Finally, a bowl rep told a BCS buster what they REALLY thought about their paltry football program
Bowl game officials don't exactly share that love, however. In fact, they usually have a whole lot of hidden contempt for those teams, since it means a low fewer ticket sales, lower TV ratings, and often a less competitive game in general.
The thing is... bowl officials usually don't just come out and SAY that. Normally they're able to at least put on a nice face in public and say all the right things about how they're excited about the up-and-coming program and happy to give them a chance to showcase their program and all that.
Not so, in this case.
Northern Illinois won the MAC this year, going 12-1 and finishing with a #15 ranking in the BCS rankings. That earned them a spot in the Orange Bowl against Florida State, who won the ACC.
An Orange Bowl rep told a Northern Illinois staffer that they didn't deserve to be there, and that the Orange Bowl folks didn't want NIU to be there.
The way I imagine this actually happened: They were having a mixer with bigwigs from the Orange Bowl and each team, and perhaps the Orange Bowl rep had one or two too many Mai Tais, and things got a little heated as his resentment started to show. Remember... the Orange Bowl could have had a team like Oklahoma in this game instead, and they probably would have traveled a lot better than NIU. Not to mention the fact that they have a little stronger tradition.
Still... if you watched the game, I think you'd come away with mixed feelings on the accuracy of that particular sentiment about whether NIU deserved to be there.
While it was obvious that Florida State had the far superior athletes, Northern Illinois didn't exactly roll over.
The 31-10 final score wasn't completely indicative of how close the game was through the first 3 quarters. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, NIU only trailed 17-10, and there was a feeling that they might be able to pull off the upset if they caught a break here and there.
As it turned out, FSU scored 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter, sealing the game, but it was still a lot more competitive than people thought.
Did the Orange Bowl want Northern Illinois there? Clearly they didn't. But they definitely deserved to be there, and no one can take that away from them.