Bowling Green-Idaho Preview (Or 2009 Humanitarian Bowl Epilogue)


Next Game

Bowling Green Falcons
@ Idaho Vandals

Thursday, Sep 1, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT
Kibbie Dome
TV: ESPN3.com

Complete Coverage >


Like it or otherwise, BGSU-Idaho is the first game of the year played on Pacific time. If you've ever been to idaho, it's a tough state to figure out, perhaps more than any other locale (a) what time it is, and (b) where all the humidity went. Indeed, there are parts in Idaho where you can stroll into Oregon and still be on Mountain time, but if you venture into the northern smokestack of the state's outline, you just gained an hour on your opponents. And that's where Moscow, Idaho is situated; in Pacific time.

Oh, and the University of Idaho plays football in the smallest arena in FBS — a dome — representing one of the few nicknames in college sports which is derived from an ethnic group not deemed racially insensitive by the NCAA. The Vandals! A group of Eastern European bullies who ultimately brought down Rome faster than it was built.

Well, you already know what you're getting with BGSU, because you read this — and now we have confirmation that Matt Schilz is going to be the starting QB. This doesn't change much; we were going on the assumption that experience would win in a system where you need to know a bunch. But look at how Idaho has changed since 2009. Vandalism spirit was at an all-time high, coming off their first winning season since 1999, and that was two conferences ago (RIP Big West football).

Now they are a team that took a step back at least in terms of wins and losses; a 6-7 season was rather dashed by a three-game skid where Hawaii, Nevada and Boise State — a combined 35-6 record — took 'em to the shed by a combined score of 160-41. Seriously ... what do you do with that? This year they are picked just sixth in the Boise-less WAC.

So their downslide wasn't as pronounced as BG during the 2010 campaign, but there's enough personnel left on both sides to remember the good times in 2009, thanks to this ridiculously fun/frustrating game:

You may have no other reason to watch Bowling Green/Idaho other than to pretend it's an extension of the '09 Humanitarian Bowl. There is no record-setting Freddie Barnes catchin' passes from Tyler Sheehan. There won't be any Preston Davis game-winning two-point conversions lofted by Nathan Enderle. And no blue turf. Maybe this is our one positive takeaway from the sequel.

There've been plenty of fun bowl games in the past five, 10, 20, 50 years. Most of them are forgotten if they weren't big-name teams, or big-name bowls, or quirky plays which involved fake field goals or fifth downs. Compared to the outliers, come-from-behind eight-point drives are commonplace. Heck, BGSU almost had such a game last year at Temple. (They couldn't convert the two-point play.)

This game, in all likelihood, will not be nearly as bountiful as that 43-42 shootout in Boise, but that just shows how appreciative we are when such games occur. But it will remind you of it. The announcers will discuss the game, the producers will show highlights, and you'll see this banner in camera shots.

There are even more similarities about both teams than that game, save for proximity to a certain coast. They are programs destined for a .500 season, just hoping that lightning can be captured in a bottle and claim an unlikely conference title. This game will mean nothing toward either prize except for a quart of confidence.

But it'll be a fun harbinger for the perpetual hope of mid-major programs trying to keep up with their peers. Prediction: Idaho 27, BGSU 14

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