Sunday, December 2, 2012

Why ESPN Is So Mad at NIU

Northern Illinois earned a BCS bowl berth. The outrage!

There was so much piling on during the ESPN show unveiling the BCS bowl selections that it could've easily been mistaken for a post-election program dissecting the Romney campaign. The vitriol directed toward Northern Illinois was overflowing to the point that it became must-see TV when Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch was then invited to address the esteemed panel.

Luckily, as the only adult among all involved, Lynch bit his tongue and took the high road.
So what exactly did Northern Illinois do wrong?

Were the Huskies the lowest-ranked BCS team among this year's 10-team field?

No, that would be Big Ten champ Wisconsin, which was out of the official standings but checked in at No. 26 in the complete final standings.

Did Northern Illinois get in on some technicality?

That depends on what you'd consider technicality. But consider this also: The Huskies needed only to be in the top 16 to qualify because not just one, but two, AQ conference champions were ranked below them. The aforementioned Wisconsin and No. 21 Louisville, the Big East champion.

Is this going to kill the Orange Bowl's TV ratings? Is that why ESPN was mad?

Well, actually, there might be more eyeballs on the game now than had NIU not qualified for the BCS. You think Florida State-Louisville was going to smash M*A*S*H's record? At least the game now has some intrigue.

So who's really the loser in all this?

The Sugar Bowl, naturally. It would've had a marquee matchup between Florida and Oklahoma, two traditional powerhouses. But now it's just Florida-Louisville, which would make for a fine basketball game as it was last year in the West Regional final of the NCAA Tournament.


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