Let's call the roll of who they're not.

The Bears: another year, another quarterback controversy.  As a Facebook friend quipped, money spent to benefit the Green Bay Packers without affecting the salary cap.

Northwestern: they have aspirations, but went 0-for-Illinois this fall.

Illinois: somehow drew Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.  (Do they play on a grassy knoll?)  All the Group of Five fans are Techsters for that evening.

That leaves us with Northern Illinois.
I have a team for Chicagoans to root and cheer for that deserves to be rooted and cheered for. A team that knows how to win and has proven it year in and year out. A team that does things the right way, some would say the hard way. A team that receives little Chicago media coverage despite its university having 200,000 alums living in yhe Chicagoland area, but it doesn’t care because it’s too busy making it to five consecutive MAC Championship games under three head coaches. If you guessed the NIU Huskies you’ve guessed right.

In what was supposed to be a rebuilding season – losing the likes of Heisman finalist quarterback Jordan Lynch, first-round safety Jimmie Ward and the entire defensive line – the Huskies put together an 11-2 season, won their third MAC Championship in four seasons and will play the Conference-USA champion Marshall Thundering Herd in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl 5 p.m. Dec. 23 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Seems like a good way to start the Christmas festivities. Name the other two bowl games featuring conference champions.

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