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.

Goal To Go: Central Washington Edition – Idaho Football Four Things To Watch

Welcome to “And Goal To Go. A new series where I will give my 4 things to watch, know or expect for the Vandals upcoming game and a score prediction.

The mighty Vandals return home for their home opener. They will be facing D-II Central Washington under first year head coach Chris Fisk.

First Down & Goal

Central Washington is a question mark at the quarterback position. The Wildcats have a new head coach, a new quarterback coach in Kelly Bills and only one player back with any significant time. The quarterback position in Ellensburg consist of three returning player and three true freshman.  Nothing we’ve found says Central has named a starter, but they do have some guys who can play. My three projected quarterbacks we should expect to see are:

Most likely to Start: Branden Miles

He is a 6-foot-3 Transfer following Coach Bills from Weber State. He saw some time on Weber State’s back-to-back Big Sky Championship teams

Second-most snaps: Tai-John Mizutani

Mizutani hails from Honolulu. He is fourth all-time on the islands for passing yards in a career and a game. Yes, that same state which has produced QBs like Marcus Mariota, Tua & Taulia Tagovailoa and Milton McKenzie.

The other guy: Christian Moore

The returning 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore had 10 appearance last year for the Wildcats as the backup.

Second Down & Goal

Is our revamped secondary as bad as it looked vs Penn State, or were we just playing a top 15 FBS team that is just that good? We have one of the Big Sky’s leading pass defenders in senior Llyod Hightower, a Cotton Bowl contributing transfer Davontae Ginwright from Western Michigan, and Tyrese Dedmond has another year of experience. One of our last Potato bowl contributors in senior Sedrick Thomas. Plus, added depth in junior college signee Satchel Escalante. As I mentioned in first down, they are facing a rather inexperienced group of QBs from a D-II school. We should see improvement from the Vandals here.

Third Down & Goal

We hope our secondary is revamped and that our defensive line is reloaded. We have had so many great defensive linemen in past few seasons such as Maxx Forde, Benson Mayowa, Aikeem Coleman, Quinton Bradley, DJ Henderson and so on. Kayode Rufai and gang looked good against Penn State early. Then, well, they never got off the field. This game should help build some momentum as Kayode, Kim, Akanno and both of the Elliss’ should live in the backfield against this inferior offensive line.

Fourth down & Goal

A quarterback competition. We’ve kept hearing about a competition at the spot going all the way back to last season. But, the snap tallies tell a very different story. Mason Petrino had 275 more pass attempts than Colton Richardson last season. Richardson battled injuries, to be fair, but even before the injury it was obvious who was going to be taking more snaps. We also learned Mason had a separated shoulder all season which makes you wonder why he was even playing. Mason threw the ball 17 times last week, more than Richardson’s nine attempts. Let’s just please make this an actual competition and give both QBs a fair shake and see who comes out on top.

Touchdown!

Chris: Idaho 54 Central Washington 6

TJ: Idaho 27 Central Washington 17

Brian: Idaho 42 Central Washington 28

Sean: Idaho 41 Central Washington 17

Marten: Idaho 49 Central Washington 13