Selfishly, I was besides myself excited when it was officially announced Idaho would be bumped into the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
And we have a hurricane in Florida to thank for it.
You see, Hurricane Matthew postponed LSU at Florida, rescheduling the game for Baton Rouge and bumping South Alabama off the Tigers’ schedule. Without it, the Jaguars would have been trashed by the SEC power and finished 5-7. Instead, South Alabama was granted a waiver to count two FCS wins toward its bowl eligibility. They finished 6-6, and are now going to play in the game Idaho was projected to be in for months.
The Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl! Wooooooooooooooo.
This, paired with Lafayette somehow pulling out a win over Arkansas State to get to 6-6, means Idaho was not necessary for the Sun Belt to fill its five bowl obligations.
And this left ESPN, desperate to sell tickets to one of its least popular bowl games, clamoring for Idaho to participate in its backyard game. The Sun Belt obliged, and, here we are.
And I’m grateful for all of it.
Thanks to a handful of amazing supporters of my writing, I would have gone to the game regardless if it was Orlando or Tucson.
The game being in Boise means a much larger community of Vandals are going to this game.
Vandals who helped me learn what it means to be a Vandal – many of whom wouldn’t have had the time or means to make this trip, or have even struggled finding time to make it to Moscow for a game – are going to be able to celebrate this amazing season.
Make no mistake about it, Boise is a Vandal town. I don’t give a shit how much of that disgusting blue is around. The flagship university of this state stakes a claim in the capital of the state. Vandals are everywhere there and that will be proven on Dec. 22.
I do feel bad for the players, who will receive modest swag bags and will have to endure the heart of Idaho in its coldest month when there isn’t a lot to enjoy. But at the same time this will be one of the biggest opportunities of their career. It’ll be nationally televised. It will be the only game on that day. And, they’ll be able to be home with their families for the holidays, hopefully with a bowl championship in tow.
The Arizona Bowl will be streamed and would have had to been picked up by regional channels for family and friends to watch. The Cure Bowl is on CBS Sports Network, certainly not a mainstream channel for most television subscribers.
And we can do our part to make Boise worth it for the players. Because for us this is a December Homecoming. Almost every Vandal I know personally is planning on being there, and even Vandals I’ve only met digitally. I can hardly remember the last time I’ve been able to have that experience.
What’s beautiful about Moscow – how easy it is to meet people and the sense of community – is also what’s difficult about it. You move on when your time in Moscow is up. People spread all around the Pacific Northwest, the country and even the world.
The accomplishments of this football team – an eight-win season, a 6-2 conference record, three conference wins of 25 points or more – have allowed me a week-long opportunity to see people I haven’t seen in months to years and who love this university as much as I do.
A week of getting on chairs and belting out the words of the fight song. A week of downing cheap ass cans of Rainier and PBR. A week of my good friends giving me shit about the time I walked into the Corner Club decked out in Huskies gear and got yelled at by my editor in chief.
This is my first season as a fan, acting like a fan and basically doing fanboy shit, after spending my first five years in the Vandal community masquerading as a journalist. I wasn’t always good at being a Vandal, and I’m not sure it’d feel right to celebrate the end of a season that will mean a hell of a lot more to those who’ve been around for decades if they’re not there in the stands with me.
Tucson or Orlando would’ve been unique, amazing experiences. But I’d rather be Nasty and Inebriated with tens of thousands of Vandals, not just a few.
We’re going to Boise.