What's sadder? The fact I'm calculating NIU's bowl chances at 1 a.m. on Friday night...or that I'm willingly calculating NIU's bowl chances at 1 a.m. on Friday night?
I figured I'd get this done so Huskies fans could watch Saturday's scores and figure out how they affect Jerry Kill and the fellas.
According to my math, here are the five bowl spots that are going to be available to at-large teams:
1) EagleBank (ACC can't fill).
2) EagleBank (Army won't fill unless it upsets Navy on Dec. 12).
3) GMAC (ACC can't fill).
4) Humanitarian (Mountain West can't fill because TCU gets a BCS bid if it crushes New Mexico as expected today).
5) Little Caesars Pizza (Big Ten can't fill if league gets second BCS bid as expected).
This is a little bit of a problem for NIU's chances because MAC teams fill the other side of the GMAC and Little Caesars bowls.
Here are the teams competing for these five projected slots.
1) Northern Illinois (7-5).
2) Bowling Green (7-5).
3) Middle Tennessee State (8-3).
4) Either Fresno State or Idaho (whichever doesn't get the last WAC bowl).
5) Hawaii if it wins its last two games against Navy and Wisconsin. If Hawaii pulls this off, then BOTH Fresno and Idaho are in the at-large mix because Hawaii will snarf its home island bowl.
6) Connecticut if it wins at home against Syracuse (today) and USF (Dec. 5).
7) Either Marshall or SMU if BOTH win their games today. SMU hosts Tulane (3-8) while Marshall travels to UTEP (3-8). SMU is favored big while Marshall is a 1-point dog.
8) Either Arizona or UCLA if both win one more game AND the Pac-10 doesn't get a second BCS bid as expected. Arizona travels to Arizona St. and USC while UCLA plays at USC, so this point might be moot.
9) Louisiana-Lafayette and/or Louisiana-Monroe if they win their finales today. Both are expected to lose to league leaders Troy and MTSU, respectively.
If all of these scenarios go according to the oddsmakers, then there'll be five teams for five spots and nobody has to fight it out...they just have to work it out so MAC teams don't face each other in a bowl.
If all of these scenarios go AGAINST NIU -- and Army shocks Navy on Dec. 12 -- then there'll be 10 teams battling for four at-large spots. Hard to imagine NIU bucking those odds to get a bowl. But that's a breakdown for another day.