After finishing ranked 15th in the final BCS standings, the Northern Illinois Huskies will be heading to the Orange Bowl.
ALl the pundits said that if Kent State won the MAC Championship, they would likely get just enough votes to sneak into the top 16 of the BCS and head to the Orange Bowl as an at-large, since they would finish ahead of whoever won the Big East.
Those same pundits also said that a win by Northern Illinois would not be the same, since they were unlikely to finish high enough in various polls to quite pass everyone they needed to and reach the top-16 ranking they needed.
Then the AP Poll came out and had Northern Illinois ranked 16th.
Then the USA Today Poll (which counts towards the bCS) came out and, again, the Huskies were ranked 16th. There was still a chance.
Finally, the BCS rankings came out, and Northern Illinois has made it all the way to 15th, which means they will head to the FedEx Orange Bowl to face the Florida State Seminoles, while the Oklahoma Sooners will head somewhere less exciting.
This is huge for the conference in terms of recognition, huge for Jordan Lynch in terms of his potential Heisman candidacy, and huge for both the school and the Huskies given the financial windfall a BCS bowl provides.
We of course will have a lot more about this as we continue on with our bowl game coverage for the MAC