Jordan Lynch and his Northern Illinois Huskies had the big stage all to themselves on Friday night.
The MAC Championship game was televised nationally on ESPN2, all the marquee conference title showdowns are scheduled for Saturday and there was serious Heisman buzz around the star signal-caller. That a trip to a BCS bowl was all but assured if the Huskies beat Bowling Green makes the outcome even more difficult to swallow for Northern Illinois.
Bowling Green dismantled Lynch and the Huskies on both sides of the ball, winning to the tune of 47-27. It was Northern Illinois’ first loss of the year and will prevent it from qualifying for a BCS bowl game for the second season in a row.
Frankly speaking, it also cost Lynch his outside chance at the Heisman Trophy. He finished the game with two interceptions, which will undoubtedly leave a bad taste in the mouths of voters who may not have seen Lynch for the entire season.
Before the loss, Lynch had more momentum than anyone this side of Jameis Winston in the race for college football’s most famous award. He was in second place in the most recent USA Today Heisman Survey behind only Winston and had a sizable lead over AJ McCarron, Braxton Miller and Andre Williams.
In a similar exercise, Lynch also ranked second in the most recent Heisman Watch on ESPN behind Winston. Williams, McCarron and Ka’Deem Carey rounded out the top five, with Miller right on the fringe.
Lynch was receiving so much love in the Heisman discussion largely because Northern Illinois was undefeated and counted wins against Iowa and Purdue to its resume. In fact, those two Big Ten victories were more than Northwestern and Purdue tallied on the season combined.
Much like a one-loss team that doesn’t win the MAC immediately falls out of discussion for a BCS slot, losing to Bowling Green virtually eliminates all the momentum Lynch had going into the MAC championship game when it comes to the Heisman. There are a number of contenders who were nipping at Lynch’s heels before this blowout loss who now have opportunities to make statements on the national stage themselves.
Miller is playing in the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State and has a chance to reach the national title contest, while Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville knocked off Cincinnati on Thursday night with a handful of incredible plays down the stretch. Furthermore, overwhelming favorite Winston should pick apart Duke’s secondary in the ACC title game.
The question now becomes, will Lynch even earn an invitation to New York, because winning the award simply isn’t going to happen.
The guess here is no.
Follow and interact with Bleacher Report writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.
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