The No. 15 Northern Illinois Huskies earned a spot in the Bowl Championship Series and will play No. 12 Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1. NIU alums are so excited, they dressed up in orange at a recent winter holiday party instead of using the traditional red and green theme that goes with Christmas.
The Orange Bowl berth for NIU was a bit controversial, at least according to some of the ESPN talking heads, but fans and supporters of the Huskies are thrilled their team will make it to the national stage in prime time on New Year's Day.
After a 12-1 season and a dramatic win in the MAC Championship game over Kent State, NIU supporters aren't concerned with the initial reactions from pundits. Athletic director Jeff Compher knows this is a big moment for the program (via CSN-Chicago):
"I got a little emotional about it when I found out," admitted athletic director Jeff Compher as the party got under way. "This is a seminal moment in the history of our university. It's one of those defining moments that validates everything we've been doing and how we've been doing it."
The Huskies will be without former head coach Dave Doeren, who resigned and moved on to North Carolina State, but they will treat this game with the utmost respect and so will their fans. In the end, it's still going to come down to whether they can knock off Florida State.