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Idaho football ready to declare its independence

Christine Michael, Homer Mauga AP

The inevitable death of the WAC will leave two football members — Idaho and New Mexico State — to fend for themselves, and it appears as though Idaho is the first of the remaining pair to get its future conference configuration sorted out.

By not having one for football, that is.

Per the Idaho Statesman, the Idaho State Board of Education will hold a special meeting Friday to vote on a “request for authorization for independent scheduling of football games and for the President to explore and accept an invitation to the Big Sky Athletic conference.”

It’s certainly not the route Idaho was hoping to take, but the Mountain West has already suggested the program go to “Plan B.” 

Another possibility was that the Vandals would join the Big Sky in all sports, including football, meaning the program would drop down a tier. The Vandals participated in the Big Sky for over three decades from 1963-1996. To remain a football independent, though, Idaho must schedule five home games every year, four of which must be against FBS opponents. So far, Idaho has only Northern Illinois on the 2013 schedule as a home game.

That leaves New Mexico State to figure out what it will do for football, but there’s a good chance the Aggies will try a similar plan.

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10 Responses to “Idaho football ready to declare its independence”
  1. southernpatriots says: Aug 16, 2012 4:09 PM

    So many regular posters here on CFT were ahead of the curve. They predicted this kind of situation with teams throughout the U.S. as conference re-alignment came forth. Though it is inevitable, it is sad also. Many traditional rivalries and traditional team associations will possibly be forever eliminated.

    I wish the Vandals and Aggies the best as their conference implodes as I do the many other teams who are scrambling to try to find new conferences and associations to cash in on tv “cash cow” contracts/revenues.

  2. dmvtransplant says: Aug 16, 2012 6:10 PM

    @ southernpatriots

    Am I alone in thinking some schools will pay the Vandals a truck load of money for what equals an easy home win for the bigger program? Kind of like some teams do when they schedule Wake Forest or UNLV at home.

  3. coolhorn says: Aug 16, 2012 6:47 PM

    Idaho (and New Mexico State) can hang on as independents as long as they’re willing to be cannon fodder for several football big boys every year. It’s harder these days to make it as an independent, but if you’re willing to take the beatings, and concede that there’s no chance of getting to the playoff, you may not have to go down a class.

    I also feel sorry for the two. No team should get caught in a squeeze by its’ conference blowing up. However, college football today works by the first law of the jungle. The big ones eat the little ones. The WAC, unfortunately, got eaten alive by the Mountain West, which wasn’t willing to take everybody out of the WAC. Idaho, and probably New Mexico, don’t have any choice in the foreseeable future but to go independent, and take their beatings.

  4. southernpatriots says: Aug 16, 2012 6:51 PM


    I think you have it exactly correct. If they remain independent and can get their staff working hard to communicate with top tier schools everywhere (PAC, B1G, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and other major independents (Notre Dame, etc.) I think their future will be very bright financially and that could make a huge difference in their facilities, coaches, and recruits and future excellence.

    The FBS teams regionally receive up to $1 million and FCS teams $1.3 -$2 M and up.

    You have a great point. I sure hope the Vandals are pursuing this angle. It could mean big paydays every season.

  5. pdcooper08 says: Aug 16, 2012 9:46 PM

    I agree with the majority of the post here, but in the last scenario how would a coaching staff being able to go into homes and schools and sell there program to recruits. I mean if your any kind of player, who wants to play in that type of situation. It’s a tough sell already to go and play there.

    Idaho and NMST recruit primarily in the west coast and Texas and once the players have chosen there destination, theirs very few players left to pick from.

    I love Robb Akey and his energy, he is a solid coach and person, but come on, how can Idaho survey this type of situation.

    I still don’t think it’s a bad call to drop down to the Big Sky where you can compete and actually have a chance to win the conference, go to the playoffs and win a championship. Mosco Idaho is no joke.

  6. frug says: Aug 17, 2012 12:43 AM


    The problem isn’t getting teams to play them, it’s getting teams to play them at home. NCAA rules require that FBS teams play at least 5 home games, 4 of which must be against FBS opponents.

    Idaho is going to have a tough time convincing teams to play in Idaho since they will be assembling the schedule on short notice. don’t have the budget to “buy” other teams home games and are not a major draw.

  7. fcmlefty1 says: Aug 17, 2012 10:08 AM

    they will have to get very creative with 2 or 3 for 1’s, with the first game being the game at Idaho. I know Boise St doesn’t want to play up there anymore for a multitude of football and non-football reasons, but they might have to do thier in-state counterpart a solid in this case.

    Can NMSU and Idaho play each other 2x in the same season? 1 home game for each of them? Does that satisfy current scheduling rules?

  8. fatediesel says: Aug 17, 2012 11:28 AM

    They should just move down to FCS and rejoin the Big Sky for all sports. When they were in the Big Sky they were making the I-AA playoffs almost every year and I have to think it was more exciting for their fans to watch a good I-AA team over the team they’ve been since moving up in 1996, which has made 2 bowls (the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise both times).

  9. frug says: Aug 17, 2012 2:45 PM


    Yes, they can play each other more than once, and to be honest I expect they probably will.

    The problem with the unbalanced series is what happens when it comes time to pay the piper. If they start giving up future home games then they will make it even harder to meet their home game requirement in the future.

  10. playoff2012 says: Aug 18, 2012 7:55 PM

    Idaho & NM State need to get together and ask the Big 12 to take them in for football only, but they must get an expensive marketing firm to promote them in Football so they can show the Big 12 they will add to the Conference’s market share and viewer numbers.
    A 12 Team Big 12 will give them a Championship Game and equalize the B12 for one of the new 6 Bowl Game National Championship Series (BCS).
    Failing that those 2 show beg every FBS school for a home and away series, 4 per year starting 2013. And really Boise State, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah State, BYU, Washington State, UNLV etc should have no trouble doing that right away.
    Really the whole FBS is getting bloated with the 7 new teams coming in over the next 3 years are a real problem.
    A total re-Organization to take 120 Teams and trim down the Conferences to 10 Teams adding a couple to make 12 Conferences, then a 16 Team Playoff. see it at:

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