The Northern Illinois Huskies bounce back from being picked on by the ESPN talking heads.
I literally could watch Kirk Herbstreit bash the Northern Illinois Huskies all day on this video. It's perfect. This really came out of nowhere, like it was already written. He's been trying and recoil and say he did it to motivate the Huskies, but I sincerely doubt that. I don't think he prepared too far ahead. However, this whole ESPN fiasco is going to turn out to be one of the best stories of this bowl season. Everybody is talking about it.
One of the best things I saw yesterday was from retired former Indianapolis Colts and NIU Huskies tackle Ryan Diem. He posted this statement towards Herbstreit on twitter.
Your opinion that "no one even knew they were playing" is a "sad state" of reporting. This team has been one of the most dominant in the MAC over the past several years – I can assure you that everyone in the area has been paying attention. Sure, we don’t get the national spotlight often, but for you to call the situation a "joke" when we finally do is disgusting, in my opinion. The NIU students, athletes, coaches, administrators and fans are extremely proud of the team and the program they have built over the past decade.
I'm so happy that a former player would come out and post this message. Will anybody be able to take on Herbstreit on the main ESPN stage? The NIU Huskies clearly earned their bid. He should have been more mad at the Big 10 and the Big East teams for not having champions ranked ahead of the Huskies.
Awful Announcing was just about upset with it as we were:
The entire debate about Northern Illinois "deserving" a BCS bowl berth is such a straw man argument it's offensive to men made of straw. Northern Illinois EARNED their BCS slot. There is no "deserving" or "undeserving" here. They won their conference, finished in the Top 16 of the BCS Standings, and finished with a higher ranking than an AQ conference champion. Northern Illinois AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFIED FOR A BCS BOWL.
That's it. There is no discussion of their resume. There is no "eye test." The biggest problem I have with this "debate" is there is no debate. It's completely fabricated.
I loved the Tribune's roundup of sportswriters around the country talking about the Huskies. Ron Fritz of the Baltimore Sun was my favorite:
So ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit calls Northern Illinois’ inclusion "a joke." Well, if you want Oklahoma in a BCS bowl, Kirk, why don’t you tell the Sooners to play a little defense? How about that nice trifecta near the end of the season when they gave up 34 points to Baylor, 49 to West Virginia and 48 to Oklahoma State? They won all three — barely — and none of those three are in the Top 25.
The whole BCS system is a joke, that’s why it’s getting reformed. But to pick on Northern Illinois is neither fair nor warranted. BTW, Kirk, who does your alma mater Ohio State play in its bowl game? Oh, that’s right, the Buckeyes don’t get to go because of NCAA sanctions.
Guess you’ll just have to watch Northern Illinois or any of the six other MAC teams playing.
The LA times jumps in and completely rips Herbstreit a new one as well while using the NIU fight song:
My other two favorite articles come from Samuel Chi of BCS Guru and SB Nation.
Finally, who's to blame for this fiasco?
Well, you can first consider the Justice Department, whose threat to investigate the BCS for antitrust violations caused the creation of a fifth bowl in 2006 and greater accessibility for non-AQ conference schools. As a result, at least one non-AQ team has crashed the BCS party each year except last year, and overall, non-AQ teams have a 4-1 record against AQ teams in six previous appearances, aside from the separate-but-equal Fiesta Bowl after the 2009 season that pitted non-AQ teams Boise State and TCU against each other.
He goes on to point out the complete and utter poll biases which make it really hard at bringing a sense of fairness to the college football community.
Also, somebody made this video, which had to be made at some point: