According to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the world (or at least the recording of time) will end on December 21 of this year. But according to ESPN's college football talking butts, I mean heads -- oops, analysts---it already has --when Northern Illinois University's up-by-its-bootstraps football team was selected to play against traditional powerhouse Florida State University in the Orange Bowl. OMG, you would think it was the end of the world as we know it. Well, I feel fine. I have no personal connection to NIU, other than my daughter is good friends with an alumnus and my other daughter attended a speech camp there and I live about 40 minutes away from the cornfields and quadrangles of DeKalb, stomping ground of the Huskies, the newly crowned Mid-American Conference football champs.
NIU All-American Quarterback Jordan Lynch
The Huskies (12-1) polished off Kent State University this past weekend to capture their conference crown with another gritty, heads-up performance that has been their trademark for the past two seasons. As a result of the various polls (AP, Coaches, Harris, etc.), they moved up from #21 in the BCS rankings to #16, thus earning themselves a trip to Miami and bragging rights as the first MAC team to snag a bowl game berth -- and offending the sensibilities of the ESPN elite.
The Huskies take the field.
What a gnashing of teeth there was that day!
David Pollack: "I don't agree with it. I don't think that they should be there."
Jesse Palmer: "I don't think they should get to go."
Kirk Herbstreit: "The fact that Northern Illinois is in the BCS for 2012 is really a sad state for college football. They dont't deserve to be in the BCS this year. Are you kidding me? No one even knew they were playing until the Toledo game two weeks ago."
Kirk Herbstreit -- washed up Ohio State QB
No, you idiots. The Penn State/Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky travesty was really a sad state for college football. The very fact that college football is basically a semi-pro league designed to make money for universities and that its athletes live under different rules than most of the other students who toil on campus (what other high school seniors already know they are admitted to X college in August before their non-athlete pals have even submitted their college applications???) -- that's a really sad state.
Celebrating the MAC trophy
A Cinderella team like NIU making the Orange Bowl is something to celebrate. Okay, so their coach has already moved on to supposedly bigger and better things. That's just another challenge for them to rise above. Seems to me ESPN needs a visit from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future to remember the hopes and dreams of the little guys, the 99% who are sweating it out and putting in the work and hoping that it will all pay off with a break, just one break. Hey, it's just football, guys. Lie back and enjoy it.
I am not one to watch the bowl games. But I think I will be tuned in on this New Year's Day. And for everyone who roots for the underdogs, wherever they may be:
shout it with me:
"I am NIU."
"We are all Huskies now!"
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