streak — earned themselves a spot in the Orange Bowl against Florida State. Like many others, Kirk Herbstreit was in awe of the selection.

Herbstreit appeared on ESPN on Sunday evening to discuss the BCS selections, and he pulled no punches when talking about Northern Illinois. His rant starts at about the 3:00-mark of the video above.

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