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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