College Football: NIU Huskies open 2012 season at Soldier Field Sept. 1

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

The Northern Illinois University (NIU) Huskies hold the longest winning streak in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision). They won their final nine games of the 2011 season, including the Mid-American Conference Championship and Bowl. That record will be on the line when they open up their 2012 season Saturday, Sept. 1, with a non-conference game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The Huskies were recently picked to finish second in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference. This is the second year in a row members of the media representing league markets in the MAC have picked the Huskies to be the runner-up. The MAC media members have picked the University of Toledo as the pre-season favorite in the West. The Huskies will have a showdown with Toledo in DeKalb Wednesday night, Nov. 14.

Toledo garnered seven first-place votes from the 17 poll voters to outdistance Northern by four points, 87-83. The Huskies, who earned five first-place votes, were followed closely by Western Michigan, who collected 79 points and four first-place votes. Ball State (42 points), Eastern Michigan (34) and Central Michigan (32) rounded out the West voting.

The Ohio Bobcats are the favorites in the East Division. The Bobcats dropped a 23-20 decision to the Huskies in the MAC Championship game a year ago, and are picked to win the overall title in 2012, and the Bobcats earned all 17 first-place votes in the East Division. Ohio was followed by Bowling Green (91 points), Miami (84) and Kent State (76).

Five voters picked Ohio to win the Marathon MAC Championship game while Toledo was picked by three voters and NIU, WMU and Central Michigan each earned one vote.

Northern Illinois 2012 football season tickets are on sale through the NIU Athletics External Office at (815) 753-1923 or online at

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Aug. 1-7, 2012, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!