TALLAHASSEE -- Has the outraged quelled some? Has the anger calmed? Hopefully by now, hours after Northern Illinois' selection to next month's BCS Orange Bowl was confirmed, peace and tranquility will settle among the college football community.
Let us all take a deep breath and say woo sah ...
Like it not, the BCS-busting Huskies are indeed heading to South Florida. Joining them will be the newly crowned, ACC champion Florida State Seminoles. The teams, ranked 15th and 12th by the BCS respectively, are playing in quite possibly the most controversial, debate-worthy bowl on this year's postseason schedule. For that reason, whether you like the matchup or not, you're probably going to be watching. And you won't be alone. Airing unopposed in primetime, the game will get eyes from onlookers curious to see if a non-BCS team really can hang with the giant Seminoles.
Since those of you who frequent the Chopping Block already know FSU pretty well, we're going to spend this Monday morning breaking down the Huskies, a team that most outside of Middle America are unfamiliar with.
There are countless story lines revolving around the two-time Mid-American Conference champion that we'll get to here and elsewhere in the coming weeks. In broad terms, though, you do need to know that this is a team going through a coaching transition. Head coach Dave Doeren left after the Huskies' MAC Championship win in overtime over Kent State on Friday to become North Carolina State's new head coach. Offensive line coach and running game coordinator Rod Carey was promoted Sunday evening into the new full-time head-coaching spot.
How well the players follow Carey's leadership, and how well he leads, too, will be among the several story lines to follow.
In the meantime, let's get you ready for Jan. 1, 2013 by taking this deeper look at the Northern Illinois Huskies.
First off, to any Northern Illinois fans reading this blog, welcome. I'll extend the same salutations to any new FSU readers out there, as well. Those who follow the Chopping Block reguarly know that these "Getting to know" blogs can be quite lengthy. We run them each Monday at the start of a game week. In them, we like to give stats, players to watch and just an overall good, early glimpse into the team the Seminoles are set to face in their next game.
Something we also like to do with these posts is provide you with a group of newspapers you MUST follow for the latest information from the other side in the lead-up to FSU's next game.
For the next several weeks, we have a few different newspapers that I'll push you to follow. The first, the Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, Ill.) staffs the Northern Illinois beat each day, and does so with multiple writers. The Chronicle's huskiewire.com is the place to go for all NIU coverage from the newspaper. You can follow @HuskieWire on Twitter, as well.
Additionally, be sure to track the Chicago Tribune for news and updates on the Huskies' beat. Longtime Tribune sports writer Fred Mitchell covers Northern Illinois for the Orlando Sentinel's sister paper. Give him a follow on Twitter @kicker34.
The Chicago Sun-Times also will be a good follow for Northern Illinois information throughout the month.
With all of that out of the way, let’s get to know the 2012 Northern Illinois Huskies:
No. 15 Northern Illinois vs. No. 13 Florida State, 8 p.m., Jan. 1, ESPN, Orange Bowl … First meeting. This game marks the first time a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference reached the BCS Orange Bowl. This is FSU's ninth appearance in the Orange Bowl. The Seminoles are 3-5 all-time in it. FSU reached the bowl winning the ACC Championship in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday night. Northern Illinois earned the spot after beating Kent State on Friday night in the MAC Championship in Detroit.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES (12-1)
2012 record: 12-1 (9-0 Mid-Atlantic Conference) Beat Kent State (44-37, OT) on Friday
Coach: Rod Carey came to Northern Illinois last season to lead the Huskies' offensive line. Apparently he did a good job. A year later, days after head coach Dave Doeren accepted the NC State head-coaching vacancy, Carey was offered a chance to coach the Huskies, becoming Doeren's permanent replacement. Like now former FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Carey immediately begins his first head-coaching gig.