The Idaho Vandals are set to take the unprecedented leap down to the FCS in 2018, but with one year of FBS football remaining, it still gives us one more chance to preview the Vandals non-conference schedule from an FBS viewpoint.
So, without further ado, here is Underdog Dynasty’s preview of the Idaho Vandals non-conference schedule for 2017:
Sacramento State Hornets
Thursday, August 31st; Kibbie Dome, Moscow, Idaho
The first opponent for the Vandals in 2017 will be the Sacramento State Hornets. This is an interesting game because the Hornets are from the Big Sky conference - Idaho’s soon to be new home - and depending on what happens in the game, could be the start of an interesting conference rivalry between the two teams. I look for Matt Linehan to come out firing in his senior season and lead the Vandals to an interesting victory.
Saturday, September 9th; Kibbie Dome, Moscow, Idaho
Next up for the Vandals is a regional opponent in UNLV, who will be looking for revenge after last year’s game, which resulted in the Vandals upsetting the Rebels 33-30 in overtime. In that game, Callen Hightower caught a touchdown pass to secure the victory for the Vandals, and while he won’t be back this year I still look for Linehan and Duckworth to be up for the challenge and come away with a second straight close victory over the Rebels to go to 2-0 to start the 2017 season.
Western Michigan Broncos
Saturday, September 16th; Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Here is where the schedule starts to get tricky for the Vandals. Week Three gives the Vandals a date with the Western Michigan Broncos in Kalamazoo. The Broncos are coming off a 13-1 season, and will be returning for their home opener after starting the season with back to back road games at USC and Michigan State.
The Broncos will be motivated and ready to make a statement. Even without P.J. Fleck, you can forget about this one. Idaho will be outmatched in every facet of this game. I say the Broncos will buck the Vandals and send Idaho back to Moscow with a loss, making them 2-1 on the season.
Saturday, October 21st; Faurot Field, Columbia, Missouri
After a four week break from non-conference games, the Vandals will take a trip to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers of the SEC. Even though the Tigers are coming off a four-win season last year, it shouldn’t give any Vandal fan too much optimism as that squad beat a seven-win Eastern Michigan team (with talent comparable to the Vandals) 61-21. Add in the fact that this is the Tigers’ homecoming game, and we could be looking at a blowout. Look for the Vandals to be 2-2 through their last FBS non-conference schedule.
Do you agree with the predictions? Have anything you’d like to add? Leave a comment in the comments section and let’s talk Vandals football! Go Vandals!