Replacement Ideas For Week 1 & 3

What does this season hold for Idaho?

The news that the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) and PAC-12 are going to conference only schedule for fall 2020 means Vandal football has an open date week 1 and week 3. For now, Idaho expects to play in the fall and the Big Sky has not ruled itself into conference only schedules. The way the current schedules looks you would not know it. Idaho’s lone non-conference opponent is week 2 at Temple.  With a bye week in week 4 and conference play for us starting week 5 (October 3rd) at UC Davis. Even if you are lucky enough to be part of the planned 5100 in attendance, you will not see the team in Moscow until October 10th against Portland State for Homecoming. We would then play 3 of our next 4 games in Moscow. Before ending the season on a two game road trip.

Football as a whole is up in the air. Does not mean I cannot play mad scientist with our schedule again. I would like to try and just replace the games we are missing in week 1 and 3. Not completely redo the schedule, just plug and play type of solution.

Week 1 Options

Northern Arizona 

It is already going to be an unorthodox season. Why not start it out the same way? Have Northern Arizona (NAU) come to the Kibbie dome twice, week 1 (September 5th) and week 9 (October 31st). NAU originally scheduled to travel to Arizona State before the PAC-12 announced it was going conference only. They were already going on the road. If the Big Sky does not move or cancel football this fall, then Northern Arizona appears to be a school willing to play. The same cannot be said for the California Schools.

At Utah State

Utah State was also hung out to dry like us with Washington State and the PAC 12 decision to not play out of conference. We could renew an old Big West, Sunbelt and WAC rivalry with the ole blue Aggies from the state of Utah. This game was always one of the more fun games on our schedule in the late 90s through the early 2010s. Bring it back. This is type of FBS program we should be scheduling anyways. No better time than now to get them back on the schedule.

At Colorado State

The PAC 12 strikes again. This time in the form of the “Rocky Mountain Showdown”. With week 1 open and a bit of a fun history against Idaho 2009, 2010 and 2016 all being instant classics. This would not be the worst game to schedule. In fact quite the opposite.

At Montana

Instead of paying a school a small fee to come to us. Why not collect a little bit of money to go to Montana. Montana also lost their GNAC opponent week 1, creating an opening. Idaho leads the all-time series 55-29-2. I’m sure Montana wouldn’t mind a chance to knock the series total two closer in their favor in one season. While Idaho wouldn’t mind two chances at getting the Little Brown Stein back or extending the lead by two games.

North Dakota State

I mean it is open for both of us. They were already going to travel to Oregon. Why not host the Bison in Moscow? I mean, there is a ton of reasons. It still would be pretty cool and sure would make those 5100 seats more appealing.

Northern Iowa

Had some classics with these cats in the 90s. They no longer play Iowa, they could play Idaho?

Week 3 Options

At Utah State

Washington Huskies are out. Plug Idaho in. For all the same reasons mention in week 1 explanation. Assuming we didn’t schedule them week 1.

At Air Force

No longer traveling to Purdue. Maybe they would like to host Idaho? We have almost no recent history with this team. But may be fun to start some. Plus with our defense, this could be a game.

At Wyoming

The Utes are no longer on their way Laramie. I know I would like another shot at the Cowboys after last year. Where our upset slipped through our finger tips.

At North Dakota State

NC A&T is out of the picture in week 3 for NDSU. Even if Idaho plays them week 1, a little home and home would most likely benefit both schools. They both miss a PAC 12 payday. Both could save money by not having to pay another school to come. In terms of win, loss record not a strong idea for Idaho. In terms of turning this 2020 schedule into something and having a reliable opponent that has same likelihood of playing as you do, is somewhat unmeasurable in terms of importance this year. Better be quick, best believe James Madison has already made a call.

South Dakota State

Nebraska Out. The Big Ten is doing to the Missouri Valley what the PAC 12 did to the Mountain West and Big Sky. This would give us an opportunity to host week 3 if we went on the road in week 1. I imagine the money may not be there though. This option seems a tad unlikely.

At Portland State / Home vs Portland State

Oregon State is out. Play Idaho twice in 3 weeks? Once in Portland/Hillsboro week 3 and again in week 5 in Moscow. If Idaho is unable to get NDSU or NAU to come to the Kibbie Dome week 1, see if Portland State is willing to travel to Moscow twice. 

Conclusion

The way the season is going it is probably best to hold off on scheduling anyone new. As the college football landscape seems to change daily. More teams may fall off our schedule, more may become available or perhaps even we fall off other teams schedule. I just wanted to have some fun with it.

The right pairing would be important. Are we looking for a fun schedule, a winnable schedule, a fiscally conservative schedule or a mix? I know my dream schedule would be NDSU home and away. The best case schedule would be Week 1: Northern Iowa, Week 3 at Utah State. The safest to stay on the books would be Week 1: Northern Arizona, Week 3 at Portland State, which doubles as our most likely to make the FCS Playoffs if they happen.

Though none of these are likely, I hope this at least made a little bit of that preseason excitement take hold of you for a little bit.

Spicy 19-20 Root Sports Line Up for Idaho

All things considered, one of the best parts of “Moving Foward” to the Big Sky Conference is the opportunity to be featured on Seattle-based broadcaster Root Sports Northwest — We were featured three times last season: at Montana State, at Eastern Washington and vs. Montana. We get thee more this season, all of them against rivals, adding a little extra habanero Tabasco to the equation.

Idaho kicks off Root Sports Big Sky coverage September 21 at home in an out-of-conference match up of The Red Scare Rivalry (TM Tubs at the Club) game against Eastern.

The Vandals then wait nearly a month to be back on Root Sports. To play another rivalry on our schedule; The Idaho Central Credit Union Battle of the Domes on October 19 at home in the Kibbles & Bits Dome. Idaho will hope to reverse the score of last year’s unacceptable ASS-WHOOPING at the hands of the Bengals in the Minnie Dome. Idaho State only gets to play on Root Sports twice this year, once against us and once against Montana. Both on the road. Ouch.

We wrap up our Root Sports NW season of games in Missoula for The Battle of The Little Brown Stein on November 9. The Vandals have a bad record recently against the Griz, but this should be a fun one in Montana as it is our first time back to Missoula since 2003. And, if you happen to really hate the Grizzlies Well then pick a cable provider without Root. The Griz will lead the conference with six games on Root. The Big Sky really lets their favorites show in their picks for games with Montana, Idaho and Eastern leading the way in face of the conference.

That’s way it should be.

In case you have not caught on to the trend, all of these games will be revenge games. If you needed a reminder that last year was bad, we lost to every geographical rival (Montana, Montana Junior, University of Idaho Southern Branch & South Spokane Commuters Tech).

It’ll be easy to see us pay back the favor, thanks to Root.

2019 Root Appearances Per School

6 – Montana

3 – Idaho & Eastern Washington

2 – Idaho State & Montana State

1 – UC Davis, Northern Colorado, Weber State & Southern Utah

Ultimate losers w/ 0- Northern Arizona, Cal Poly, Sac State, Portland State.

2019 ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Football Television Schedule

Sept. 21 — Eastern Washington at Idaho
Sept. 28 — Montana at UC Davis
Oct. 5 — Idaho State at Montana
Oct. 12 — Northern Colorado at Eastern Washington
Oct. 19 — Idaho State at Idaho
Oct. 26 — Eastern Washington at Montana
Nov. 2 — Southern Utah at Montana State
Nov. 9 — Idaho at Montana
Nov. 16 — Weber State at Montana
Nov. 23 — Montana at Montana State

@Christopher_P_Hammond