Updated: November 26, 2012 1:02PM
Jordan Lynch is convinced his team could beat Illinois, which should
hardly fan flames of outrage after the Illini ended a disastrous 2-10
season with a 50-14 loss to Northwestern on Saturday But the Northern
Illinois quarterback and dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate also
believes the Huskies are better than the Wildcats.
What might at first sound like bold talk from the usually soft-spoken
Lynch has become a consensus opinion.
“We consider ourselves the best team in the state,” Lynch said when
asked if the Huskies would like to prove themselves against in-state
rivals from the Big Ten. “To be part of one of those rivalries, to
schedule Northwestern or Illinois for a game every year would be
tremendous. But we consider ourselves the best team in the state.”
The BCS standings concur, ranking NIU 21st and Northwestern 22nd, as
does virtually every other poll. These Huskies may not be household
names in Chicagoland but they are gaining respect of Top 25 voters.
The Associated Press Poll has NIU ranked 19th and NU 22nd. The USA
Today Coaches’ Poll (18th and 20th) and the Harris Poll (19th and
“We’re starting to get more and more people writing about us in the
papers and I have a lot of friends back home starting to talk and text
me saying the word on the street is that Northern’s program is back
and they’re talking about us being the best team in the state of
Illinois,” said Lynch, who prepped at Mt. Carmel. “A lot of people are
talking about us right now.”
There’s more at stake than a second-straight Mid-American Conference
championship, a 12th straight win and a 17th straight conference win
when the Huskies meet Kent State on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit,
Mich., in the MAC Championship game. The winner between two 11-1 teams
could receive a BCS bowl berth.
The Golden Flashes are ranked 17th in the BCS standings.
“It puts you on a national stage against another nationally known team
in a big underdog role, obviously,” NIU coach Dave Doeren said of what
a BCS bowl berth could do for his program. “It gives you a chance to
potentially do what Boise [State] did a couple of years ago when they
beat Oklahoma in their BCS game. I don’t know if we can pull off that
same feat but we would try.
“That’s what we want. We want that opportunity. If we could win this
football game and be 12-1 we would be deserving and I know whoever we
played against would get a very good football team.
Imagine how many people would be talking about the Huskies then.
“It would be huge,” Lynch said. “It would give us great publicity. To
play Friday on national TV, to show the world what we’re made of, and
if we can walk out of there with a victory, we could go to a BCS bowl
and really show the world what we’re made of. It could be huge for the