We chatted with Idaho fan and alumnus Sean Kramer of SB Nation's shiniest new blog, Underdog Dynasty, about Florida's game with the Vandals on Saturday.
Idaho was, by my estimation, one of the worst FBS teams last year. What have Paul Petrino and his players done to right the ship since then, and will it work in 2014, or against Florida?
Recruit better and weed out players who aren't going to buy in. It won't work by the Florida game, but the hope is that it will work throughout the 2014 season with wins against teams that Idaho could conceivably beat.
Is it right or wrong to assume that Paul Petrino's offense is mostly an offshoot of Bobby Petrino's offense? And how would you handicap Idaho's quarterback competition?
Well, actually, Bobby Petrino's offense when Paul Petrino was offensive coordinator was largely Paul Petrino's offense. Petrino continued to achieve success without Bobby when he was at Illinois, however struggled in his last season at Arkansas after Bobby was fired for, well, you know what. The jury is still out on whether or not Paul will get it done calling plays as a head coach.
The quarterback competition will see two players play, Matt Linehan and Chad Chalich. Chalich is mobile with a weak arm but a tough attitude. Linehan is the redshirt freshman with a good arm but an unknown ability to run the offense. This game is more or less an audition for the full-time job.
Florida went 4-8 last season; Idaho has gone 4-32 over the last three years. The difference between an SEC team being down and a Mountain West/independent/Sun Belt team being lowly seems like a large one. How is life in college football different for Idaho than it is for a big, money-raking program like Florida?
As a Washington fan who attended and graduated from Idaho, I can tell you that the difference is rather large. For Idaho, a successful season is an 8-5 season with a Humanitarian Bowl victory. Going 8-5 for five straight seasons would get you fired at Florida. (It wouldn't take that long. — Ed.) The Vandals are rebuilding and hoping that within a few years that Petrino can get Idaho to one of the Sun Belt's three bowl teams.
It's not likely, but if Idaho can go even 4-8 this year, that would be a massive success.
Florida, uh, didn't fare so well in its last cupcake non-conference game, but the Gators are healthy and hungry now, and haven't lost a season opener since 1989. Is there any chance the Vandals could shock the world in Gainesville?
No. Not a chance.
The secondary still lacks a ton of talent and the quarterback situation isn't quite ideal. Georgia Southern only made it work because of a methodical and well-executed option attack. Idaho has nothing of the sort. The front seven is very talented and skilled and will make some good things happen, but big plays will still be in abundance for the Gators.
Idaho is just hoping for moral victories to carry into Monroe next week.
What's your prediction, including score, for Saturday's game?
I'm going relatively low-scoring, so I'll say 37-10 Florida.