2009 Football Schedule Announced

THE 2009 IDAHO FOOTBALL SCHEDULE is out and for the second year in a row features six home games, including home battles against Colorado State and San Diego State of the Mountain West Conference in Idaho's renovated Kibbie Dome. This year's Vandals are led by '07 All-WAC tailback DEONTE JACKSON, '07 All-WAC safety Shiloh Keo, '08 All-WAC guard Mike Iupati and a team gaining depth and experience.

2009 VANDAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE


SEPT 5
@ New Mexico State

SEPT 12
@ Washington

SEPT 19
SAN DIEGO STATE

SEPT 26
@ Northern Illinois

OCT 3
Dad's Weekend
COLORADO STATE

OCT 10
@ San Jose State

OCT 17
HAWAII

OCT 24
@ Nevada

OCT 31
HOMECOMING

LOUISIANA TECH

NOV 7
FRESNO STATE

NOV 14
@ Boise State

NOV 21
- BYE -

NOV 28
UTAH STATE

This week the University of Idaho Athletic Department announced their 2009 football schedule to waiting Vandal fans. For the third consecutive year, the Vandals will host 6 home games and only one game will take place on the same day as a Washington State game in nearby Pullman.

That is good news for the Vandals and even better news than when the Vandals would play 5 BCS teams or previous bowl game winners to start the season - the 2001 Vandal football team played a daunting schedule against the winners of 5 bowl games before they started their conference schedule.

Six of the Vandal's opponents appeared in bowl games last season, but none of Idaho's 2009 opponents appeared in a BCS bowl and only one opponent, Louisiana Tech, won their bowl game when they defeated Northern Illinois 17-10 in the Independence Bowl.

Six of the Vandal's opponents appeared in bowl games last season, but none of Idaho's 2009 opponents appeared in a BCS bowl and only one opponent, Louisiana Tech, won their bowl game when they defeated Northern Illinois 17-10 in the Independence Bowl.

This season is the first time the Vandals do not play an extremely difficult non-conference schedule. Teams like Colorado State and Northern Illinois are not pushovers – both teams went to a bowl game last year – and Washington is typically staffed with good football talent. But other teams in the WAC will face some powerhouse opponents this year.

Boise State must play a healthy Oregon team, but they get to play that game at home. The Broncos, Hawaii, and New Mexico State will play six bowl teams this season. Nevada will play Colorado State and Notre Dame plus Missouri and rival UNLV. Hawaii will play 13 games and face Wisconsin, Washington State, and UNLV.

Fresno State will play Wisconsin and Cincinnati, a team that piled up an impressive 11-3 record last season. Louisiana Tech must play Auburn and New Mexico State faces off against Ohio State and Texas A & M. Utah State will play seven bowl teams and play Alabama, Utah, and BYU for non-conference games.

The Vandals will log some 5,535 miles as they travel to six road games. Their travels will take them to seven states while seven games are played in Idaho. Membership in the WAC has its advantages when compared to the near 30,000 miles the Vandals logged in the 2004 football season.

When the Idaho football travels to Seattle to play the Washington Huskies and another team led by a new, first-ever head coach. Idaho will try to snap a streak that, if broken, will probably make headlines in that the Vandals have not defeated the Huskies in football since 1905. Idaho will square off against a newly organized Husky team that will play LSU the week before and USC the week after the Vandals leave Seattle.

Following their trip to Washington, Idaho will play their first home game on September 19 against San Diego State. Fans that attend the home opener should see the newly replaced west wall of the infamous Kibbie Dome. Idaho is currently replacing the wood wall with new structural components and translucent KalWall panels.

Following the home opener the Vandals will travel to DeKalb, Illinois and take on the Northern Illinois Huskies; a team that was defeated by La Tech in the Independence Bowl last season. Before the Vandals arrive at NIU, the Huskies will have played two road games, Wisconsin, and Purdue and opened against Western Illinois two weeks prior to the Vandal game.

It may be a record, but the Vandals first three games will be against teams that will have a new head coach this season. In the 2009 season Idaho will play a total of four teams that are led by new head coaches.

Dad's Weekend is highlighted with the second home game against Colorado State in the dome on October 3rd. The Rams narrowly defeated Fresno State, 40-35, in the New Mexico Bowl last December.

Even though it will be the fourth road game in six weeks, the traveling gets a lot easier the next week when the Vandals make a quick trip to San Jose State; a team that is always a contender in the conference.

Next, the Vandals are home against Hawaii in the Kibbie Dome on October 17th. This is where the season gets very interesting. Even though every game is important, the usual top teams in the WAC will play the Vandals over the next five weeks with the last game in Boise on November 15th.

For Idaho fans to celebrate a bowl berth, the outcome of those 5 games will decide where all of the chips will fall for Idaho. Since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2005, Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State have not defeated top teams in the WAC - Nevada, Boise State, Hawaii, or Fresno State, with the only exception being Utah State defeating Fresno State last season in Logan. As the old saying goes, if you want to be the best, you must beat the best.

When Spring Camp opened, Idaho Head Coach Robb Akey quipped that he wants his players to think bowl game by eating all their meals from bowls. The goal of playing in a bowl game in 2009 is obviously one of the Vandal's goals for any season. To make the trip to a bowl game Idaho must defeat at least three of the four top WAC teams (NMSU, FSU, BSU, and Hawaii) - all wins would be the goal - and three of those games are on the road. Idaho's record in road games in the WAC is only 3-23 (0.130), but that does not tell the whole story.

Since joining the WAC the Vandals have played under three head coaches in four seasons, but genuine stability and long-term goals are clearly evident in Head Coach Robb Akey and his team-building. It takes time to turn around a football team. Basic core facilities were a major factor for Idaho, but that has changed since, well, two coaches ago – as the new weight room, locker rooms meeting rooms, training areas, turf, practice field, etc. – were build since 2004, when the first of those three coaches was hired to rebuild the football team.

Coach Akey begins his third season with his usual optimism tempered with strategic planning, player development, and physical training – to name a few. Critics can point to the Vandals past failures, but this season is the first year that the entire team was recruited since the new weight room was opened to rave reviews in 2004. New mission-critical facilities such as a weight room, training areas, meeting rooms are now in place and the effects of these improvements should appear to the Vandal faithful that have demonstrated extraordinary patience in the past several seasons.




ALL Vandals Top Stories