Despite taking a week off the Northern Illinois Huskies have climbed three spots in the latest BCS rankings coming in at No. 15.
A week after being leapfrogged in the BCS standings by Michigan State, the Huskies have managed to move up despite having a bye-week. NIU is now one-spot behind Fresno State which checks in at No. 14, up two spots from last weekend. Though the two schools are ranked consecutively, the gap between them has grown. The Bulldogs now have a sizable advantage over NIU in the average score.
But even with Fresno Sate continuing to stay ahead of the Huskies, there's still plenty to be hopeful about. The Huskies are now past the first check point, which it to be ranked No. 16 or higher and ahead of a conference champion from one of the automatic qualifying conferences. Central Florida, the likely American Athletic Conference champion, is ranked No. 17.
If NIU can win out, and Fresno State slips up, the Huskies would be guaranteed a BCS bowl birth. Of course even if Fresno State doesn't slip up, with games against Ball State this Wednesday and Toledo next Wednesday, Northern Illinois could potentially pass Fresno State in the BCS standings if it wins both.
If Northern Illinois can finish in the Top 12 and ahead of Fresno State, it will be guaranteed an automatic BCS bowl birth regardless of if the AAC champion finishes above NIU. With just three regular season games to go, and a potential MAC Championship appearance, NIU's odds of winning out are improving by the week.
Here's a look at the full BCS standings for Week 13: