clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Which College Football Playoff Team Is Your Sun Belt Team? Idaho Is Florida State

New, 2 comments

We continue our series by looking at one of the Sun Belt's least successful teams in recent history. Which CFP team most closely resembles the Idaho Vandals?

Todd Bennett/Getty Images

There was a time very recently when the Idaho Vandals were independents. Really: in between a stint with the WAC and a return to the Sun Belt, Idaho stood alone.

Is that relevant to this exercise? Not entirely, though it may be better than pointing out that when I recruited writers for this series, a prospective writer explained that the Vandals needed to keep quiet and let the grown-ups handle things.

ANYWAY! ... Here are at least five reasons why Idaho is just like the Florida State Seminoles.

What's In A Name?

Let's hand this one over to Wikipedia; take it away, Internet.

The Seminole are a Native American tribe originally from Florida. [...] The word Seminole is a corruption of cimarron, a Spanish term for "runaway" or "wild one."

Doesn't a fight song seem appropriate considering this definition?

As for Vandals?

The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe, or group of tribes, who were first heard of in Poland [...]. [M]odern historians tend to regard the Vandals during the transitional period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages as perpetrators, not destroyers, of Roman culture.

Yep, it's time for another fight song.

Moscow is Tallahassee

...In the sense that both are college towns. Yes, there is the matter that with over 100 sq. miles and 181,376 inhabitants (as of 2010) Tallahassee towers over tiny Moscow, which has a population of 23,800 in an area of just 6.85 sq. miles.

But hey, a college town is a college town is a college town, regardless of its size.

A History With Realignment

This one is rather straightforward. In their relatively long history, the Seminoles have been 1) independent in 1947, 2) in the Dixie Conference from 1948-1950, 3) independent again from 1951-1991 and 4) in the ACC since 1992. In their much longer history, the Vandals have been in 1) the Pacific Coast from 1922-1958, 2) independent from 1959-1962, 3) the Big Sky conference from 1963-1995, 4) in the Sun Belt from 2001-2004, 5) in the WAC from 2005-2012, 6) independent in 2013 and 7) again in the Sun Belt starting this past season.

Why Run When You Can Pass?

During the 2014 season, both the Vandals and the Seminoles employed a similar game plan that relied on passing, at least in part because of a futility on the ground. For the season, Idaho finished with the 96th "best" rushing attack, only slightly edging Florida State's own mediocre unit that finished at No. 98.

Both team were much better on the ground, the Vandals finishing at No. 31 and relatively far behind the Seminoles' excellent and 14th best group.

Win Or Lose, Turn The Ball Over

The Vandals and Seminoles also shared a propensity for turning the ball over, ranking respectively 117th and 127th in the FBS for turnovers lost in the 2014 season. Too often in the past season, if they could turn the ball over, it seemed like they would.

Florida State, and especially Jameis Winston, lost the ball on offense so many times that by the end of the regular season they probably felt like it had tested their mettle and forced them to overcome adversity... until it all came crashing down in spectacular fashion. (Hi, #FSUTwitter.)

And this one too.

In Moscow however, the turnovers paved the road to a sad 1-10 record: very clearly, the Vandals could not overcome poor decisions and bad luck, although there is one game when they almost pulled it off. Head coach Paul Petrino is likely still ruing this 44-28 loss against the Arkansas State Red Wolves in which the offense committed all the turnovers in the world. (Okay, okay, it was only eight of them but eight of anything is plenty.)

Really, maybe the Vandals should instead be compared to a CFL franchise. Its little tiny Kibbie Dome would fit right in the CFL with its 16,000 seats for one thing. And hey, the official Idaho Vandals football Wikipedia page has a section labeled "CFL" to identify former proud Vandals players who went on to bigger and better things in the Canadian league.

But hey, I can only work within the parameters of this series.

What do you think, Idaho Vandals fans? (Dis)Agree with us? Let us know in the poll and the comments below. Read the rest of this series here.