This post originally appeared in December of 2009, but I absolutely had to revise it for the 2013 Orange Bowl...
When I was a student at Northern Illinois University, our football team had the distinction of being the very worst among Division I schools. To give you an idea of how bad we were, the students rushed the field and tore down the goal posts when we won a game. Not Homecoming. Not against a rival. Just a regular game that snapped our 80 million game losing streak. The next Monday, the gameday results were featured in a two page wraparound of the student newspaper.
The team steadily improved, but even after I graduated, my friends and I could casually roll up to Huskie Stadium on Homecoming morning and easily grab a primo tailgating spot just a few yards from the stadium. And then, things changed. We started winning more games, sometimes even against "good" teams like Alabama and Maryland. Sportscasters began to take notice. Alumni donated money. New buildings popped up around campus. And the tailgating area next to the stadium turned into a top-tier donor lot.
This brings me to January 1st, 2013. NIU is playing in the Orange Bowl. I don't care what the angry tangerine-hued man on ESPN says. I am beyond excited, and I know my fellow alumni are, too.
If you're not going to the Orange Bowl itself (which, le sniff, I am not), or a sponsored watch party, the next best thing is hosting an Orange Bowl party at home. Take inspiration from the Cuban cuisine of Miami, along with some tropical touches. Some ideas to get you started:
(Hello to my 'Nole friends. My love for you will return on January 2nd.)