Rod Carey and Northern Illinois have the inside track on an undefeated regular season and potential BCS berth for the second straight season. But standing in their way this week is Ball State, and Carey says his team is not going to take the 9-1 Cardinals lightly as they prepare for battle Saturday in DeKalb.
Leading the charge unsurprisingly is quarterback Jordan Lynch, who has thrown for nearly 1,900 yards, ran for 1,150 more and compiled 31 touchdowns while leading the Huskies to nine straight wins.
The debate will continue over the next three weeks and into bowl season about whether Lynch, one of the most accomplished dual-threat quarterbacks in NCAA history, should be considered for the Heisman trophy at season's end. For Carey, it's something he endorses but tries to keep on the back burner while the Huskies accomplish their team goals.
"I am (Lynch's) biggest cheerleader, but I also like to focus on the task at hand. So there's something to that, where him and I don't talk about it a whole lot except for when we're asked by the media." Carey told Mark Schanowski on SportsNet Central. "I don't know that there's a guy in the nation that does more for his team, and I have no qualms in saying that. And isn't that kind of the definition of what a Heisman should be? So yeah, I think he's deserving. And we balance it. Listen, when we're in the film room, we're not in there talking about winning the Heisman; we're talking about how to beat Ball State."
[RELATED: NIU leaps up to No. 15 in BCS rankings]
The Huskies have moved into the top-16 of the BCS rankings (No. 15), but for now Carey says he's enjoying the ride -- as well as the atmosphere around campus -- as the Huskies try to play BCS spoiler for the second straight year.
"Well you've got a real good vibe around campus right now, just the buzz, the feel of it is really good," he said. "So I think it's really good. We're in this office a lot, I don't get out a ton. But when I do a lot of people are excited about it and a lot of people are happy about it too.