Gazzolo: This is what happens when you think you are bigger than you are

By By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Usually you get what you deserve, and most of the time you deserve what you get.

Louisiana Tech is the perfect example of this, as is Northern Illinois.

Both are part of the big story for the bowl season. They came about their places from totally different angles.

Northern Illinois became the true Cinderella story, learning Sunday that dreams can come true. The Huskies will play Florida

State in the Orange Bowl.

NIU deserves the honor after years of playing all comers when asked and putting a spotlight on a program that has been trying

for the better part of a decade to rub elbows with the big boys.

This feels more like a life-time achievement award, but I think they will put up a better showing than Clemson did when it

got torched by West Virginia for 70 last year.

Be careful what you wish for, Huskie fans, this glass slipper is likely to lead to corns on your feet. But hey, at least you

are playing in a bowl game, and a big one at that.

All the Louisiana Tech players will be

home for the holidays. For that, they have nobody to blame but their own

school officials.

For most of the season it looked like

the Bulldogs would be the ones to break through that BCS bubble. They

were 9-1 and climbing

up the polls. Then, the rug was pulled out from under their feet.

The fall proved to be fast and painful.

Compared to Northern Illinois, Louisiana Tech became one of the ugly stepsisters.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the dumbest team of all?

It’s Louisiana Tech that’s who.

Tech had an offer to play Louisiana-Monroe in what would have been a pretty fun neighborhood battle in the Independence Bowl

in Shreveport. Local teams, local flavor, sounds pretty good.

Sure beats basketball season.

But Tech officials were hoping for a bigger bowl to come calling. That never happened.

The 9-3 Bulldogs will be at home while teams with far worse records will be playing on national television. Hope they won’t

be waiting by the phone.

This is what happens when you think you are bigger than you actually are.

It’s true, Louisiana Tech had a better season then most. And yes, they are a very exciting team to watch. But at the end of

the day, they are still Louisiana Tech.

They even tried to hide their mistake, first claiming they were never invited to any bowl game then admitting they thought

they had more time to make their choice.

How shocked Tech folks be that a bowl game didn’t wait around to become the Bulldogs fall-back plan.

This did not go over well with at least one Tech alum.

“I am heartbroken and embarrassed that our university would do this to Tech Nation,” basketball star and former Bulldog Karl

Malone tweeted. “To our football and staff this is exactly what is wrong with our university.

Then, “Whoever made this decision have the (guts) to tell the guys why. As one alumni of La. Tech I want to know why.”

The answer seems simple. Tech has believed it is better then all other state schools but LSU. Therefore, it never wants to

share a field with Monroe.

And you thought the Hatfields and McCoys had a feud.

At least nobody got killed in this one, just a football program taking a big hit.


Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at