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How Northern Illinois snuck its way into the BCS

The Northern Illinois Huskies have just gone through the most eventful week in program history, between making it to the Orange Bowl and losing their head coach, and the New York Times was there to chronicle it all.


The Northern Illinois Huskies are the most unlikely team to make it into a BCS bowl since its inception. The 12-1 MAC champions were able to find their way in by not only winning, but by taking advantage of the BCS' own quirky math. The New York Times' Ben Strauss took a look inside the program during the most eventful week in its history, and found a team that thinks they deserve their place with college football's heavyweights.

Perhaps the craziest part of the past week for the Huskies is the abrupt departure of head coach Dave Doeren to NC State. No one thought he was going to stick around in DeKalb forever, but NIU will now play the biggest game in program history without the coach that got them there. Offensive coordinator Rod Carey has already been named the full time head coach.

Many pundits have given Northern Illinois no chance of beating Florida State in the Orange Bowl, but that's nothing new to the players, many of whom were overlooked by bigger programs. Carey says it's just additional motivation for the team:

"Just about every one of these guys was told he wasn’t good enough, that he wasn’t wanted by one of the bigger schools," Carey said. "That creates that chip, and they come here to work."