SJSU, Indiana added to future schedules

THE FUTURE NON-CONFERENCE FOOTBALL SLATE for the Vandals continues to evolve, as home-and-home series with Nevada, UNLV, and Wyoming have been previously announced, as have dates at Missouri (2017), Florida (2018), and Penn State (2019). We've also learned a four game home-and-home series with San Jose State is in the works (starting in 2019), along with two dates at Indiana (starting in 2020).

Much has been made by the Idaho fan-base of the schedule facing the Vandal football team this fall. To be more specific, Idaho's rebuilding squad will be hitting the road to face NCAA Top 10 powerhouses Auburn and USC.

The players are certainly eying these opportunities to play at two of the most heralded venues in the nation, and a chance to go toe-to-toe with two of the best teams in college football.

One of these games a year is almost a certainty; the revenue opportunity is too much to ignore. But from a rebuilding standpoint booking two of these gigs is hardly the preferred method of instilling confidence in a young team trying to claw its way to bowl eligibility.

It also isn't the desired blueprint for scheduling by Idaho Athletics Director Rob Spear.

To understand his strategy, dial things back a few years when UI was a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Idaho's schedules from 2008 to 2010 followed the A-B-C formula Spear envisions for the Idaho program - one high-exposure money game, two games against FBS mid-majors, and a home game against an FCS opponent (or another FBS mid-major home-and-home game). During those years, the Idaho non-conference schedules Spear drew up looked like this:

2008
@ Arizona
Idaho State
Western Michigan
@ SDSU

2009
@ Washington
SDSU
@ Northern Illinois
Colorado State

2010
North Dakota
@ Nebraska
UNLV
@ Colorado State
@ Western Michigan

Challenging enough, but manageable.

But when the Western Athletic Conference began disintegrating revenue took a nasty hit and the scheduling balance began to faulter. By 2013 the WAC as a football conference was gone, and UI was forced to live as an FBS Independent. Along with the immediate revenue losses Idaho had to start planning for the potential of being an Indy for a while and began scheduling multiple money games to help cover the bills.

But that isn't the long-term plan. Starting in 2017 Idaho is focusing again on an A-B-C model and has lined up previously announced home-and-home series with Wyoming, UNLV, and Nevada, which also gives the non-conference schedule a more western flavor.

GoVandals.net also learned this weekend that starting in 2019 Idaho is adding a four-game home-and-home series with San Jose State, and they are replacing the USCs and Auburns of the world with two games at Indiana starting in 2021.

This season Idaho has six home games scheduled in the dome. Next year the Vandals will be on the Palouse for six games (five at home, plus a date with Wazzu). Looking ahead, in 2017, 2018, and 2019 Idaho will play three of their four non-conference games on the road (one game each season against a Power 5 Conference opponent). Then starting in 2020 the non-conference schedules are expected to get back to two at home and two on the road.

Below is a glimpse into the future football schedules for Idaho.

NOTE: As with all future schedules the dates and opponents listed below are subject to change.

2016
Montana State
@ Washington
@ Washington State
@ UNLV

2017
UNLV
@ Western Michigan
@ Nevada
@ Missouri

2018
@ Fresno State (returning 2013 date)
Wyoming
@ Northern Illinois (returning 2013 date)
@ Florida (2014 game cancelled)

2019
@ Penn State
@ Wyoming
@ SJSU
(Idaho will likely look for an FCS home opponent)

2020
@ Temple
SJSU
(Idaho will look for a money game)
(Idaho will likely also look for an FCS home opponent)

2021
Nevada
@ SJSU
@ Indiana
(Idaho will likely look for an FCS home opponent)

2022
SJSU
@ Indiana
@ Old Dominion
(Idaho will likely look for an FCS home opponent)


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