Discover Orange Bowl — No. 15 Northern Illinois vs. No. 12 Florida State
This is a game that got all of the chatter when the bowl games were first announced. While the University of Oklahoma was all prepared for the financial windfall that is the BCS, Northern Illinois was ranked high enough to make their bid for the BCS pushing the Sooners to maybe the 2nd best bowl of the season against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
So the team that lost their first game of the season to a horrible Iowa team is now in the BCS. They did beat the only other BCS conference team on their schedule when they got a seven point victory over 1 – 11 Kansas. They beat the only ranked team they played when they beat the other BCS buster Kent State for the MAC championship but let’s be honest, we don’t know how good they were.
Florida State, if not for a bad half of football against North Carolina State, would have been playing their cross state rival Florida for a shot at the national championship.
Florida State is better than Northern Illinois. It would be hard to find a debate with that. But here is the rub; the Seminoles have displayed a tendency to play down to their competition. Northern Illinois is the kind of team that will build confidence over time if they are allowed to stay in a game. They have a dynamic offense and it will be that offense that will go against the tough and talented Florida State defense. That will be the battle even though FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops left to take the Kentucky job.
The Seminoles will win this game but it will be closer than the experts think.