Created:Friday, November 30, 2012 5:30 a.m.CDT
Updated:Saturday, December 1, 2012 10:30 p.m.CDT
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UPDATED: NIU three steps closer to BCS

By ROSS JACOBSON - rjacobson@shawmedia.com

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Northern Illinois, No. 21 in the BCS rankings, has a slight chance at making a BCS bowl game for the first time in school history.

The Huskies must fulfill three requirements:

1. Finish in the top 16 of the BCS rankings 2. Be the highest ranked league champion from a non-AQ conference 3. Finish higher than one of the six champions from a BCS conference

Here's what needs to happen for the Huskies to have a shot:

NIU vs. Kent St., MAC Championship

Game time:
6 p.m. todayRooting interest: NIUWhy it matters: The loser of the MAC Championship will be eliminated from BCS bowl contention. An NIU victory over Kent State would give the Huskies their best win of the season; a solid win could potentially play well with voters and the computer rankings.

UPDATE: NIU won this game in double-overtime.
UCLA at Stanford, Pac-12 Championship

Game time:
7 p.m. todayRooting interest: StanfordWhy it matters: UCLA is No. 16 in the BCS rankings, five spots ahead of NIU. A UCLA loss – preferably one by a healthy margin – like the Cardinal's 35-17 win last week – would open the door for NIU to move past UCLA and crack the top 16.

UPDATE: Stanford wins, 27-24.

Boise St. at Nevada

Game time:
2:30 p.m. SaturdayRooting interest: NevadaWhy it matters: Boise State is No. 20 in the BCS rankings. NIU would need to jump Boise State to become the highest ranked non-AQ team; a Broncos loss to Nevada would ensure that.

UPDATE: Boise St. wins, 27-21. Not a backbreaker for NIU, but it doesn't help the Huskies.

Texas at Kansas St.

Game time:
7 p.m., SaturdayRooting interest: Kansas St.Why it matters: At No. 18 in the BCS rankings, Texas is another team ahead of the Huskies. The Longhorns will be without injured QB David Ash and are heavy underdogs on the road.

UPDATED: Kansas St. wins, 42-24.

Updated, 9 a.m. Saturday: There is one more game to watch, based on what BCS gurus have said this morning.

Georgia Tech vs. Florida St.
Game time:
7 p.m., SaturdayRooting Interest: Georgia Tech
Why it matters:
After Friday night's NIU and Stanford victories, some BCS experts are now saying it will take a Florida St. (ranked No. 13) loss to get NIU into the top 16.

UPDATE: Florida St. beat Georgia Tech, 21-15.

USA Today and Harris polls

Release:
Sunday morningWhy it matters: The two human polls make up two-thirds of the BCS rankings. NIU will have to impress voters enough to move them up the rankings. The computer polls haven't been too favorable to NIU, so the Huskies' BCS chances hinge on significant improvement in these two polls.

Given a full slate of games against Big Ten teams, which team finishes with the best record?
NIU
Purdue
Northwestern