Is this the best football team ever at NIU?


Harnish and another NIU teammate celebrates a touchdown in a game earlier this season.

By Chris Dertz

Is this the best football team ever at NIU?

I pose the question as the Huskies, after a 59-21 dismantling of Ball State, have outscored their last two opponents 124-51. They have won eight straight games, the team’s longest winning streak since 1965, when the team finished a perfect 9-0.

There is no unranked team in the nation that’s garnered more votes in both the AP and USA Today Coach’s polls.

But this year’s Huskies aren’t the best in school history.

The very notion of asking this question feels a little ridiculous, but it’s one that must be asked.

Even if this team can win out and end the season 12-2 overall, the Huskies still shouldn’t be considered the greatest team NIU’s had.

It’s through no fault of their own, though. Two non-conference losses aside, the Huskies have handled every team on their schedule, often handily. But it’s a product of that schedule that will have history looking on this team as less than the best.

There’s no getting around the fact that the MAC is weaker now than it was in 2003, which is when the Huskies last had a season of this caliber.

That 2003 team didn’t win the MAC, due to a late-season loss to Toledo, but had signature wins against then No. 15 Maryland to open the season, and also beat No. 21 Alabama on the road and Iowa State at home to put NIU on the national radar early on in the season.

In 1983, the last time that NIU won the MAC, the Huskies went 10-2, won their first major bowl appearance over Cal State Fullerton, and saw seven players drafted into the NFL from a roster featuring eight All-Americans.

Another team that most NIU fans might not be aware of is the 1963 team that went an undefeated 10-0. The 1963 Huskies won the IIAC and routinely blew out their opponents on the arm of arguably NIU’s greatest quarterback, George Bork.

Bork, the first collegiate quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season, guided NIU to the title of national champion.

So no, the 2010-2011 Huskies will not go down as the best team in Huskie history.

But they are close, there is no doubting that.