NIU has emerged from the shadows of the top conferences to rank among the best schools in the country, netting a bid to the Orange Bowl New Year's Day, where they will take on Florida State.
When the news of the BCS bowl was announced, the ESPN analysts weighed in on NIU and whether the Huskies deserved to be there.
Kirk Herbstreit, in particular, held nothing back:
"The fact that Northern Illinois is in the BCS in 2012 is really a sad state for college football and where we are in the current system," Herbstreit said. "Thank goodness we're moving toward a new system in 2014.
"They don't deserve to be in the BCS this year. Are you kidding me with Northern Illinois playing in the BCS? Northern Illinois, no one knew they were playing until the Toledo game a few weeks ago. You're going to leave Oklahoma out to put Northern Illinois into a BCS bowl game? Are you kidding me?"
While it's true teams like Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida are more nationally known and followed than NIU, the rules as stated put the Huskies in the position to beat higher-profile teams into one of the final BCS spots.
Herbstreit and the other analysts have a good point, however, in that NIU's only loss was to Iowa, who had an underwhelming season and finished amongst the bottom-feeders in the Big Ten.
From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.
Weight: 170 pounds
Scouting report from NHL.com draft expert Adam Kimelman:
The most talented player in the draft should be the first one selected. The 18-year-old has a package of skating, passing, vision and hockey sense that's reminiscent of Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane."
NHL player comparable: Connor McDavid/Patrick Kane
Fit for Blackhawks:
Listen, we know. Hughes isn't going to be on the board at No. 3. But let's dream just for one minute because when the Blackhawks jumped into the top-three on lottery night, the thought crept into everyone's minds.
Hughes is one of the most talented players to ever come out of the United States National Development Program, and is the most pro-ready out of any prospect in this year's draft. He could step onto an NHL team tomorrow and play in a top-six role seamlessly.
Stylistically, Hughes' game is reminiscent of McDavid and Kane: A playmaker, goal scorer, smooth skater, unreal vision, high hockey IQ. He is the complete package. And just wait until he adds some muscle to his frame under the care of an NHL organization.
If the Blackhawks landed the No. 1 overall pick, their center depth for the next 7-8 years could've consisted of Hughes, Dylan Strome and Jonathan Toews. Alright, now back to reality.
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Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki check in from Wrigley Field after the Cubs split the first leg of the Crosstown Classic with the White Sox.
Kelly and Tony discuss the breaking news of top pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay's promotion to the big leagues and what his role could be with the Cubs (2:15), and assess where the Cubs stand as they continue their long homestand, including the recent offensive downturn and Yu Darvish taking a step forward (7:30).
Cubs Talk Podcast