I’m counting the days until kickoff. I haven’t been the Moscow in nearly nine months, and that’s just too much time for me to have been away.

Vandal football is giving me the perfect excuse to end that hiatus.

I’ll be around my Vandal family. I’ll be able to shove Grub Truck and Sweaty Teddys into my mouth. I finally won’t have to drink my beers in pint-sized portions like an animal. I’m getting that shit 32 ounces at a time.

I’ll be there for the season opener against Sacramento State and the banner unveiling for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl following the most successful season in Idaho’s FBS history.

Yet, something feels off. We all know what that feeling is. The internal battle inside of us between excitement for this program and the disappointment and distress at the inevitable death of our FBS foray in 2018.

In fact, how good Idaho is projected to be in 2017 just makes this feel worse. This has to happen now? Right when Paul Petrino has not only built a good football team, but a great and sustainable program from the recruiting aspect to the system on the football field?

Augh.

It sucks. It sucks all around. And no matter what it’s going to affect how I feel about this season.

Still, I’m going to be there for every game I can be, with season tickets in my hand, cheering on my Vandals. I’ll do it because the players on the field had nothing to do with the decision and they still deserve our support.

Listen, you think you’re upset about the drop to the Big Sky? Nobody is more upset about this than the coaches and players.

None of these kids who signed on in Petrino’s first few seasons came to North Idaho to play for the FCS playoffs. Most of them came because Idaho offered their only opportunity at FBS football and an opportunity to build a program from the ground up.

Few of these players want to see what could be back-to-back bowl winning seasons amount to a scholarship-budget slashing and a drop in level of competition.

They had no say in the situation, though many current and former players publicly opposed moving to the Big Sky.

You not attending games because you’re mad accomplishes little. The players are as mad as you are. They’re still playing football for Idaho. You can go watch.

Look, if you want to withhold donations that’s cool. The administration should understand the financial impact of the decision they’ve made.  If we’re talking about thousands of dollars per year of your money you’re throwing at the university, that’s your choice.

Withholding your money from the ticket office will barely make an impact.

Idaho projected 2016’s football ticket sales would be less than half of the nearly $1 Million the school received in 2011. This means football ticket sales barely account for five percent of the total athletic department revenue. You and a thousand of your buddies not buying tickets may make an annoying impact, but it won’t act as a deterrent. It’s something Idaho was certainly prepared to absorb.

I get it. It’s going to be a battle to care as much when it’s Southern Utah and UC Davis coming to the Kibbie Dome. I get the disappointment at the administration not even at least exploring independence.

Don’t take your disappointment out on these players.

It meant a lot to them wen we made that disgusting Boise stadium ours in December, battling temperatures so cold our beers became slushy after three sips. Still we showed up 25,000 strong.

It’ll mean a lot to them to see the Kibbie Dome have atmosphere in their final season as an FBS program.

And if you don’t feel like it? Here’s what you’re missing:

  • Matt Linehan becoming the all-time leading passer in the history of Idaho Vandal football with only ~ 2,100 yards remaining. He’ll pass Doug Nussmeier, Ken Hobart, Nathan Enderle and John Friesz. He’ll likely end top five all-time in touchdown passes and simply replicating each of the last two seasons could make him the most accurate Vandal quarterback of all time.
  • A defensive front seven with NFL prospects in Aikeem Coleman and Kaden Elliss. Tony Lashley, who was a part of Paul Petrino’s very first signing class at Idaho, is also getting a lot of preseason hype.
  • The best marching band in all the damn land.
  • A good fucking football team. Some of us were with this program during the worst years bridging Robb Akey’s last few teams to Petrino building this thing up. I’m not going to take this type of talent for granted.

Finally, you’re missing out on Moscow. Coming back to the University, the town and the community that gave you so much in life. There’s never a bad excuse to make your way to the Palouse for $4 tubs of Rainier and good people.

I’ll see you in Moscow.

 

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