(USA Today Sports Images)Dr. Saturday will be looking at the 25 most interesting teams headed into spring football through March, examining which programs have the biggest questions, the most expectations and the best storylines. This isn’t the 25 best going into the spring, just the 25 we’re keeping the closest eye on. Previously: Louisville
What happened in 2012
Of all the teams in college football, it's very possible none will look back and remember 2012 more fondly than Northern Illinois.
For Alabama, it's just one of many championship teams. For Notre Dame, it ended in disappointment. Northern Illinois' 2012 season is unlike anything it has experienced before, and possibly will experience again.
Northern Illinois was a surprise story at the end of the year. A couple days after it won the MAC championship, suddenly there were reports that NIU might have pulled off the improbable, getting into the top 16 of the BCS standings, ahead of the Big East champion, and therefore earning an automatic BCS berth. Sure enough, later that day Northern Illinois was invited to the Orange Bowl.
The Huskies were thoroughly dominated in the Orange Bowl by Florida State, but the 2012 season was still special for Northern Illinois. The Huskies had never played in a bowl better than the Poinsettia or Independence Bowl. Being the Cinderella of college football for a few weeks was a fun time.
Now, the question is whether Northern Illinois can stay in the national consciousness beyond those few weeks.
What makes them interesting in 2013
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