NIU Should Push For Big 12 Membership

Ball State v Northern Illinois

Friday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) Of the three Division-I football programs in Illinois, only one has an SEC opponent on its schedule this season – or for any upcoming seasons.

And it’s not either of the football programs that play in the Big Ten.

Rather, it’s Northern Illinois.

But that might not happen again for NIU if the SEC has its way (and it usually does), which is why the Huskies should go beyond simply pursuing big-time conference foes and actually start pursuing a big-time conference membership.

In light of college football’s dynamics tilting ever more toward the power conferences, it only makes sense.

Over the past four seasons, NIU has gone 46-10, won two MAC championships, won four division championships and gone to an Orange Bowl, cementing itself as one of the premier mid-major football programs in America. Over that time, the Huskies have also established themselves as not only the Land of Lincoln’s best pigskin program but also its most aggressive when it comes to scheduling non-conference heavyweights.

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  • MCP

    Big 12 needs to add 14 teams, at least 12 to hold a conference championship.
    Considering tv market share, proximity to current members, and current strength of football teams only. I believe Big 12 should add University of Central Florida (adds conference exposure to state of Florida); University of Cincinnati; Houston; and Northern Illinois (third largest tv market in US). These teams will not weaken the Big 12 and here’s a head to head match-up with the Big 10 to illustrate.
    TCU vs. Ohio St
    Baylor vs. Mich St
    Kansas St vs. Wisc
    W. Virginia vs. Maryland (WVU won 40-37)
    Oklahoma vs Nebraska
    Texas vs Minn
    Okla St vs Rutgers
    Iowa St vs Iowa (Iowa St won 20-17)
    UCF vs Penn St (Penn St won 26-24)
    Texas Tech vs Illinois
    Cincinnati vs Michigan
    NIU vs Northwestern (NIU won 23-15)
    Houston vs Indiana
    Kansas vs Purdue
    Not sure what you think, but I’d give overall advantage to Big 12.

  • Krones

    Don’t forget NIU beat Iowa recently, and took OSU right to the end.

  • Krones

    Also the NIU AD already said they won’t join the Big 12. But I sure hope they reconsider.