Carlos Osorio / Associated Press
November 30, 2012
Why is college football the only sport that doesn¿t embrace underdogs? News that Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois had earned an automatic bid to the Orange Bowl drew unexpected and vitriolic backlash from many analysts, including ESPN¿s Kirk Herbstreit. Northern Illinois qualified fairly under BCS rules by finishing in the top 16 ahead of an automatic-qualifier league.
Why the outrage? Wisconsin won the Big Ten with an 8-5 record and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. Northern Illinois faced Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State in the Orange Bowl and trailed only 17-10 in the fourth quarter before losing 31-10.