MAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Bowling Green (9-3) vs. No. 14 Northern Illinois (12-0), 8:00 p.m.: This game has a lot more meaning than most will believe. First, Northern Illinois is in position to earn an automatic BCS Bowl bid for the second straight season. Under BCS rules, a school from a non-Automatic Qualifier (AQ) conference can earn an automatic bid two ways: If it completes the regular season 12th or better in the final BCS standings or if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of an AQ conference champion. Northern Illinois is four spots ahead of AAC conference leader, No. 16 Central Florida. A win for the Huskies guarantees them a slot in a BCS Bowl.
The other issue of importance for Northern Illinois is the Heisman Trophy candidacy of quarterback Jordan Lynch. Lynch has 2,457 yards passing and 22 TDs and 1,755 rushing and 20 scores. Thanks to a 12-0 mark and wins over Iowa and Purdue, Lynch's yardage and touchdown total are more than enough to keep him in the conversation. With Alabama and AJ McCarron losing to Auburn and Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota seemingly out of the race, Lynch has crept up into the top four. Alabama losing to Auburn was significant because McCarron won't be able to showcase his skills one last time for voters in the SEC championship game. To beat out Florida State’s Jameis Winston, Northern Illinois will have to win convincingly with Lynch leading the way. And that might not be enough.