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Schedule and Odds
Idaho will play as an independent this season before joining the Sun Belt in 2014. That will hopefully give them the year needed to recover from their most recent one-win season. Paul Petrino comes in as the head coach after being mainly an offensive coordinator for the last 10 years, most recently at Arkansas. It will be his first head coaching stint, but so far the reports say the players are pumped and Petrino has brought some confidence back into them.
While Petrino is an offensive guru, he's going to have to deal with a freshman quarterback this year. After a solid spring, Chad Chalich was named the starter and has plenty to learn. He'll get some help as a couple of the Vandals top receivers from a year ago return in Najee Lovett (50 receptions) and Jahrie Level (46 receptions). The running game introduces a new JUCO transfer with Jerrel Brown coming in. The line returns three starters which should help a bit. Needless to say, the offense has some work to do if they want to improve on last year's win total.
The defense is in a rougher situation, losing almost every single starter from one of the worst units in the country. Although it could be a blessing in disguise as Idaho allowed 60-plus points in three different games. Obviously, they will be a work in progress, but surely they will post better numbers than 2012. A few new transfers could give the extra boost for this team.
2013 Idaho Football Schedule
Aug. 31 at North Texas
Sept. 7 at Wyoming
Sept. 14 vs. Northern Illinois
Sept. 21 at Washington State
Sept. 28 vs. Temple
Oct. 5 vs. Fresno State
Oct. 12 at Arkansas State
Oct. 26 at Ole Miss
Nov. 2 vs. Texas State
Nov. 9 vs. Old Dominion
Nov. 23 at Florida State
Nov. 30 at New Mexico State
In reality, no game is going to be easy for the Vandals, but they still have a reasonably tough schedule. They will have four or so games throughout the season in which they have a legitimate shot to win. Those will come against Wyoming, Texas State, Old Dominion and New Mexico State. The rest will likely be losses unless Chalich becomes an All-American and destroys opposing defenses.
Idaho's only win last year came against NMSU, but they also lost to Texas State 38-7. The Bobcats play in the Sun Belt, so winning that contest would look better entering next season.
In a rebuilding process, not much should be expected from the Vandals. Reaching two or three wins should be on the table, but nothing more. With a relatively young squad, improvement is the only plan for Petrino in hopes they can enter the 2014 season on a high.
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