PODCAST: Championship Week Rewind -- Don't blame Northern Illinois

We celebrate Cinderella teams in college basketball, so why hate Northern Illinois for crashing the BCS? (US Presswire)

Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) joins me for the last regular-season rewind podcast of 2012. Before diving into a weekend of conference championships that delivered everything from double-overtime MAC thrillers to an old-fashioned Wisconsin #BEATEMDOWN(™), Tom and I tackle the debate topic du jour: Northern Illinois' Orange Bowl bid. I won't spoil the podcast for you, but if you're looking for two guys to scream about they "don't belong," you should probably look elsewhere. We celebrate Cinderella teams in college basketball, so why ridicule them in college football?

Tom was on the scene in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game, while I was in Charlotte for Florida State's first ACC championship since 2005. While some might be upset that a five-loss team is in the Rose Bowl, we argue that the Badgers team that showed up on Saturday could have given Penn State or Ohio State a fight and are deserving if they show up again in Pasadena.

We wrap with the SEC Championship Game: an instant classic that propelled Alabama to the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame. We discuss what we learned (or remembered) about the Tide and give our gut reactions to their title-game matchup against the Irish.

In a hurry? Check the contents below for specific topics.

0:00 -- A sad farewell to a regular season that ended too quickly;
2:00 -- Quick rundown of BCS bowl lineup, followed by our extended take on the Northern Illinois "drama;"
8:40 -- Reviewing the action from champion week;
10:15 -- Tom reflects on his trip to Indy and the bruising beatdown issued by Wisconsin;
16:00 -- Breaking down Florida State's big-picture success, clinched in an odd title game;
17:30 -- Why Northern Illinois can compete against not only Florida State but other conference champions;
20:30 -- Wrapping up the Big 12 regular season and a hat tip to Kansas State's impressive run with Collin Klein;
25:30 -- Alabama renewed our faith in the bruising offensive juggernaut in their SEC title game win;
28:00 -- Alabama's 2012 campaign has helped us appreciate how good the 2011 unit was;
30:00 -- Super-early thoughts on the Notre Dame-Alabama BCS title game.

Got questions you want answered on a future podcast? Let me know on Twitter (@cnpatterson3) or send them to podcast@cbsinteractive.com. Feedback -- both love and hate -- is encouraged as well.

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CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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