The first college football game I ever attended was Northern Illinois at Wisconsin, September 1971, freshman year.  Wisconsin won, and the fans leaving Camp Randall were yelling "Rose Bowl!"  Just a little college sarcasm, as those football teams weren't good, and by early October, they'd be yelling "Hurry Up, November!", because the hockey team was that good.

Had anyone told me that 41 years later my employer would be Northern Illinois, and Wisconsin would be playing in the Rose Bowl as a prelude to Northern Illinois playing in the Orange Bowl, I'm not sure what my reaction would be.

Now that it has happened, I am pleased to enjoy the moment.

Northern Illinois University photograph.

The bowl selection didn't please everybody.  I'll refer readers to Red and Black Attack for doing the comprehensive linking to initial Orange Bowl coverage and subsequent commentary.  There's a lot.  I'll give USA Today's Mike LoPresti the Trenchant Observation for Today.
The Huskies' BCS-busting saga reminds us how tunes can change in college football, and not just when the band segues from the fight song to the alma mater.

Before: Critics threaten to go to court, to Congress, to the Vatican, to demand action against the closed-minded BCS, for not including outsiders such as Boise State and Utah. Unfair.

Now: How in the name of Bud Wilkinson did Northern Illinois get picked over Oklahoma? Unfair.
Of course, and even Der Führer is displeased.

Meanwhile, the academic life of the campus goes on.  The basketball team drew a larger-than-average crowd for the Orange Bowl pep rally, and I've overheard a number of conversations about winter break travel plans being hastily created or changed.  The basketball game was competing with the Avalon Quartet's culmination of the Beethoven cycle, in which they scheduled all three Rasumovsky Quartets for one night.  That's the chamber music equivalent of double overtime in the title game, and a splendid time was had by all, despite the regular audience becoming fewer in number and higher in median age.

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