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Bowl projections 2012: Northern Illinois could play in Little Caesars Bowl

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The Northern Illinois Huskies could play in the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit.

Dave Reginek

The Northern Illinois Huskies defeated Kent State to win the MAC, and they're making a serious push for BCS bowl consideration. But SB Nation's Jason Kirk believes they'll fall short of a top-16 finish heading into the bowl season, and because of that, they'll fall from Sugar Bowl consideration to the Little Caesars Bowl.

Even if they're deserving, Kirk says that the Oklahoma Sooners' brand name will keep voters from bumping the Huskies into the top 16, as doing so would force the BCS bowl game's hand in taking the mid-major school. With a two-thirds weight of the BCS standings relying upon votes, Kirk can't see pollsters consciously tabbing NIU high enough to get them into a big-time bowl game.

So with the Sooners heading to play in the Sugar Bowl, NIU plays in the Detroit-hosted bowl game that welcomes the MAC winner.

The Huskies went 12-1 this year after starting the year off with an 18-17 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes.