An Orange Bowl representative told a Northern Illinois staffer last weekend that Orange Bowl officials believed the school did not deserve to be in a BCS bowl and never wanted them to play Florida State in Tuesday night's game.
According to CBS Sports's Bruce Feldman, the two officials had a heated exchange in a hospitality suite.
“You guys [NIU] don't even deserve to be here,” the Orange Bowl rep said to the NIU staffer. “We didn't even want you here.”
Northern Illinois made the Orange Bowl even though they are a one-loss team from a non-automatically qualifying conference because they finished in the top-16 in the final BCS rankings and a champion (Louisville) from an automatically-qualifying conference (Big East) did not. Louisville finished 21st in the final BCS rankings.
Many college football analysts believe Northern Illinois did not deserve to play in a BCS bowl game over more deserving teams like Oklahoma.