The Idaho football team will open the 2014 football season at Florida -- after its second-to-last game of 2013 was at Florida State -- and play five of its first seven on the road. The Vandals announced their full slate for 2014, their first in the Sun Belt Conference since leaving the SBC to join the WAC prior to the 2005 season.
The Vandals have five home games, starting with Western Michigan (which went 1-11 in 2013, the same record as Idaho) on Sept. 13. Their other games in the Kibbie Dome are against South Alabama (Sept. 27), New Mexico State (Oct. 18), Arkansas State (Nov. 1) and Troy (Nov. 15).
“You have to win at home,” UI coach Paul Petrino said in a release. “It will important for us to make (the Kibbie Dome) a tough place to play. We need to win our home games.”
Idaho starts spring practice on March 28. We have more below.
A few notes:
- The Vandals' 2014 opponents went a combined 65-81. That includes Florida's subpar 4-8 mark.
- Idaho will net $975,000 for playing at Florida. That tops its $950,000 payout at FSU last year.
- Idaho's shortest trip is to San Diego State on Nov. 8. It also goes to Gainesville, Fla.; Monroe, La.; Athens, Ohio; San Marcos, Texas; Statesboro, Ga.; and Boone, N.C. That's life in the Sun Belt for the league's only Northwest team.
- Idaho plays back-to-back MAC teams on Sept. 13 and 20 when it hosts Western Michigan and goes to Ohio. UI athletic director Rob Spear has said he likes to schedule at least one nonconference game against a team from a similar conference each year.
The full 2014 schedule for Idaho:
Aug. 30 at Florida
Sept. 6 at Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 13 vs. Western Michigan
Sept. 20 at Ohio
Sept. 27 vs. South Alabama
Oct. 4 at Texas State
Oct. 11 at Georgia Southern
Oct 18 vs. New Mexico State
Nov. 1 vs. Arkansas State
Nov. 8 at San Diego State
Nov. 15 Troy University
Nov. 29 at Appalachian State
More from Idaho's release:
MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho Vandals jump right into the thick of things when the 2014 football season opens with them at Florida on Aug. 30 followed by their Sun Belt Conference opener at Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 6.
“It will be fun for the guys to go play in the opener at Florida in the Swamp,” second-year head coach Paul Petrino said. “The second game will be a big game for us at Louisiana-Monroe. It’s our first conference game; a game that will be exciting to go down there and play.”
The Vandals then have a pair of non-conference games (Sept. 13 vs. Western Michigan and Sept. 20 at Ohio University) before heading back into Sun Belt action with games vs. South Alabama (Sept. 27), at Texas State (Oct. 4), at Georgia Southern (Oct. 11), vs. New Mexico State (Oct. 18) and vs. Arkansas State (Nov. 1) before a break from league action at San Diego State on Nov. 8. They wrap up the regular-season with a home game vs. Troy (Nov. 15) and a road game at Appalachian State on Nov. 29. Idaho has byes on Oct. 25 and Nov. 22.
Idaho will celebrate Hall of Fame Weekend, Dads’ Weekend and Ag Days during the Sep. 27 game vs. South Alabama; Homecoming is Oct. 18 vs. New Mexico State; Military Appreciation Day is Nov. 1 vs. Arkansas State, and Senior Day is Nov. 15 vs. Troy.
Having a conference home, Petrino said, is significant.
“We’re excited to be in a conference,” he said of Idaho’s return to the Sun Belt, where the Vandals played from 2001-04.
He also stressed the importance of winning at home.
“You have to win at home,” he said. “It will important for us to make (the Kibbie Dome) a tough place to play. We need to win our home games.”
The Vandals kick off spring football on March 28 at 4 p.m. They follow with practices March 30 at 3 p.m. and at 4 p.m. on April 2, 4, 7, 9, 14, 16, 18, 21 and 24. They have scrimmages at 10 a.m. on April 5, 12 and 19.
On April 5, the coaching staff will have its second annual Football 101. The Paul Petrino Golf Tournament is April 26.