Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 1/1/13
The disrespect shown to Northern Illinois’ football team has been evident since it was announced the team would be playing in the Orange Bowl. First it was ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit saying the Huskies didn’t belong in the Orange Bowl, and now Northern Illinois is even hearing it from the bowl game’s representatives. According to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, an Orange Bowl rep got into it with a Northern Illinois staffer recently and said the bowl didn’t even want them. “You guys [NIU] don’t even deserve to be here,” the Orange Bowl rep said to the NIU staffer, per Feldman. “We didn’t even want you here.” Feldman reports that the exchange took place in a hospitality suite, and that it escalated after that point. Northern Illinois is 12-1 and has won 12 in a row since losing its season opener to Iowa. The Huskies won their division in the MAC and beat Kent State in the conference championship game. The got into the Orange Bowl as a BCS at-large berth after finishing in the top 16 of the BCS standings. It’s common knowledge that BCS bowls didn’t want Northern Illinois as one of its participants because of their small fan base and lack of appeal to a national audience. However, you can’t fault the Huskies for winning nearly all their games and making it into the bowl game based on the existing BCS rules. Maybe they’ll just use the slight as more motivation in the game.
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