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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Northern Illinois & Kent State Face Off With A Potential BCS Bid At Stake


On Friday, Nov. 30, for the first time in the history of the Mid-American Conference championship game, two ranked teams will meet at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. to decide who is crowned undisputed MAC champion.

The two teams that will meet are the No. 21 Northern Illinois Huskies (11-1 overall, 8-0 MAC) and the No. 17 Kent State Golden Flashes (11-1 overall, 8-0- MAC).

Northern Illinois’ only blemish came to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sept. 1, by the score of 18-17 in a game in which the Hawkeyes scored nine fourth-quarter points to win the game.

A player to watch for the Huskies is junior quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Lynch has had an outstanding season not just by passing, but also rushing. The dual threat quarterback threw for 23 touchdowns and was only picked off four times.

Lynch also ran for 1611 yards and 16 touchdowns. Lynch as a dual-threat quarterback gives the Huskies their best opportunity to knock off the Golden Flashes.

Kent State’s only blemish came to the Kentucky Wildcats on Sept. 8, by the score of 47-14.

Ironically, the one thing that Eastern Michigan University has in common with the Golden Flashes and the Huskies are that they played at the Eagles’ home field Rynearson Stadium.

Unfortunately, EMU lost to both teams 41-14 and 49-7, respectively.

Players to watch for the Golden Flashes are the lightning-thunder running back tandem of junior Dri Archer and sophomore Trayion Durham.

Durham has rushed for 100 yards in six of the twelve games he has played this season and is the thunder of the two-back system that the Golden Flashes use.

Durham has accounted for 1176 yards on 236 attempts with 14 touchdowns.

Archer is the lightning of the two-back system and has rushed for 1337 yards on 138 carries with 14 touchdowns. As a receiver, Archer has proved to be lethal as he has 458 yards on 30 receptions with four touchdowns.

In the 14-year history of the Bowl Championship Series, no MAC team has ever ranked high enough in the final BCS rankings to qualify for one of the five bowl games played every New Year’s week.

Chances are very good that if the Golden Flashes knock off the Huskies in the title game, then they could get to at least the number 16 ranking if other teams that are ranked above them lose.

No. 16 is the cut off ranking for the non-automatic qualifying conferences (MAC, Western Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Sun Belt Conference, and Conference USA) to automatically make it into one of the four BCS bowl games excluding the national championship game because that match-up is one versus two.

Along with the cut-off ranking, one of the six automatic qualifying conferences must have a champion that is ranked below No. 16.

Also, a non-AQ team qualifies for the BCS is if a school finishes in the top 12 in the final standings.

As of this issue, the Louisville Cardinals and Rutgers Scarlet Knights are unranked and tied for the Big East conference lead.

These two teams will meet the night before on Thursday, Nov 29 (7:30, ESPN), to decide the likely Big East representative in the BCS.

If Rutgers wins, it improves Kent State’s chances of making the BCS assuming they beat Northern Illinois.

The Golden Flashes traveled to Piscataway, N.J. on Saturday, Oct. 27 and upset then No. 15 Rutgers 35-23.

Other possible scenarios that could help the potential MAC champion is if the unranked Wisconsin Badgers (7-5 overall, 4-4 Big Ten) knock off the No. 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-2 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) in the Big Ten title game or if the unranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-6 overall, 5-3 ACC) upset the No. 13 Florida State Seminoles (10-2 overall, 7-1 ACC) in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

If one or both of those upsets occur, it is very likely that Nebraska and/or Florida State could drop below No. 16 and give the MAC a better shot at putting their conference champion into a BCS game.

Game time starts at 7:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2. The game is also available online on WatchESPN.com

For ticket availability, call the Ford Field Box Office at (313) 262-2000.

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