According to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, Northern Illinois has qualified for an automatic spot in the BCS and will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1.
BREAKING: Northern Illinois vs Florida State is official in the Orange Bowl, according to a source.— Pete Thamel(@SIPeteThamel) December 2, 2012
If accurate, this news means that Louisville is almost certainly headed to New Orleans, where it will face Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.
Sugar bowl it is— Nate Nord (@Nordo85) December 2, 2012
There are no other no other bowl games on Jan. 2, which means Louisville would have the entire national spotlight on it for a game against an SEC opponent which figures to be ranked either No. 3 or No. 4. In terms of opportunities for a program to take a giant leap forward, they don't get much bigger than that.
We'll find out for sure during the BCS Selection Show at 8:30.