It's a good time to be a NIU Huskie.
For the second straight week Northern Illinois comes in at No. 14 in the BCS rankings and NIU finds itself one win away from its second BCS bowl berth in two seasons.
Northern Illinois recently wrapped up an undefeated 12-0 regular season with a 33-14 win over Western Michigan on Tuesday. It's the first 12-0 regular season in school history. With the Huskies continuing to win, they managed to jump up in both the Coaches and Harris polls this week, the two human polls that make up two-thirds of the BCS rankings. NIU is currently ranked No. 18 in the Coaches Poll and No. 15 in the Harris Poll. Even with not moving up in the BCS standings, it received an overall points boost jumping from .462 BCS points to .481 this week.
The Huskies are now in the drivers seat for a return trip to a BCS bowl game. Last week they jumped over fellow non-AQ BCS-hopeful Fresno State, but remained in a close race with the Bulldogs. But, Friday night Fresno State lost to San Jose State 62-52, slipping to 10-1 on the season and taking a massive hit in the rankings, and knocking the 'Dogs out of BCS bowl contention. Fresno is ranked No. 23 in this week's BCS rankings.
Now all NIU has to worry about is beating Bowling Green on Friday and it should finish ahead of an automatic qualifying conference champion, meaning a one-way ticket to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Currently the Huskies sit ahead of American Athletic Conference front-runner UCF which narrowly beat USF on Friday and sits at No. 16 in this week's BCS rankings, up three spots from a week ago.
If NIU can finish in the top 16 of the final BCS standings, which will be released next week, and ahead of an AQ champion such as UCF, the Huskies are guaranteed a trip to a BCS bowl. However, if UCF leapfrogs NIU in the BCS standings, NIU would need to be in the top 12 of the final BCS standings to earn a BCS-bid. Either way, a win against Bowling Green (9-3, 7-1 MAC) in Friday's MAC Championship will likely be enough to secure the Huskies a BCS Bowl-berth. NIU holds a significant advantage in the computer rankings, and a win over BG (which is viewed more favorably than SMU, UCF's opponent this week) will only help widen that gap. It will also mark their third-straight conference championship, something that would surely get the voters attention.
Here's the full BCS top 25 breakdown:
|Harris Poll||Coaches Poll||Computer rankings|
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