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Reports: Northern Illinois earns BCS berth to Orange Bowl

December 02, 2012|By Chris Dufresne
  • Coach Dave Doeren is presented the championship trophy by MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher after Northern Illinois defeated Kent State on Saturday.
Coach Dave Doeren is presented the championship trophy by MAC Commissioner… (Dave Reginek / Getty Images )

Well, sometimes the little guys do win.

Northern Illinois has earned a Bowl Championship Series bowl bid, according to several media reports.

The champions of the Mid-American Conference will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl. It will be the MAC's first appearance in a BCS bowl.

Northern Illinois took advantage of a whirlwind of weekend losses to finish in the top 16 of the final BCS standings, which will be released later today.

Northern Illinois' bid knocks out Oklahoma, the presumed at-large bid from the Big 12.

BCS rules stipulate a team from a "nonqualifier" conference earns a bid if it finishes in the top 16 ahead of a major conference champion. Northern Illinois is already assured of finishing ahead of both the Big East (Louisville) and Big Ten (Wisconsin) champions.

Northern Illinois, 12-1, started the weekend at No. 21 in the BCS standings and then defeated Kent State in double overtime Friday night to clinch the MAC title.

Four schools ahead of Northern Illinois lost -- Nebraska, Texas, UCLA and Kent State -- increasing the chance the Huskies could slip in and steal the last spot.

The real shocker was Nebraska dropping eight spots to No. 21 after a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.

The news firms up this year's bowl lineup:

BCS: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

Rose: Stanford vs. Wisconsin

Fiesta: Oregon vs. Kansas State

Sugar: Florida vs. Louisville

Orange: Northern Illinois vs. Florida State

The only downside to the news for Northern Illinois is that Coach Dave Doeren announced after Friday's win that he had accepted the head coaching job at North Carolina.


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