Vandal Football has its work cut out in 2012 — here’s how it’s going to break down
Vs. Eastern Washington
Sure, the Eagles are an FCS program that missed the playoffs last year. Sure, the Eagles lost award-winning quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. But ask the Washington Huskies how scary it was when they took EWU lightly. UW barely came out of a 30-27 affair with their in-state rivals.
Bowling Green (Bowling Green, Ohio)
If you include the Humanitarian Bowl, this is the rubber match of the mini-rivalry between the two programs. Last year the Falcons burned Idaho repeatedly with the deep ball. Can the defense hold serve this time around?
LSU(Baton Rouge, La.)
They call it “Death Valley” for a reason. The ultimate hope here is that Idaho can get out of town without any casualties.
Don’t let these Cowboys fool you, this is a very solid Mountain West program under Dave Christiansen. In fact, it’d be surprising if the Vandals were favored in this one.
North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
The Vandals were able to go into ACC country last year and nearly pull the upset. Not out of the realm of possibility against a mediocre at best Tar Heel team either, under first-year head coach Larry Fedora.
Vs. New Mexico State
Homecoming weekend will be a very special occasion for Idaho, as it hosts the Aggies in what should be dubbed “The Orphan Bowl.” Both programs will be without a conference home next season. Idaho should probably win this game.
Texas State (San Marcos, Texas)
It will be the Bobcat’s first full season at the FBS level, so it’s hard to predict what the team will look like now. Although we should have a good idea by the time this game kicks off. It’ll probably be Idaho’s most winnable road game.
La. Tech (Ruston, La.)
Without a doubt, Sonny Dykes and his Bulldogs are the favorite to win the WAC in dominating fashion. The Bulldogs will score points in bunches, Idaho will need to keep up to even have a shot at the upset.
Vs. San Jose State
The Spartans were the only FBS team that Idaho beat last year, having to do so in come from behind fashion in San Jose last year. This year, the Vandals get the Spartans at home during Dad’s Weekend, and have a great shot at giving Vandal dads a victory.
BYU (Provo, Utah)
The Cougars are paying Idaho $0.5 million to visit Provo and presumably get drubbed. Last year’s game wasn’t pretty, with Idaho’s only fireworks coming from an 82-yard touchdown run from Princeton McCarty. This year’s game doesn’t figure to be much different.
Vs. Texas-San Antonio
The Roadrunners are not only in their first year as an FBS program, but only their second year of existence period. Texas-San Antonio will be a little more optimistic as the man pulling the strings is former Miami National Champion, Larry Coker. Still, these Roadrunners are a work in progress. The Vandals should be able to send their seniors out with a win in the home finale.
Utah State (Logan, Utah)
The Vandals dropped a double-overtime heartbreaker to the Aggies last season in the Kibbie Dome. Now the Aggies are breaking our hearts again by leaving the conference altogether. Can the Vandals hand the Aggies a loss as a parting gift? The road upset could be the difference between the Vandals bowling, or staying home for the third consecutive winter.
Sean Kramer can be reached at email@example.com