Jordan Lynch and the BCS-busting NIU Huskies did not slide into glass slippers filled with oranges after all. (AP)
For more on Florida State’s Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois, check out Pete Thamel’s take and our Laff Riot Twitter wrap.
MIAMI – ”We made some plays, too,” Rod Carey said. “We didn’t make enough of ‘em.” Northern Illinois’ new coach neatly summed up the Orange Bowl, for those who missed it. Florida State defeated his upstart team tonight, 31-10. The Huskies kept it close in the first half and briefly made things interesting in the third quarter. But as the final score indicates, the Seminoles were just too much for this year’s unlikely BCS buster. [BOX | RECAP]
Still, consider the tens of thousands of fans and press and staff who attended tonight’s Orange Bowl game, and wonder just how many set foot in Sun Life Stadium expecting a Huskies win. It can’t have been many. We were not among those who came in believing in an upset. But we don’t show up at these things because we know what’s about to happen. We show up because of what might happen.
And Northern Illinois was about the unlikeliest BCS-buster imaginable from Week 2 of the 2012 season on, seeing as the Huskies lost to Iowa at home in Week 1. Our big-game interloper hopes were pinned in September on the likes of Ohio, with its creamy-dreamy schedule and an upset of Penn State to its credit, and Louisiana Tech, with its score-anywhere offense. We didn’t even think NIU would win the MAC. (Of course, we also predicted South Florida would make an appearance in this very game. Isn’t August fun?)
The Huskies did their best to remain under the buster-radar early on, scraping by the likes of Army (one-point victory) and Kansas (seven-point victory), while the Bobcats staged a largely listless season after that first win in Happy Valley. By mid-October, we had (temporarily) written off the idea of seeing any non-AQ squad in a big-money game. So many teams would have to lose, at the same time, to give NIU the required ratings boost. It was so, so unlikely — until it happened, and off we all went to Miami.