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Orange Bowl reaction: Don't count out Northern Illinois

Bill Connelly of SB Nation says that, despite their critics, Northern Illinois is far from the most overmatched team in a BCS bowl game.

Dave Reginek

No team faced the amount of criticism that MAC champion Northern Illinois did after its selection to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl this season. But, although the Huskies didn't play the toughest schedule, SB Nation's Bill Connelly believes that not only do they have a chance to beat the Seminoles, but other less criticized teams who received BCS bowl bids will prove to be easier matchups.

"Again, the margin for error is small, but it does exist," Connelly writes. "NIU is a good team -- not the best mid-major out there this year (according to F/+, the Huskies fall behind No. 21 Utah State, No. 22 Boise State and No. 30 Fresno State), but good enough to give FSU problems, especially if the wrong FSU shows up. The Seminoles are the favorites for obvious reasons, but their range of effort and production has varied wildly in 2012."

Connelly notes that Northern Illinois is a better team than NC State, who upset Florida State 17-16 this season.