Idaho Vandals

AJ McCarron, Ryan Kelly
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57 centers named to Rimington Award spring watch list

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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of a new season?  The first watch list of the offseason has arrived.

The first for that honor this year is the Rimington Award, which on Tuesday released its spring watch list that is 57 players strong.  The Rimington Award, named in honor of former Nebraska standout Dave Rimington, is presented annually to the top center in the nation and is determined by the consensus All-American center pick from three existing All-America teams — Walter Camp. Sporting News and FWAA.

None of the finalists for the 2015 award, won by Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, are included on this year’s initial watch list as all three have since moved on with expired eligibility.

The ACC and SEC pace all conferences with eight watch listers apiece, followed by the AAC and Big 12 with seven each.  The Big Ten placed six, while the Pac-12’s three was the least of all of the Power Five programs.

All 10 of the FBS leagues, plus one independent (Notre Dame), are represented on the spring watch list, the full roster of which appears below.

AAC
Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati, senior
Ryan Crozier, UConn, redshirt sophomore
Will Noble, Houston, sophomore
Drew Kyser, Memphis, sophomore
Evan Brown, SMU, junior
Brendan McGowan, Temple, redshirt senior
Chandler Miller, Tulsa, sophomore

ACC
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, senior
Alec Eberle, Florida State, redshirt sophomore
Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech, redshirt senior
Nicholas Linder, Miami, junior
Lucas Crowley, North Carolina, senior
Alex Officer, Pittsburgh, redshirt junior
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, redshirt senior
Jackson Matteo, Virginia, senior

BIG TEN
Joe Spencer, Illinois, senior
Sean Welsh, Iowa, junior
Brendan Moore, Maryland, sophomore
Mason Cole, Michigan, junior
Dylan Utter, Nebraska, senior
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin, sophomore

BIG 12
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, senior
Dalton Risner, Kansas State, sophomore
Jonathan Alvarez, Oklahoma, junior
Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State, junior
Austin Schlottman, TCU, junior
Tony Morales, Texas Tech, senior
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, redshirt senior

CONFERENCE USA
Michael Montero, FIU, senior
Dillon DeBoer, FAU, redshirt senior
Daniel Stephens, Middle Tennessee State, senior
Nick Clarke, Old Dominion, sophomore
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, senior
Max Halpin, Western Kentucky, redshirt senior

MAC
Tim McAuliffe, Bowling Green redshirt junior
James O’Hagan, Buffalo, sophomore

MOUNTAIN WEST
Jake Bennett, Colorado State, junior
Asotui Eli, Hawaii, redshirt sophomore
Nathan Goltry, Nevada, senior
Arthur Flores, San Diego State, senior
Austin Stephens, Utah State, senior

PAC-12
Toa, Lobendahn, USC, junior
Coleman Shelton, Washington, junior
Riley Sorenson, Washington State, senior

SEC
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas, junior
Brandon Kublanow, Georgia, senior
Jon Toth, Kentucky, senior
Ethan Pocic, LSU, senior
Jamaal Clayborn, Mississippi State, senior
Robert Conyers, Ole Miss, senior
Alan Knott, South Carolina, redshirt junior
Coleman Thomas, Tennessee, junior

SUN BELT
Devin Mondie, Arkansas State, senior
Andy Kwon, Georgia Southern, senior
Gabe Mobley, Georgia State, sophomore
Steve Matlock, Idaho, senior

INDEPENDENTS
Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame, junior

Idaho makes move to FCS, Big Sky official

Kibbie Dome
Idaho athletics
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Less than 24 hours after the first reports surfaced, Idaho has confirmed it is dropping down a rung on the college football ladder.

The university announced at a press conference Thursday that the Vandals football program will indeed move down from the FBS to the FCS and compete in the Big Sky conference, where all of its other varsity sports are housed.  Idaho will remain a member of the Sun Belt for the 2016 and 2017 seasons before making the move to the FCS for the 2018 season.

Idaho becomes the first FBS program to ever drop back to the FCS level.

The announcement comes less than two months after the SBC announced that Idaho, along with New Mexico State, would no longer be a part of the league when their four-year terms expired following the 2017 season.  At that time, university officials indicated they would decide whether to accept an invitation to join the Big Sky of the FCS or compete as an independent at the FBS level.

In the end, the university “concluded that competing as an independent with an extremely uncertain future conference affiliation would be irresponsible” and opted for a return to the Big Sky.

“I know many passionate Vandals view football’s place in the FBS as a mark of our institution’s ‘prestige’ and ‘relevance.’ But we consider prestige and relevance in an institution-wide context,” UI president Chuck Staben said in a portion of his statement. “UI is our state’s land-grant institution, the unquestioned statewide leader in higher education.

