The harsh treatment that the Northern Illinois football team received from the Florida State Seminoles during their trip to the Sunshine State might pale in comparison to the welcome they got from the folks at the Orange Bowl.
According to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, an Orange Bowl representative told an NIU employee that the Huskies "don't even deserve to be here." Even worse, this member of the unwelcome committee apparently went on to say that the Orange Bowl "didn't even want you here."
If true, this wouldn't have been the first time that Northern Illinois heard that it was undeserving of a BCS bid. When the Orange Bowl selections were announced at the beginning of December, Kirk Herbstreit along with ESPN's David Pollack and Jesse Palmer were apoplectic that NIU was heading for Miami while Oklahoma and other high-profile teams were left out of the BCS mix.
"The fact that Northern Illinois is in the BCS in 2012 is really a sad state for college football and where we are with the current system," Herbstreit said on ESPN, causing some of the celebrating Huskies players to throw oranges at the television screen. "And the fact, thank goodness, we're moving toward a new system in 2014. They don't deserve to be in the BCS this year."
Given a chance to prove all the doubters wrong on New Year's Day, the Huskies weren't up to the task. Florida State ran over the 12-1 MAC champs on Tuesday night. Senior fullback Lonnie Pryor led the Seminoles with 134 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries as FSU went on to win 31-10. NIU star quarterback Jordan Lynch was held to just 176 yards passing (15-for-41) and 44 yards rushing on 23 carries.
"Definitely the best defense we played all year. They were always in the right spot at the right time, it seemed like. They were hungry out there," Lynch said after the game.