Petrino makes a plea to the MWC after erasing Colorado St. in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

The Vandals pretty much decimated Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 61-50. However, that score was much closer than what the actual performance was: the score was 41-14 at the end of the 3rd quarter, setting up for the most awesome garbage time 4th quarter ever. The Rams furiously fought back and outscored the Vandals 36-20 in the final period, making people somewhat regret going home early.  Petrino, perhaps forgetting about that fourth quarter, or not caring at all, said the following:

Wrong, Paul.  You went 2-0 against teams who were not all that great in the MWC this year.  You beat UNLV in OT, after allowing them to come back, and in this bowl game, you nearly let CSU catch up.  Let’s put this in the grand scheme of things:

Idaho moves to the MWC, along with some other team.  Since they are in Idaho, most likely they would be placed in the Mountain Division.

  • Replace UNLV because they are no-longer non-conference and within the Mountain Division, you would have to contend with BSU, Air Force, New Mexico, Wyoming, CSU and Utah State.  That’s a maximum of 2 wins probably.  Looking at it from that perspective, and some combo of the Nevada or California schools (or Hawaii), Idaho would probably get 4 wins maximum within the conference.  Now taking the rest of their current non-conference schedule (Montana State, Washington, Washington State), that would have put them at 5-7 on the season, missing out on a bowl game.
  • However, put them in the West Division (assuming you have a NMSU or UTEP or other show up in the East), you now have a West Division of Nevada, UNLV, Hawaii, SJSU, Fresno, SDSU to contend with.  At best you would have 4 wins in this division, and maybe 1-2 against Mountain Division teams, and combine that with their non-conference record and you have a 7-5 or 6-6 bowl team.

Bottom line: yes, it’s nice that you were undefeated this season against the MWC, but don’t assume that it would have been anything like competition against the Sun Belt.

Other takeaways from this game:

  • Matt Linehan has developed into a great quarterback: he went 21-31, 381 yds, 4 TDs and 0 INTs.  Compare that to Nick Stevens, who’s also developing nicely with a 5 TD night, but with 2 INTs off bad weather/decisions.
  • Linehan also needs to never insult his school or his president again.  The Vandals are going down to FCS for a reason…

“We belong in FBS — period!…That’s what I believe. That’s what everyone believes. We know we can compete. We belong here. No matter what anyone thinks, even our tone-deaf president. Maybe he doesn’t think we belong here, but I think we belong here.”

  • The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was 20 years old last night.  While going through some interesting sponsors and name changes (Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, anyone?) the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has always been a great example of a non-big money bowl game done well, where the competition has nearly always been good.
  • I don’t remember Idaho having a running game before this game…Isaiah Saunders should be fun to watch in the coming years.
  • Pick an uglier uniform combo…both teams.  For the Rams, please use gold pants with your green jerseys/helmets and for the Vandals, never ever use white pants, ever.  Anything would have been better than those white pants (and they have both black and gold pants to use).

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