Orange Bowl Preview: Northern Illinois vs Florida State

All the preliminary bowls are now out of the way. There have been such really good games so far, and I for one have enjoyed watching them. It started with the Arizona Wildcats thrilling last minute comeback to beat the Nevada Wolfpack in the New Mexico Bowl 49-48. It continued with some blowouts and some thrillers. Some of the really good games have been Cincinnati vs Duke in the Belk Bowl, Minnesota and Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl and LSU vs Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Michigan State over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and a few others. All very entertaining stuff. But now we get down to the “Big Ones”. It’s time for conference champion to meet conference champion. It’s time for teams with double digits in the win column to go at it on the game’s biggest stages. It’s time for the BCs Bowl games.

On New Year’s night in Miami, the Northern Illinois Huskies, champions of the Mid-American Conference and winners of 12 games in a row, will take on the ACC Champion Florida State Seminoles with a record of 11-2 in the Discover Orange Bowl. This game will be a battle of two very good quarterbacks in Florida State’s E J Manuel and NIU’s Jordan Lynch. Lynch has throw 24 touchdown passes and ran for 19 more. Manuel as thrown for 22 touchdowns and run for three more.

The Huskies only loss of the season came on opening day in Chicago’s Soldier Field when they lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten 18-17. After that Lynch began putting up Johnny Manziel-like numbers ans he led the Huskies to a 12-1 record. Northern Illinois beat another BCS Buster in the Kent State Golden Flashes in the MAC Championship Game to get to the BCS party. Many have stated they don’t feel the Huskies belong in this game because of the Iowa loss. The Hawkeyes failed to win the six games required to become bowl eligible even after beating the Huskies. But the Huskies beat several bowl teams to get to where they are. They beat Little Caesar’s Bowl champion Central Michigan 55-24. They beat Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl runner-up Ball State 35-23. They beat Famous Idaho Potato Bowl runner-up Toledo 31-24.  And they beat GoDaddy’s Bowl bound Kent State 44-37.

Florida State had wins over Chick-Fil-A Bowl champion Clemson 49-37. They also beat Belk Bowl runner up Duke 48-7. They beat Russell Athletic Bowl champion Virginia Tech 28-22. They also beat Sun Bowl champion Georgia Tech 21-15. So that’s four wins over bowl teams for each team. The only one that really sticks out is the 48-7 drubbing the Noles put on Duke. But The Huskies put a similar beating on Central Michigan. Now FSU did lose to two bowl teams, Music City Bowl runner up N.C. State and Sugar Bowl bound Florida. And NIU’s loss was to a non-bowl team. So maybe FSU gets an edge for that?

Florida State is heavily favored in this game. TopBet has Northern Illinois +14.5 -110 or +425. FSU is -14.5 or -550. Over/under is 58.5. We just have a feeling the Huskies might keep it closer than that. So we like the Huskies +14.5 and the over. in what should be a fairly entertaining offensive game.

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