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Editorial: NIU deserves its trip to the Orange Bowl

Kirk Herbstreit re-signs as Eckrich Spokesperson.  (PRNewsFoto/Armour-Eckrich Meats LLC)

Kirk Herbstreit re-signs as Eckrich Spokesperson. (PRNewsFoto/Armour-Eckrich Meats LLC)

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Updated: January 6, 2013 9:48AM

Talk about moving the goal posts.

Just as Northern Illinois University fans were celebrating the football team’s first trip to one of college’s major bowl games, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit derided the Huskies’ triumph as “an absolute joke.”

Herbstreit thinks it’s an injustice the Orange Bowl didn’t invite a different team, such as Oklahoma — for whom some coaches apparently were trying to win through poll manipulation what the team couldn’t achieve on the field.

Sorry, the absolute joke here is Herbstreit’s view of college sports.

NIU’s football team won its conference championship and is ranked No. 15 in the country. It earned its spot in the Orange Bowl under rules that were hardly designed to favor mid-major teams such as the Huskies. And it did it while academically outperforming the big-money, power-conference schools that Herbstreit would have preferred to see in the Orange Bowl.

We don’t see any reason for NIU to apologize. Huskies fans have every reason to be proud of their football team.

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