ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit was particularly miffed that Northern Illinois received a berth to play in the Orange Bowl, calling it “an absolute joke,” “a sad state for college football” and an “injustice.”
Northern Illinois was the surprise inclusion to the BCS bowls, finishing in the top 16 of the BCS standings above two conference champions (the Big Ten’s Wisconsin and Big East’s Louisville) to secure its spot. For the first time in BCS history, a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference that was not undefeated was included in a BCS bowl. That knocked No. 11 Oklahoma out of a BCS bowl slot.
“The fact that Northern Illinois is in the BCS in 2012 is really a sad state for college football and where we are with the current system,” Herbstreit said. “Thank goodness we’re moving toward a new system in 2014. They don’t deserve to be in the BCS this year.
“Are you kidding me with Northern Illinois playing in the BCS? There are two things here that stand out. Northern Illinois — no one knew they were playing until the Toledo game a few weeks ago. … You’re going to leave Oklahoma out to put Northern Illinois into a BCS bowl game? Are you kidding me?”
Northern Illinois finished 12-1 this season and won the MAC Conference championship. The Huskies won their final dozen games after losing an 18-17 squeaker in their opener to Big Ten foe Iowa, which ended up finishing 4-8. Herbstreit said that was all the more reason they should be kept out of the BCS.
“To put them in the BCS is an absolute joke to the rest of these teams who are more deserving,” he said. “… Iowa’s the worst team in the Big Ten. They lost to Iowa.”
Here’s video of Herbstreit’s substantial rant: