When it comes to mid-major college football teams crashing the BCS bowl party, Boise State is usually the focus of attention. But this time around, Kent State was looking like a serious contender to steal a BCS bowl game spot. If only they could’ve gotten past conference foe Northern Illinois….
Kent State’s hopes were dashed when they lost 44-37 in an overtime thriller to NIU. Because of this loss, you could also say that the Mid-American Conference’s hopes for $8 million were also cut down. Had the Golden Flashes won, they would’ve qualified for a BCS bowl game, thus bringing a collective $8 million to the modest conference. But as it now stands, Northern Illinois is the only shot the MAC has at the BCS, and it’s a long-shot at that.
What are Northern Illinois’ Chances?
For the Huskies to crash the BCS and bring long-awaited prestige to the MAC, they’ll definitely need some luck. We fully expect NIU to pass Michigan, Texas, Kent State and UCLA in the BCS Rankings. However, with Boise State winning against Nevada, we don’t really see a scenario where NIU leapfrogs Boise in the BCS Standings. That said, the Broncos once again represent the non-major conferences’ best shot at a big-time bowl game. But do they deserve it?
While it’s always fun to see a non-BCS conference ascend to a huge bowl game, you really have to wonder if any of the aforementioned teams are/were qualified. In Boise State’s case, they lost 17-13 in their opener to a Michigan State team that finished 6-6. The Broncos were also beaten by San Diego State, which ended up finishing 9-3. While neither of these losses came to a bad team, they aren’t going to help a mid-major’s case for getting into a BCS game.
Of course, Northern Illinois and Kent State had major blemishes too long before they met in the MAC Championship. NIU lost 18-17 to an Iowa team that finished a dismal 4-8 on the season. The Golden Flashes were blown out 47-14 by the 2-9, SEC bottom-dwelling Kentucky team. Regardless of all the high points from these two team’s schedules, the sole losses were quite ugly.
In any case, we’ll soon find out if NIU or Boise State will be playing in a major BCS bowl game. Odds are they won’t, but stranger things have happened in college football.