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Kent State loses, but the BCS bowls win

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(AP)

Well, at least Kent State made it interesting.

The Mid-American Conference's quest for its first BCS bid isn't dead yet, but it took a major hit when Northern Illinois defeated Kent State 44-37 to knock the Golden Flashes out of BCS contention. The Golden Flashes came into the game ranked No. 17 in the BCS standings and a win, combined with losses by UCLA and/or Texas, could have pushed them into the top 16 and automatic qualification.

But it was not to be as NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, a Heisman hopeful, dove for the end zone in the first half of the second overtime — his third rushing touchdown of the game — to ultimately give the Huskies the win.

A win that probably cost the conference about $8 million.

However, the MAC isn't out of the BCS conversation yet. Northern Illinois is ranked No. 21 in the BCS standings and has a longshot chance of moving up into the top 16. Of course, it might need losses by Boise State and Texas and for voters to push the Huskies past Michigan and UCLA, but in a season as crazy as this one has been, it's difficult to rule anything out.

No. 20 Boise State also could squeak into the top 16 with a similar scenario as Northern Illinois' with a loss by Texas and some generous voters. And it has to, above all else, win at Nevada.

But realistically, the chance of the non-automatic qualifying team playing in the BCS this season appears slim to none. And that's OK considering there's not a non-automatic qualifying team that lives up to the high standards Utah, Boise State and TCU set when they automatically qualified for BCS bowls. In those instances, those teams were among the upper echelon of teams in the nation and beat at least one major opponent. This season, Kent State lost by 33 to Kentucky, Northern Illinois fell 18-17 to Iowa and Boise State lost 17-13 to Michigan State (and 21-19 to San Diego State).

So while the idea of throwing a wrench into the BCS system is always a fun prospect, allowing one of the non-automatic qualifying teams to play in a BCS bowl game might have been disastrous and a loss for anyone watching the game.

But, as mentioned earlier, at least Kent State made things interesting.

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