The Sports Xchange takes a closer look at reaction to the announcement of the BCS bowl matchups through this sampling of what writers and columnists around the country are Just Sayin. . .
Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN:
I love MAC football, but to put them (Northern Illinois) in the BCS is an absolute joke to the rest of those teams that are more deserving. I can't believe we're even having this discussion.
The fact that Northern Illinois is in the BCS in 2012 is really a sad state for college football and where we are in the current system. Thank goodness we're moving toward a new system in 2014.
They don't deserve to be in the BCS this year. Are you kidding me with Northern Illinois playing in the BCS? Northern Illinois, no one knew they were playing until the Toledo game a few weeks ago. You're going to leave Oklahoma out to put Northern Illinois into a BCS bowl game? Are you kidding me?
Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com:
College football's four-team playoff can't get here soon enough.
This year's rotation of BCS bowl games includes No. 12 Florida State, No. 15 Northern Illinois, No. 21 Louisville and five-loss Wisconsin, which isn't even rated in the final BCS standings.
A "Christmas Vacation" marathon probably never seemed so inviting during the holidays.
Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman:
Reason No. 436 why football coaches should not be allowed to vote in any process that helps determine which teams play in more prestigious, better-paying polls, not to mention incentive bonuses in their own contracts. Oklahoma's Bob Stoops voted his team sixth and its prime competitor for a BCS bowl berth, Northern Illinois, 24th. Stoops stood to make an extra $38,500 for reaching a BCS bowl, which gives off the appearance of, uh, a slight conflict of interest and lack of objectivity. Steve Spurrier was honest, if not ethical, when he said he'd have voted differently had the coaches' votes not been made public. Who'da thunk it?
Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports
The SEC is the best conference in college football, of course, and Alabama is the best team in that conference, but Notre Dame won't be intimidated this matchup.
The Irish played a schedule that was balanced and tough, and seemed to be peaking late in the season. Notre Dame will be more than a touchdown underdog to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, but if anyone tells you how the Crimson Tide will run all over the Irish, don't listen. This should be a close game. And Notre Dame can win it . . .
NIU might not be a television ratings bonanza, drawing in viewers the way Oklahoma - which is was the team knocked out of the BCS by the Huskies' inclusion - would have. But the Huskies went 12-1, winning their last 12 games after a one-point season-opening loss to Iowa, including a double-overtime win over Kent State in the MAC championship game on Friday.
The Huskies have a prolific quarterback in Jordan Lynch, who has 2,962 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns and five interceptions, along with 1,771 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. Northern Illinois won't have its coach, however. Dave Doeren took a job at N.C. State on Saturday, and will not coach the team in the bowl game.
Tim Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Bulldogs (11-2) will play Nebraska (10-3) in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on Jan. 1 in a matchup of the losers of the SEC and Big Ten championship games.
The Capital One, which holds first choice of SEC teams after the BCS games, had been rumored to be considering Texas A&M and its Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Johnny Manziel. But after Georgia's strong performance against Alabama, the bowl opted to take the Bulldogs, who dropped from No. 3 to No. 7 in the final BCS standings released Sunday night.
Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com:
I realize a lot of people now expect the Crimson Tide will pummel Notre Dame in a little over a month in Miami in the BCS title game. You know, "grown man football" and all. Of course, the SEC has won six national titles in a row and the opposition doesn't get much benefit of the doubt against that. Plus, it's been a generation since the Irish had a football team the country had to take seriously. Blowout?
I'm not so sure it's going to play out that way after watching the past three months.
The common thought among many SEC loyalists is that No. 1 Notre Dame -- despite its 12-0 record -- would be only the seventh-best SEC team if it were in the conference, behind Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina. But I wonder how many of those people have actually eye-balled Notre Dame in person. Yeah, I get Notre Dame's secondary is its weak spot and the jury's still out on young QB Everett Golson, but both have grown up quite a bit in the past three months. But let's not kid ourselves. Remember, the Johnny Manziel or Jeff Driskel we think of now aren't the same as the players we saw in early September.
And all of this season's college teams have some blemishes.
I'm not ready to say that I'm calling a Notre Dame win -- I'm not -- but I hope in the wake of Saturday's riveting game, we all don't get too caught up in the fireworks from that game. Georgia, for all of its NFL talent, is No. 79 in the nation against the run.
Patrik Nohe, Miami Herald:
NIU is the first team to ever represent the MAC in the BCS.
Its coach, Dave Doeren, was recently hired by N.C. State and will not coach the Orange Bowl.
That doesn't mean NIU will be any less fired up, though. Florida State should expect the Huskies' best shot.
And if Florida State wants to prove it's on its way back to relevance and that the ACC title was just the first hump - then it has to win.