“Success on the football field will complement UI’s prestige and relevance, but we will be defined by our individual and societal impact, measured by the entire student body experience, including our student-athletes; our academic excellence; our research, scholarly and creative success; and our deep engagement with communities across the state. Providing the best student experience for all students, across all aspects of university life is our responsibility and privilege.”

Idaho spent the past 20 seasons at the FBS level after moving up from the FCS for the 1996 season. Since making that move, the Vandals have appeared in just two bowl games (1998, 2009) and won more than five games in a single season five times, the last in 2010. In the five years since that 6-7 season, the Vandals have gone 9-50.

“We are extremely motivated to compete in the Sun Belt for the next two years,” said athletic director Rob Spear,”and then align with like institutions that make geographic sense in the Big Sky Conference that will provide our student-athletes with a quality experience.”

UMass faculty to push for dropping out of FBS

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Mark Whipple of the University of Massachusetts Minutemen speaks to an official during a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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It hasn’t been a good week for the lower rungs of FBS. Just a day ago Eastern Michigan warded off rumors the school would drop to Division II, and earlier today word broke Idaho will leave FBS for FCS. Now UMass will have to join the inauspicious group, as the university’s faculty senate will push to leave FBS or drop football altogether.

As with the Eagles and the Vandals, it’s not as if the naysayers don’t have a point. The Minutemen are just 8-40 since leaving the Colonial Athletic Association for the Mid-American Conference, and the MAC has since left them. UMass is now without a permanent home either in conference structure or in stadium, bouncing between an on-campus facility and the New England Patriots’ cavernous and distant Gillette Stadium.

In a regularly scheduled session, the faculty senate will on Thursday “urge Chancellor Subbaswamy, President Meehan, and the Board of Trustees of the University to end Division I football (Football Bowl Subdivision) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and either move to a different division or discontinue NCAA football altogether.” As noted by MassLive.com, this is just the latest in a three-and-a-half year effort to question the university’s alliance with big-time college football.

Will anything result of this latest push? Probably not, except a hastily written open letter to reaffirm UMass’s commitment to FBS.

But one thing is clear: as football gets more expensive, the political capital of losing games grows as well.

Report: Idaho set to announce move back to FCS level

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 25:  A "EM 7" sticker in memory of murdered University of Idaho Vandals' cornerback Eric McMillian adorns a helmet during their game against the University of Oregon Ducks on September 25, 2004 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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Eastern Michigan doesn’t appear ready to drop from the ranks of the FBS, but another teetering program apparently is.

In March of this year, the Sun Belt Conference announced that Idaho and New Mexico State would no longer be a part of the league when their four-year football terms expired following the 2017 season.  At the time, Idaho stated that it will now decide whether to accept an invitation to join the Big Sky of the FCS — the Vandals are a member of that conference in every other sport — or compete as an independent at the FBS level.

Nearly two months later, and not surprisingly, the Vandals are set to ditch the FBS for the FCS.  From FootballScoop.com:

Tomorrow, University of Idaho President Chuck Staben will make an announcement regarding the future of Vandal football.

FCS sources tell FootballScoop this is the route Idaho intends to move and the official conference affiliation will be announced tomorrow.

Idaho spent the past 20 seasons at the FBS level after moving up from the FCS for the 1996 season. Since making that move, the Vandals have appeared in just two bowl games (1998, 2009) and won more than five games in a single season five times, the last in 2010. In the five years since that 6-7 season, the Vandals have gone 9-50.

UPDATED 5:11 p.m. ET: The Idaho Statesman has confirmed that Idaho will drop down to the FCS level for the 2018 season and again become a member of the Big Sky conference.

Report: Paul Petrino won’t be Louisville’s new offensive coordinator

Idaho coach Paul Petrino yells to his players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Los Angeles. Southern California won 59-9. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
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With Louisville looking to fill a vacancy at offensive coordinator following the loss of Garick McGee to Illinois this week, one name floated as a possibility to join Bobby Petrino was his brother, Idaho head coach Paul Petrino. According to a report from Football Scoop, though, that will not be happening as Paul Petrino reportedly has turned down an offer to join his brother at Louisville.

The timing of it all seemed to make at least a little bit of sense to be a realistic enough option to consider. Paul Petrino is currently coaching an Idaho program that has been essentially left for dead at the FBS level, while Louisville continues to be a program seemingly trending upward in the power conference world. Idaho was recently informed by the Sun Belt Conference the Vandals will no longer be a part of the conference once their membership contract expires. Idaho is now left considering whether to continue as an FBS independent or drop down to the FCS. Petrino would also likely see a bump in pay had he left Idaho to take on a role as offensive coordinator at Louisville.

So the search continues to fill the role of offensive coordinator at Louisville. The timing of the late coaching change, a result of a late coaching change at Illinois to fire Bill Cubit and hire Lovie Smith, may leave Louisville at a disadvantage at this point in time.