After reading the comments here, abounded by Kent State fans who are giddy of their team's success, I wonder: What of NIU? What happens if NIU wins on Friday and throws the MAC into a complete chaotic mess? Well, let's look at the scenarios, and let's say there are two of them. But before we get to them, let's look at who is ahead of NIU in the BCS:
#20 Boise State - (9-2, @ Nevada this week) Boise State will not jump into the top 16. After losing to San Diego St, the usual BCS busters have fallen out of contention and can ruin NIU's hopes here. Nevada is 7-4 but has a bowl bid waiting due to the 5 contractual obligations owed to the MWC.
#19 Michigan - (8-4, waiting) How does an 8-4 team wind up in the top 20 of the BCS? Look at their losses: neutral field vs Alabama (11-1), @ Notre Dame (12-0), @ Nebraska (10-2), @ Ohio State (12-0). They may have struggled, but they are owed their due. However, it's hard to believe voters will push UM up on a bye week, so no huge threat here as I see them jumping to 18 as the max.
#18 Texas - (8-3, @ #6 Kansas State this week) OK, how is Texas still this high? They have lost to West Virginia and TCU, and have only really beaten Texas Tech and OK State. C'mon computers! The good news? Texas does have a Kansas State team that is coming off a bye and trying to play their way into a BCS game. This is one to watch, as Texas should fall out.
#17 Kent State - (11-1, vs NIU in MAC Championship Game) Winner moves into first place in the MAC BCS, simple as that. Kent State just has to win to secure their spot, as I see them jumping Oregon State or UCLA with a win over another top 25 team. A loss? They are down into the 20's, barely in.
#16 UCLA - (9-3, @ Stanford in PAC-12 Title Game) Stanford KILLED UCLA last week. However, the Bruins may not have been trying knowing they could either (a) try, possibly win, and go to Oregon in the PAC-12 title game or (b) lay down, lose, and go to Stanford having seen them a week prior and know some strategy. However, I still think Stanford is the best team, and this is another key match-up for the two MAC schools to watch.
#15 Oregon State - (8-3, vs Nicholls State) Really? End your season with a cupcake? This is the same Nicholls State team that WMU has almost annually played (and crushed) the past few years. This will be a win by OSU, but the FCS team will hurt the Beavers as voters may be inclined to vote a team that actually played a game that mattered over a payout game.
Other notables to keep an eye on.......
#11 Oklahoma - Highly unlikely to fall that far, but if TCU wins, Oklahoma will fall. Enough to knock the Sooners out of the BCS picture? Damn you OK State for not beating Oklahoma when you had the chance.
#12 Nebraska - Wisconsin has been to the B1G Ten Title Game before, but Nebraska should be fine here. Still a loss would propel the Huskers out of the BCS picture and probably give the MAC more hope.
#13 Florida State - FSU has the easiest game (sans Oregon State) this week in 6-6 Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. However, a loss would knock Florida State down to around 20, and a spot would surely open up as the MAC Champion vs Georgia Tech Orange Bowl would be on (oh God, that really is the possibility isn't it? MAC wins their first BCS game anyone?)
On to the scenarios:
(1) Kent State and NIU battle to a thrilling tug o' war battle with NIU winning in the end, Jordan Lynch has an average game. Probably not the most ideal situation that can happen. Everyone in the country will love this, except voters. They will vote NIU up, but probably not far enough, just getting snubbed at #17. Boise State would probably move with NIU, all the way to #16, but wouldn't win their conference. Michigan at #18, with everyone else filling in behind them.
(2) NIU dominates, crushing Kent State. Probably most unlikely to happen. However, this would almost surely power the Huskies to #15 and that magical spot in the BCS bowl. A solid victory and they are moving up fast.
(3) NIU and Kent State battle hard, with Dri Archer and Jordan Lynch showcasing their skills to the world. NIU wins in a close one. This would be epic, and would probably vote NIU into the top. Why? Because despite the close score, you have a player that you could market the s*** out of in Lynch leading up to the bowl game. Voters would be more inclined to vote Lynch and Co. than NIU in a close game. It is what it is. They get in, just barely.
Either way, exciting times for the MAC West Champions, but a lot of scoreboard watching as well. If you only could have scored 2 more points against Iowa, or had a better punt and not gave up that TD, or................................