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No more excuses for the Huskies

No more excuses. It's time to play football now.

Here comes the most crucial stretch of football for the Northern Illinois Huskies. At a point in the season when NIU could have been looking at a 4-2 record, it's 3-3.

The next four games for the Huskies will tell us how this season will end. A trip to Oxford, Ohio this weekend, followed by three home games versus Akron, Eastern Michigan and Ball State.

Combined record of those four opponents: 1-25.

If the Huskies don't come away with four wins here, kiss an at-large bowl bid goodbye. There is no way a 6-6 Mid-American Conference team with one or more losses to some of the worst teams in the NCAA will get lucky like last year.

Adding to that, NIU travels to Ohio 5-2 (3-0, MAC) and Central Michigan (6-1, 4-0) to wrap up the season. With only one conference loss to date, it is plausible that the Huskies could by vying for trip to Detroit if they win these next four and hit the road strong against the top two MAC teams at the end.

After hammering preseason MAC West No. 2 Western Michigan 38-3, it was wondered allowed if the Broncos were overrated. WMU responded by pounding Toledo 58-26 while the Huskies floundered another game in the Glass Bowl.

They haven't beat the Rockets in Toledo since 2005, led by Garrett Wolfe. Their last win prior to that was 33 years earlier in 1972.

That's been the story of NIU Football's recent history. It drops the ball on great opportunities. With the way this year's schedule lined up, the Huskies had legitimate chance of heading into the Central Michigan game 9-2, also undefeated in the MAC, possibly playing for that trip to Detroit.

But the bright lights, bad play calling and mediocre coaching got the best of NIU. Instead it has no room for error this season. No more Idaho games, no more Toledo games. No more coming off a big win and looking unprepared, outplayed and just clueless.

I'll give this to Joe Novak's teams; they were never outplayed, even during a 2-10 season in 2007.

It may be time for Jerry Kill to wake up and realize this is FBS Football, not Division I-AA. There is no playoff, every game matters more than the last.

It's time to shut up and play. Time to stop losing games that you should be winning.

It's time to focus on this game, not the last game.

Because if these Huskies don't, that 1-25 record is going to start looking a little better.