Idaho's time as an FBS football program is coming to an end. The university announced its team will drop down to FCS after two decades as an FBS program, with the Vandals' final top-level season coming in 2017.
Idaho has had a winning record 12 times in 73 seasons, four since moving up in 1996, and only once since 2000. They have never won more than nine games in a season. They've lost 12 straight games to in-state rival Boise State, with their last win coming in 1998. They've ended the season with only one win four times in the past decade. And all this while the hated Broncos have gone on to New Year's bowl wins.
By nearly every measure, life at college football's highest level has been miserable for Idaho. There was even a really sad PowerPoint presentation.
There were some good times, though.
The 2009 Humanitarian Bowl was everything we dream a low-level bowl game could be: a 43-42 slugfest between two random teams that ends with a two-point conversion to win rather than a try for overtime, all on the weirdly colored turf of one participant's archrival.
Here is the last minute, presented for your viewing enjoyment.
Spectacular. Robb Akey was a bleary-eyed card counter with a pit boss closing in, and he made off with the chips and hit the next flight to Panama. At that point, Akey had improved Idaho from 1-11 to 8-5 in just two years. Everything was going Idaho's way. Just freeze it right there.
Idaho's home stadium, the Kibbie Dome, is one of the strangest venues in the country.
It's sad to see a team dropping down a level, but really, FCS makes much more sense for Idaho. The school tried just about everything to scrape by in the FBS and was simply out of options.
Following the collapse of the WAC, the Vandals had no natural conference to call home. Their partnership with the Sun Belt never made a lot of sense, and it was hardly a shock when the conference decided it'd had enough with this football-only member located about 2,000 miles away.
The rest of the Vandals' sports teams play in the Big Sky Conference, which just so happens to also be a very good FCS football conference. Idaho can fit right in, hopefully after making one more bowl run.
Idaho helps fill in the colorful, baffling tapestry that is college football.
You might not see much of them during a given season, but there was something fun and strangely comforting about the fact that in Moscow, Idaho, there's a team called the Vandals playing football in an absurdly small dome.
They didn't fit into the standard template for a lower-level FBS team, and that was a good thing, because nobody does.