Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Voter Bias May Doom NIU's BCS Quest

Are the voters still holding last season's Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois?

That certainly appears to be the case. While the Huskies have continued their unbeaten run this season, their position in the polls seems to be stuck in neutral.

In contrast, their main competitor for the non-AQ BCS spot, Fresno State, has made much more significant gains in the polls. The Bulldogs now have a commanding lead in the latest BCS standings, even though at No. 14, they're just one spot ahead of Northern Illinois.

Fresno State's lead is built entirely on the polls, as the two teams—both 9-0—are in a dead heat in the computer rankings. But since the polls account for two thirds of the BCS standings, voter preference most likely will decide which team gets the coveted BCS bowl slot (and a bonus in excess of $10 million to that team's conference).

To qualify for the berth, likely in the Fiesta Bowl, Fresno or NIU must finish in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and ahead one of the current AQ conference champion, or in the top 12. And only the highest-ranked team will earn the BCS berth even if both meet the qualification.

Since the Harris Poll was released in Week 7, here's the progression of both teams in the two polls:


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