Northern Illinois' chances of reaching a BCS bowl game for the second straight season have dramatically improved.
The latest batch of standings released Sunday night have the Huskies sitting at No. 14, two spots ahead of where they were a week ago and two spots ahead of fellow undefeated mid-major Fresno State.
NIU has won every game its played this season, but it has trailed Fresno State all season, as well, as the human-computer hybrid that makes up the BCS standings valued the Bulldogs' resume more than the Huskies'. But that's no longer the case, and as the number of teams making a case for the BCS seems to grow, NIU's standing ahead of Fresno State seems to make its chances of reaching one of college football's biggest games much better.
The number of undefeated teams in the country shrunk by one more this past weekend, when Baylor was crushed by Oklahoma State. That leaves just five: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 14 Northern Illinois and No. 16 Fresno State. The Huskies kept their record spotless with last week's mid-week win over Toledo.
There's just one week remaining in the regular season, though NIU has already punched its ticket to the MAC championship game in Detroit. A Tuesday-night home game with Western Michigan is all that separates Northern from an undefeated regular season. If NIU can best the Broncos and win the conference title bout against either Buffalo or Bowling Green (those two will play for a trip to Detroit on Friday night), it'll finish the year with zero losses and likely find its way into a BCS game.