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2013 Orange Bowl picks and predictions: Experts giving Northern Illinois a chance

Despite some criticism of their spot in a BCS bowl, many experts think Northern Illinois belongs.

Dave Reginek

When the Northern Illinois Huskies were selected to compete against the Florida State Seminoles in the 2013 Orange Bowl, there were a few negative reactions, notably by ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, to a MAC school being selected over power-conference schools.

But now that they're here, many at national media outlets think the Huskies could legitimately compete with Florida State on Jan. 1.

Among the six writers making picks for CBS Sports, four -- Dennis Dodd, Bruce Feldman, Jerry Hinnen and Chip Patterson -- selected Northern Illinois to cover the spread against Florida State.

John Tamanaha of NBC Sports also believes the game will be close, picking Florida State to win, 26-20. That's thanks in part to his belief that Northern Illinois will be desperate to prove doubters wrong while Florida State might be overlooking the Huskies.

Sports Illustrated predicts a 31-11 final score in favor of Florida State, noting that the Seminoles are capable of less-than-inspired performances but just have too much talent not to win.