Try telling NIU it doesn't belong

DEKALB, Ill. -- There are eight items on Northern Illinois' 2012 team goals board in the McCareins meeting room.

Among them: go undefeated at home; a team GPA of 2.75 or higher; no off-the-field distractions; win the MAC West division title; and, of course, beat archrival Toledo.

Busting the BCS is nowhere to be found, but it's not a foreign concept, either.

"We wanted to be the first team from the MAC to go to a BCS bowl game," athletic director Jeff Compher said. "And now that's come to fruition."

It became official Sunday night after a weekend that included the Huskies winning their second consecutive MAC championship Friday night -- in two overtimes, no less; losing head coach Dave Doeren to NC State on Saturday; a day of scoreboard watching followed by another of poll watching; Compher and school president John Peters interviewing assistant coach Rod Carey for the Huskies' coaching vacancy and then officially hiring Carey on Sunday.

The whirlwind culminated with Northern Illinois finishing at No. 15 in the final BCS standings and, because of BCS rules, earning a spot in the Discover Orange Bowl against No. 12 Florida State, the ACC champion.

Click here to read the rest of Adam Rittenberg's piece on NIU's run to the BCS.