There is crying in football. There is absolutely crying in football.
Quinton Bradley’s tears told their own story last November when he walked off the field a winner after his final play as a Vandal. Bradley put Texas State quarterback Tyler Jones on his ass, then watched as the ball sailed into Russell Siavii’s arms to clinch Idaho’s fourth win of the year.
A fourth win was enough to elicit tears. Recruited to a school with 13 wins over two seasons, Bradley saw only five wins in his first four seasons on campus which included a coaching change and three straight 1-11 seasons during his playing years.
Bradley cried for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which was all the shit he’s gone through as a player at Idaho. He earned it.
What about you? Would you cry if Idaho lifted its third bowl championship trophy this December?
I probably would. I’d cry while standing on a chair at the Corner Club throwing my Rainier all over the place. Or when I’m at home lifting my cat like Simba because I’m delirious and wouldn’t know how the fuck else to react. Or, maybe, I might even be at the game itself, choking out the words to the fight song with the boys on the team.
At this moment, I don’t care where you stand on the FBS/FCS issue. At this moment, your opinion doesn’t matter. At this moment, my opinion doesn’t matter.
A majority of the kids who will take the field on Thursday won’t even be here when the transition happens. And the rest of them aren’t concerned with it right now.
This team right now is poised to do what was envisioned when we joined the Sun Belt two years ago.
The University of Idaho football team is going to a bowl game in the 2016 season.
The magic number to do this? Six.
There are no good reasons why Idaho can’t attain six wins this season.
The team returns a majority of offensive starters from an offense Bill Connelly rated as the 21st most efficient unit in the country.
Remember when we were excruciatingly close last season? Idaho would have been guaranteed one of the 80 bowl slots last season, as one of the only 78 bowl eligible teams in the country, had it not blown back-to-back three-possession leads at New Mexico State and South Alabama.
Neither New Mexico State or South Alabama went to a bowl game last season.
The schedule works out favorably.
Idaho opens against Montana State. The ‘Cats went 5-6 last season and lost their starting quarterback to Oregon.
After Idaho banks seven figures to get thrashed by Washington and Washington State, we’ll travel to UNLV to play a Rebels team which went 3-9 last season and lost six of its last seven games to close out Mountain West play.
And then here’s how Sun Belt play shakes out.
Vs. Troy (4-8), At Louisiana-Monroe (2-11), Vs. New Mexico State (3-9), At App. State (11-2), At Louisiana-Lafayette (4-8), At Texas State (3-9), Vs. South Alabama (5-7), Vs. Georgia State (6-7)
Idaho went 3-3 against the six Belt schools it played last year, including blowing three-possession leads to NMSU and USA. The Vandals swap out Georgia Southern and Arkansas State, the last two conference champs, for Louisiana-Lafayette and a Georgia State squad dealing with losing its starting quarterback.
To be fair, the rest of the conference thinks we suck and are all circling us as a win. Let them think that! Not all of them will beat us, this is something we can be fairly certain of.
Here is how the schedule breaks down per Bill Connelly’s S&P+ projections.
Idaho has an over 50 percent chance of victory in six games. Of the six Idaho isn’t given at least a 50 percent chance, Idaho is given at least a 40 percent chance in three. At UNLV (45 percent), at Texas State (49 percent) and at Lafayette (40 percent).
Basically, there are nine games on Idaho’s schedule which nobody should be surprised to see Idaho win. And that’s with two games against Pac-12 foes and an 11-2 Sun Belt title contender on the schedule.
The game at UNLV is honestly the most important game of the season. The difference between having to go 5-3 in conference play and 4-4 in conference play may be massive. The three-in-a-row stretch at Appalachian State, Lafayette and Texas State could be brutal. Georgia State could be great offensively once again. It could become a grind.
Don’t worry, though. We’re good. So get your check books ready, it’s time to make a deposit for bowl tickets.
You have to make deposits, right? I actually have no idea how bowl ticketing works. I’ve never been to one.
Here are your potential destinations.
New Orleans (R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl)
Do you like awkward situations? Do you think they have the potential to be hilarious? I’m an awkward dude myself.
Idaho would play at the Louisiana Superdome should it, somehow, finish near the top fo the Sun Belt and get picked to head to Nawlins. Coincidentally, that’s where the Sun Belt Conference headquarters are located!
Mobile, Alabama (Dollar General Bowl)
You probably know this as the GoDaddy.com Bowl, which is the company probably more well known for Danica Patrick then, you know, hosting web domains.
Fun fact: Gucci Mane is from Mobile.
Montgomery, Alabama (Raycom Media Camellia Bowl)
A more likely destination for Idaho! The Camellia Bowl is going on its third year and would pit Idaho against a MAC team. (Bowling Green, anybody?)
Montgomery was at the heart of the Civil Rights movement in the 60’s and would be a culturally fulfilling destination for fans and players alike.
Orlando (AutoNation Cure Bowl vs. American)
Let’s just hope this goes better than the last time Idaho went to Florida.
Tucson (NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl)
Let’s just hope this goes better than the last time Idaho went to Arizona.