TAKE 2: NIU's winning streaks could run into 2013
Jacobson: There's a lot on the line when the Huskies take on Toledo tonight at Huskie Stadium. A win clinches the program's third consecutive Mid-American Conference West Division championship and seals a berth in the MAC title game. But the Huskies also have a lot of streaks on the line. NIU has won nine consecutive games overall, 14 straight MAC games and 20 in a row at Huskie Stadium.
In your mind, which is the most impressive streak?
Nitz: Ross, to me all the streaks are impressive in their own way. However, if I had to pick one, it would be the 20 consecutive wins at Huskie Stadium. I mean, think about it, the streak spans almost four seasons and two head coaches. The Huskies have had to win a lot of tough games over that time period, such as the victory over Kansas earlier this season and last year's comeback against Ball State.
Jacobson: I'll disagree with you and take the 14-game winning streak in the MAC. For as strong as the league is, NIU has gone almost two full seasons now without losing a game in conference. There was a lot of talk about Ohio running the table and going undefeated before the season started, yet the Bobcats have fallen twice in MAC games and are now eliminated for the MAC Championship game picture. With so much familiarity between opponents, especially NIU's annual MAC West opponents, a 14-game conference winning streak seems to be the most impressive.
NIU has a maximum of four games remaining with MAC contests against Toledo and Eastern Michigan followed by possible MAC Championship and bowl game appearances. What's the likelihood NIU enters the 2013 season with all three streaks in tact and how long do you think they could go?
Nitz: I think there's a solid shot the Huskies can keep these streaks alive through the bowl game. Tonight's contest against Toledo won't be easy, and the Huskies will face a challenge in the MAC Championship Game, as well as their December/January bowl game. It's certainly possible NIU will be favored in all three of those games, and the Huskies will be heavy favorites against Eastern Michigan next week.
As for how long they could go, it's hard to tell at this point when we don't know next season's entire schedule. The non-conference slate won't be easy, with games at Iowa and Purdue. However, with what NIU has coming back next year, it's certainly possible the Huskies could be just as good and get off to a nice start. However, next year's a long way away.
Jacobson: Iowa and Purdue haven’t exactly had banner seasons in 2012. Iowa will have a new starting quarterback next year and the Boilermakers may have a new coach.
If the Huskies win out, making it back-to-back MAC championships, they will have to be considered the favorites to win the conference again in 2013. But just as we saw with Ohio, sometimes it’s tough to be the preseason top dog.