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Northern Illinois gets a BCS bid, will play in the Orange Bowl

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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(US Presswire)

The Northern Illinois Huskies have crashed the big boys' party.

Northern Illinois is in the BCS and will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl. That's an incredible story for the 12-1 Huskies, who were No. 21 in the latest BCS standings before this week's games.

The Huskies moved up to No. 15 in the standings, leapfrogging teams like Michigan and Boise State, which was No. 20 last week. A team outside of the BCS automatic qualifying conferences gets a bid if it finishes in the top 16 of the BCS standings and ranks ahead of the champion of an AQ conference. The Big East didn't have a team in the top 25 of the latest standings.

NIU might not be a television ratings bonanza, drawing in viewers the way Oklahoma -- which was the team knocked out of the BCS by the Huskies' inclusion -- would have. But the Huskies went 12-1, winning their last 12 games after a one-point season-opening loss to Iowa, including a double-overtime win over Kent State in the MAC championship game on Friday.

The Huskies have a prolific quarterback in Jordan Lynch, who has 2,962 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns and five interceptions, along with 1,771 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. Northern Illinois won't have its coach, however. Dave Doeren took a job at N.C. State on Saturday, and will not coach the team in the bowl game.

It's too bad, because Doeren is missing out on a heck of a story.

The complete BCS bowl pairings:

BCS championship game: Alabama vs. Notre Dame, Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m. ET

Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Wisconsin, Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Northern Illinois, Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State, Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. ET

Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville, Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

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